Patriot Coffee Roasters – Local Coffee Roaster, Chris McArthur
Chris McArthur, the entrepreneur behind the local favorite, Black and Brew, has something more to add to Lakeland’s rising coffee culture— small-batch, locally roasted coffee, from his very own Patriot Coffee Roasters.
He hopes the name “Patriot” will become a twofold emblem: primarily, McArthur seeks to honor the soldiers, both the fallen and the veterans, who have sacrificed for our country. After his freshman year of college, he joined the Marine Corps Reserves, and in 2003 he was deployed to Iraq, where he spent 6 months.
With the name “Patriot Coffee,” McArthur also hopes to pay homage to the hardworking pioneers who helped better the nation. “For the pioneers, the risk takers, for the visionaries and innovators, for the daring dreamers and world changers, and everyone in between,” proclaims the back of each coffee bag.
He hopes the entire journey, from Black and Brew to Patriot Coffee, can inspire others to do the same with their aspirations.
McArthur began by selling coffee at the Saturday farmers’ market in downtown Lakeland, originally roasting with a small, at-home roaster. Soon he began a campaign on Kickstarter, a crowdsourcing website, perfect for up-and-coming businesses like his. 189 backers pledged $16,574 and in return received Patriot roasts, mugs, t-shirts and other products.
With this funding, along with a commercial, 5 kilogram roaster, and a bit of real estate on South Florida Avenue, McArthur is hard at work, running what he considers to be his contribution to our local coffee culture.
Through his newest establishment, he hopes to combat the aloof attitude so common to coffee drinkers. Coffee, and coffee roasts, he explains, are the product of a complicated and multi-tiered process, beginning with the coffee plants and ending when it’s finally brewed. Such a process provides so many opportunities for coffee to be either elevated or ruined. He plans to elevate his coffee— and the community— by taking on an essential role in this process.
He takes this responsibility seriously— when McArthur began roasting, he first attended a school in San Francisco to learn about coffee tasting (called “cupping”) techniques, and how to bring out the best in each green bean.
“It was a little intimidating; I was completely new to that side of the business,” McArthur confided, recounting his experience at the school. Now, no longer a novice, McArthur is bringing that knowledge to the people. “Specialty coffee can be a bit intimidating and sometimes even pretentious,” he says. “Our goal is to make the experience approachable and fun.”
Patriot Coffee is a roastery, and therefore has no public storefront— but it won’t be hidden away from the community. In the company’s future, McArthur sees frequent public cuppings, designed to allow customers to taste different coffees from all over the world in a comfortable, interactive experience.
Currently, Patriot Coffee imports coffee from seven different localities in three different regions. The different roasts originate in Latin America (Peru, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia), Africa (Tanzania and Ethiopia), and Indonesia (Sulawesi).
The beans from the different farms all have their own nuances, and it’s up to McArthur to determine the best roast profile for each one. He begins by ordering samples from the provider, which he then roasts in several different ways. Once he’s determined the best roast for that bean, he places a larger order, which he begins roasting using precisely the same heat and timing— with the help of his laptop. McArthur tries to incorporate technology where he can, to ensure consistent quality in each batch of beans.
Right now, eight different roasts are available to customers; seven correspond directly to the region from which they were imported, and are available directly from Patriot Coffee Roasters. The eighth roast, customers can find at Black and Brew— McArthur does a custom blend just for his Bistro.
With eight different roasts, McArthur ensures that there’s something for everyone. They cover the full spectrum: his lighter roasts are sweeter and lighter, with a more complex acidity, while darker roasts have more of a bittersweet flavor. His favorite? “I tend to gravitate toward the lighter and sweeter coffees,” he said. To me, he recommended the Guatemala, with its caramel, green grape, and nutty flavors.
1117 South Florida Ave, Suite 105 Lakeland, FL. 33803 863.232.5577 You can also order online at PatriotCraftCoffee.com. Follow them on both Facebook and Twitter.