Attention coffee lovers: if you are anything like Dave and Laura Helbling, who have been on a quest to find the best coffee, then you’re in luck. The Heblings will open ZuZu’s Fresh Roast Coffee tomorrow, July 11.
While Laura has held an entrepreneurial spirit her whole life, it took a Christmas gift of fresh coffee beans from Chicago from the Hebling’s children to catapult the idea of starting a micro-roastery out of their home.
“When I saw him light up because he’s the real coffee drinker, I thought, ‘Wow! He’s really on board with this,” Laura said.
“I’m the one with the entrepreneur spirit,” she continued. I get that from my dad and my brother. I saw he was on board, so I started doing the research without telling him, then I showed him a business plan.”
The Heblings then began the journey of researching different types of coffee beans in their raw state.
“You can absolutely tell that they are a fresh green bean,” Dave said.
The Heblings now belong to a coop where they purchase their fresh beans from Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexica and Costa Rica. Depending on the customer’s preferred taste, the beans can be roasted to light, medium or dark.
Part of the process of opening a micro-roastery was converting the basement of their tri-level home, located at 904 S. Fawn Dr., into a roastery that met County Health requirements. Now, the Heblings put coffee beans in their raw state onto a fluid bed that roasts evenly to produce coffee beans that can be used immediately.
“It starts with a good quality bean,” Dave said. “Then a good roasting process; the best roasting is a relationship between time and temperature. Quality and freshness also make a big difference. All coffee that is in the store is technically stale unless it’s from a nearby micro-roastery or roastery.”
“We will not be blending because that manipulate the bean from its original origin,” Laura said.
The Heblings said they will just sell the whole bean in a 12 oz package to individuals at this time. Laura said that grinding it onsite will take away from the freshness of the product. Depending on how strong or weak the customer wants their coffee, a 12 oz bag can brew up to 24 cups.
Both Laura and Dave have been very impressed with the coffee beans they get from Ethiopia. After drinking dark roast coffee, they were happy to find the Ethiopian bean with light citrus and floral highlights.
“Different bean will have different highlight when roasted at different temperatures,” Dave said. “You can’t just take one bean from different regions and expect it to have the same flavor.”
“Light doesn’t necessarily mean it is a weak coffee,” Laura said. “It actually has more caffeine than a dark roast. But a lot of people think the stronger your coffee is, you’re getting more caffeine. But actually, it is the lighter roast that has more caffeine.”
Through this process, the Heblings also learned that a quality, fresh coffee bean product will not need cream or sugar to mask the bitterness of the coffee.
“I used to put cream and sugar in my coffee just because it was not good black,” Laura said. “The sugar and the cream just breaks the coffee down, making it more smooth for people to drink. But with this process, you can just drink it as it is.”
When ZuZu’s Fresh Roast Coffee opens on the 11th, orders will be taken by phone or through their Facebook page, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 217-419-0249. Once the website is up, the Heblings will also take orders through the site.
The Heblings are also looking into a storefront in Mahomet where they may also sell at-home coffee equipment, such as coffee grinders alongside cups and apparel.
Until then, the Heblings will help educate the Mahomet community on how to use their product through their website that will include hot and cold brew recipes with coffee-infused dessert recipes, too.