Hope Harrington Oakes
Local urologist, Dr. Josh Griffin, has a passion for coffee. The caffeine connoisseur has purchased a large coffee bean roaster (in Traffic Orange) from Idaho company, Diedrich, to begin roasting coffee for his new business, Southbound Coffee. In collaboration with Beans & Cream in Columbus, Griffin stated, “We plan on roasting coffee beginning the first part of October. We’ll serve the coffee roasted in store. People can buy coffee by the bag. We get bags from 50 pounds to 100 pounds. We’ll get them from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Columbia and other places. What we’ll do initially, is what’s called single-origin coffee where we’ll take a pure coffee from one region and roast it. As we get that process down, we’ll start working with different blends.”
Griffin admits that roasting coffee is an unusual hobby. “About 5 years ago, I started ordering coffee on line; it was roasted and immediately shipped. So, when I started doing that, I could not go back to drinking grocery store coffee or even Starbucks. I found that what I could do at home was much better than what I could get at the store. The problem is that costs money, to order these beans roasted already and then shipped. About a year and a half ago, I bought my own countertop roaster for my house. I started ordering beans green and roasting them, and then just couldn’t keep up with the quantity of what I was giving out to friends and family. Some people buy boats or cars; I bought a roaster to keep myself busy with something I enjoy.”
As far as the name Southbound Coffee goes, Griffin laughed, “I’m big into music. I like jam bands, indie bands, pretty much anything, but one of my all-time favorites is the Allman Brothers Band, and they have a song called ‘Southbound’. I thought that was a good connection with where we are in the country, too. We’re in the south and want this to be a big name in the southern area for coffee.” Griffin is also playing with the idea of naming some of the blends after songs, as well. The Southbound Coffee logo was designed by a friend of Griffin’s, Josh Matthews, a freelance graphic designer in Birmingham.
The large roaster will be in a glass-enclosed area, so customers can look at the process involved. “I’ve been in places in other cities where they have a separate big room where they roast coffee and it’s beautiful to look in and see all the machines. They’re bigger, and eventually we’ll hope to be expanding, it’s nice that when you get a cup of coffee, you can connect where it came from and where it was roasted, right where you got the cup.”
Beginning a new business venture while working full-time as a doctor has been a little bit of a challenge. “Urology is my full-time gig,” Griffin said, “this is my hobby, essentially, but it’s something that I’ve been doing about a year, on a bigger level. Josh Gillis, owner of Beans and Cream, and I are collaborating together on this. We want people to be able to get coffee that’s roasted locally, something that’s unique, that no one has in this area.” The family man is excited to build a business that can grow into a family effort. “I’m married with two boys, a 7 year old and a 4 year old; future employees, maybe?”
The plan will be to start selling out of the store the first part of October, and if there’s a huge demand, eventually putting it on local store shelves. Right now, they are preparing the area located in Beans & Cream that will house the roaster. “We are excited about this, and we hope that everyone here in the area will love the quality of our coffee.”