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Local Spotlight--Lucky Goat Coffee

By Bridget Noel Welch Kamke

I recently had the pleasure of sipping the Columbian Supremo and touring locally owned Lucky Goat Coffee. Lucky Goat Coffee provides beans that are Fair Trade Organic Certified. They are not a certified roaster yet, but once completing the application and inspection process, by mid-summer, Lucky Goat Coffeewill be a Certified Organic Roaster.

Owner Ben Pautsch spent seven years in Atlanta as manager of large company that distributed to hotels and chain accounts. Six years ago he, his wife, Brooke, and their three children moved to Tallahassee where they ran a company that provided products to coffee shops, like machines and items essential to serving coffee. Eventually they expanded to three locations in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Biloxi. They weren’t selling coffee, but they noticed nobody was roasting in Tallahassee to sell wholesale, and decided to do it themselves.

Lucky Goat Coffee is named after Kaldi the legendary goat herder in 800AD whose goats ate coffee cherries, became euphoric and started dancing. A second legend says Kaldi gave another herder a goat-shaped pendant for good luck.

Lucky Goat Coffee started with artisan small batch roasting in 20 pound batches. They then added a computerized roast profiling system, which makes them a production roaster, meaning they can make 20 pound batches repeatedly that are consistent with the original. The blends are designed by hand, using artisan batches, then programmed into the computer for larger production.

Joe Davis is Lucky Goat Coffee’s roast master with 14 years experience in coffee. His father, Harry Davis, owns a roasting company and sells roasting machines. Joe has been roasting since he was a teenager, back when he didn’t use a computer and had to check and graphy temperature constantly while the coffee roasted. Davis also has cupping experience and a cupping palate. Cupping happens when new samples of green coffee arrive. He roasts and prepares a very small amount to taste for profiling.

The roaster has had the same basic design since the 1800’s. A rotating oven tumbles beans, so each bean is evenly cooked and the batch of beans roasts uniformly. Davis gave me a handful of raw beans to inspect. “Green coffee” is the hard inner bean from within a cherry, the fruit of the coffee plant, that is removed in a processing plant along with the parchment layer. The dense bean has high moisture content. You’d never know though; I tried biting into a rock-hard bean. The roasting goal is to take moisture out at the right speed. Lucky Goat Coffee uses the largest shop roaster available. Joe put beans into the hopper as I pulled the lever that started the roasting process, which takes about 15 minutes, no matter the quantity. Roast too fast, and the beans are burnt; roast too slow, and the beans are baked.

After roasting, beans drop into a part of the machine that is like an open basket where air is circulated to help cool them. Then they need 24 hours to degas.

For the freshest coffee possible, the hand weighed beans are packed in black bags to keep out light, with a heat sealed top and one way valve to keep out oxygen.

Pautsch showed me various roasted blends, noting different beans from different countries with different colors and sizes that were all roasted together. I asked what he wants readers to know the most. He replied that although their roasting company is new, the members of the company have many years experience and expertise in the coffee field. They are also trained baristas. They understand extraction, preparation and what the end product is supposed to taste like. And yes, they know their business; the coffee I tasted during my tour was delicious!

New Leaf Market carries a large variety of Lucky Goat Coffee in the bulk section.

2014 Business of the Year2014 Locally Owned Business of the Year