Beats, Beans, Baristas #keepitfresh

Beats, Beans, Baristas #keepitfresh

Apr 04, 2024Seth Hendershot

How it started. My first glimpse in the world of coffee was at a job fair in 1995 for a company I knew little about. I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on, and I certainly had no intention of giving up on my dream of being a professional musician. I was playing music around Atlanta GA. with various original and cover bands, as well as teaching high school drumline and was a member of Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps but needed to make extra money to live. Drumming and performing were all I cared about, until I walked into the hotel lobby for this job fair and scored a job with an up and coming coffee chain called Starbucks out of Seattle WA. Their goal was to have 2000 stores across the US by the year 2000. I am pretty sure they surpassed that goal. The training classes were very informative and interesting and I walked out knowing more about the world of coffee than I ever thought I would. And I liked it...alot.

What I learned. Freshness matters. Freshly roasted Coffee has two main enemies, air and water. The Bucks was committed to freshness. They shipped their roasted coffee to the stores in vacuum sealed 5 lb bags. They sourced all of their green beans from farming partners throughout the world. Beans would come from Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil, El Salvador, Sumatra, Java, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya to name a few serious coffee regions. I believe at that time, 1995, all of the coffee was roasted and shipped out of Seattle. As the company grew so did their roasting and shipping operations. One of my jobs at the store I worked at, was to maintain the grinders, brewers, and the espresso machine. The espresso machines were not automated at that time. I learned a lot about quality, consistency, and execution. I loved it, it harkened the same kind of passion I had for performing music for people. In fact it was performative from a customer service perspective and I was pretty good at it. Interesting tidbit for the home barista. It is always best to allow your brewer to complete the brewing cycle before pouring the cup. The next time you order whole bean or ground coffee from us try a small cup before the brewing cycle is done, then try a small cup after. You will notice a difference in the richness of flavor. I also learned that there are two main methods to decaffinate coffee. A chemical process, where the green beans are put in a tub of water and a chemical is added to bind to the natural caffeine in the bean and extract it. And the Swiss Water process, which takes significantly longer and is more expensive but no chemicals are used. Also no coffee is ever 100% without caffeine, even decaf has a little caffeine. 

Where it took me. I loved being a barista as it was flexible and allowed me to have time off to tour with both the Drum and Bugle corps during the summer and travel with rock and jazz bands during the fall and spring. In 1998 I took a gig with a cover band that had a 6 month contract in Nome, AK from April until September. It was wild, fun, and beautiful. We played music 6 nights a week and I learned to sing and play drums at the same time at a pretty high level. During the day we didn't have much to do so I applied to work at a coffee/gift shop that catered to tourists. I was able to display my barista skills and the owners were pleased as they did not have anyone there with coffee experience. After the contract was up I decided to move to Athens, GA where some of my musical friends were living and performing. I joined a band the 3rd day I was there and got a job at a local coffee shop called Jittery Joe's. Life was good. I ended up working for Jittery Joe's for the next 10 years. I was a Barista, then an Asst Manager, then a Manager, then ran the webstore and worked along side one of my favorite people in the world, master roaster, Charlie Mustard. My coffee knowledge blew wide open after spending that much time with Charlie.

Where we are. Opening Hendershot's in 2010 allowed me the ability to combine all of my passions into one creative endeavor. Coffee, Bar, Music. Here we are in 2024, still open and now roasting our own coffee on a zero emission electric Bellwether coffee roaster. The beans we are turning out and the blends we make with them hold up to any coffee out in the market today, imho. We offer our 78 dark blend, our 45 medium blend, our 33 1/3 light blend, our Record Speed espresso blend, our Lo-Fi decaf, and new to the line up our Crossfade half caf blend for folks tired of buying 2 separate bags, one decaf and one regular, so they can cut their caffeine content. All of it is available on our website and every purchase helps us maintain our quirky, community minded, local coffee shop, bar, and music venue. We love what we do and we want to keep doing it, so order some beans today and know that you are not only getting quality, freshly roasted coffee for your home, but you are supporting live music and the creative economy of Athens, GA. 

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