When you think of Gallipolis, Ohio, what comes to mind? Drawing a blank? How about fresh roasted coffee? Silver Bridge Coffee is a new roastery that has been quickly making a name for itself and expanding into the Central Ohio market. With an emphasis on fresh fair trade coffees, their blends can be found for sale in a growing number of Columbus area stores.
Silver Bridge will be one of several Ohio roasteries participating in the first ever North Market Coffee Roast event taking place on Saturday, March 31st. So if you haven’t had a chance to try them out yet, you’ll have a good opportunity to do so soon.
We recently spoke with Lorraine Walker, Owner of Silver Bridge to find out more about their growing business:
Q: When did Silver Bridge open and what can you tell us a bit about the history of your business?
A: Silver Bridge Coffee began in 2008. I had the opportunity to take a passion for great coffee and turn it into a job that I love. My husband had roasted coffee in a popcorn popper in our kitchen for several years. The freshly roasted coffee was so much better than anything else available, we seized the opportunity to pass that great coffee to other people. I took a year and wrote a business plan, joined the SCAA (Specialty coffee Association of America), utilized many of their educational opportunities and opened for business in 2008. All our coffee has a “roast date” on the back of the bag. Letting the customer know WHEN the coffee was roasted instead of an expiration date is our way of continuing our commitment to freshness and quality in coffee. We don’t leave our coffee on the shelf past 90 days and most often coffee can be purchased within a few days of roasting. We roast the coffee, package it immediately and get it to our grocery stores in 24 -48 hours. We never warehouse our coffees. Silver Bridge Coffee is available at five Kroger stores in Columbus, Whole Foods, The Hills Market and Celebrate Local. We began in a small room that was attached to our house that was USDA approved, but in the last year we were able to purchase land and build a new building. Our new roastery has a state of the art Diedrich Roaster. We are so thankful that our customers have supported our product and vision for fresh, fair trade coffee.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the sourcing of your coffee beans or coffee products?
A: Silver Bridge Coffee specializes in Fair Trade, organic coffee. Because we source only Fair Trade we deal with over five different importers. We cup samples and choose the best coffees available based on those cupping samples. We also deal with Café Femenino Coffees. These coffees come from women-owned coffee farms in the country of origin. We have always found these Café Femenino Coffees to be of the highest quality. The Café Femenino Peru crop this year was astounding. As a micro roaster you have to put more effort into sourcing green coffee. You don’t have the capital to travel all over SouthAmerica or purchase a container of coffee if it is really good, but with effort you can produce an excellent product consistently. Small micro roasters often pay more for their coffees too because they are more susceptible to changes in the stock market.
Q: What other specialties does Silver Bridge focus on?
A: We offer delicious flavored coffee too. I know that flavored coffee is taboo among the coffee elite, but we simply don’t agree. We use a proprietary new flavoring technique that is free of the propylene glycol and other chemicals that are prevalent in most flavored coffee. SilverBridge Coffee sources a top quality FTO coffee beans and then adds these chemical free flavors. Our flavored coffees are the best you will ever taste. We also offer several certified organic flavors. In fact, our Natural Organic Caramel Crème coffee with Snowville Creamery Crème has often been referred to as“Heaven in a cup”.
Q: Do you utilize any innovative techniques when it comes to marketing your products?
A: The best way that we market our product is to let people taste our coffee.We find that giving samples of our coffee is all that is necessary to market Silver Bridge Coffee. It also enables us to meet the people,educate people about coffee and thank people who care enough to buy local and fair trade. I think that our fresh roasted date is also vital to our marketing. Customers should stop asking “When does it expire?” And ask instead, “When was it roasted?” Really an expiration date doesn’t give you the information that you need to determine freshness. Coffee is an agricultural product that should be consumed soon after roasting.
Q: What do you think about the “coffee culture” in Columbus right now?
A: I think there is a renewed sense of cooperation. Coffee is such a personal taste. I have found that what one person loves another can detest. That opens the door for all the roasters to have fans and succeed. There is so many choices available in Columbus that one need never look elsewhere for delicious coffee.
Q: Lastly, tell us what we can expect when visiting you at the North Market Coffee Roast event later this month?
A: I think you will find a lot of people committed to offering the public great coffee.There will be a wealth of experience represented and some great brew. For those who already love coffee or want to grow in their understanding of coffee, it will be a great place to spend a Saturday.
More information can be found online at www.silverbridgecoffee.com.