The Heart and Science of Coffee – Part 2
~ Inside Deeper Roots Coffee ~

Global Reach

In addition to Guatemala, Deeper Roots Coffee sources coffee from all around the world, with countries that include Ethiopia and Brazil along with Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, and Tanzania.

As much as the company has grown, they now work with coffee importer Crop to Cup. The importer prospects coffee farms and also helps to develop the supply chain. “They work with coffee communities that aren’t as known to the coffee world but have potential, which is in line with where we want to go,” Stoneham says.

Crop to Cup has been instrumental in getting Deeper Roots Coffee in countries like Uganda, Tanzania, and Indonesia. Wherever they go, Deeper Roots Coffee takes a personal approach in the development of the community and the quality of coffee.

“We look at long-term investments, whether it’s a new relationship or one we’ve had for a while . . . how we are involved in the progression of the farm or community of farmers, improving the quality, and being a good partner,” Stoneham explains.

It’s been gratifying for him to see the pride on these farmers’ faces when they realize their coffee is now sold on the world market. Deeper Roots Coffee is also able to provide some degree of economic stability to the farmers as they quench the thirst for quality coffee in the United States. That bit of economic stability sometimes means the children kids from these farming communities get to continue going to school. Other times, it means allowing the farmers to dare to dream of a brighter future for their children.

Coffee Benchmarks

A great cup of coffee starts with Arabica coffee beans, but that’s only a part of the whole picture. It goes back to the proper growing of the coffee crops and the expert processing of the beans.

From there, comes the art and science of roasting. “When you roast coffee, all kinds of chemistry is happening. Acids are changing, sugars are converting, and you also have Maillard reactions,” Stoneham points out. Maillard reactions are chemical reactions that develop color and flavor, a direct result of the roasting process.

Adam Shaw, the lead roaster, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a mechanical engineer, meticulously develops the intrinsic flavors of the coffee beans. The process is timed to the second and measured to the degree.

“We roast anywhere from 408 to 418 degrees, but most of what we do is around 408,” says an employee named Christina, who is intently monitoring the time–temperature graph on the screen.

She notes that the temperature and roasting duration depend on the inherent properties of the beans, such as moisture. “It also depends on the characteristics you’d want to develop from beans,” she adds. That, I suspect, belongs squarely in the art department of coffee roasting.

With perfectly roasted coffee beans, the “perfect cup” now rides on how well the coffee is made—which brings us back to the exacting ways of making coffee. It’s no accident Deeper Roots Coffee provides comprehensive barista training to support the success of its retail clients. They are also putting the finishing touches on the monthly tours and tastings they plan to host soon. “We have been so busy hosting home barista classes,” Doan adds. “That has really taken off to our surprise.”

Deepening Roots

Deeper Roots Coffee takes a long-term view of their partnerships with the coffee-farming communities around the world. They want to better not only the present-day situation for the farmers but also the future of the farmers’ children.

It seems things have come full circle with the introduction of Stoneham’s son to the farming community in Central America. “I’m happiest when I’m traveling,” Stoneham says with a grin. “Last year, I got to travel with my [young] son. It was great meeting some of the friends from over the years in Guatemala.”

From the deep relationships with the coffee farmers to the rigor of producing the best coffee beans to the meticulous preparation of a cup of coffee—Deeper Roots Coffee is all those things and more. What clearly is never far away is their commitment to the farming community. Stoneham adds, “What we do in Guatemala, we want to do one hundred times over.”


Deeper Roots Coffee
Website: DeeperRootsCoffee.com
2108 Colerain Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45214 | 513.655.6535

Editor’s Note: We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the people of Guatemala affected by the eruption of Fuego volcano.