Coffee Roaster Plans to Open North Augusta Store
To hear Brad Stone talk, you might think he’s a scientist. His speech is peppered with statements about carefully controlled experiments, blending various products and keeping detailed notes in order to repeat the processes.
But Stone is a coffee roaster. His company, Stone Roastery, opened in April in a small shed behind his home on Five Notch Road in North Augusta. His products have proved so popular already that he plans to open a retail coffee shop in North Augusta before the end of the year.
“I’ve spent hours and hours tasting coffee,” Stone said.
While many roasters offer single-origin coffee, Stone Roastery specializes in blends, combining beans from different countries to create unique flavors. Unlike most other roasters, Stone blends the beans before roasting them, which he believes creates a more flavorful blend.
In addition to hot brewed coffee, Stone also creates cold-brewed coffees and brews that are infused with nitrogen.
Stone has been a coffee connoisseur ever since he began traveling throughout the country as a government contractor, which allowed him to visit many coffee shops. He left that job and started his own construction company, then landed a job as a millwright at a paper company. But back surgery made that type of physical labor impractical.
While working in construction, Stone had helped a friend with a small coffee-roasting business. Needing a new occupation after surgery, he launched into that role again in 2017. He spent many hours visiting other coffee roasters and baristas to study how to create the blends he wants.
“I’ve been having a lot of fun with it,” he said.
He bought two roasters for his shop and has ordered a third, a larger roaster that he plans to use in his shop once it opens. He plans to have it behind glass and set scheduled roasting times so customers can view the processes he uses.
His customers include some of the area’s largest churches. He also sells coffee to some restaurants.
He currently has eight blends that he sells in 1-pound and 5-pound bags. One specialty coffee, named Jalopy, keeps changing in taste — Stone orders specialty beans in one-time orders and blends those he doesn’t use into the Jalopy blend. Since the beans keep changing, the flavor changes, too.
Stone is not only particular about how he blends the coffees, but also where they come from. He has specific farms in places such as Guatemala and Papua New Guinea that he buys beans from. Like wine, the vintage can change from year to year and from location to location because coffee beans are affected by soil and climate. He plans to travel to Guatemala next year to visit some of the farms.
Stone’s retail business will be at 502 Belvedere-Clearwater Road, just a few blocks off Edgefield Road in North Augusta, in a building that formerly housed Belvedere Cleaners. Stone, who has built a 1965 pickup and owns a 1967 Mustang, plans to give his business a retro look.
In addition to serving his own blends of coffees, he also plans to offer home-baked treats. He doesn’t have a date yet for when he’ll open his retail store but said it would be before the end of the year.