We all need a pick-me-up sometimes, especially after this year! What better way to treat your loved ones this holiday season than with locally brewed and named coffee? Located in the Pisgah Forest near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pisgah Coffee Roasters brings a taste of Brazilian coffee to North Carolina through family tradition, dedication and a twist of fate.
Jonathan Lipsi, current owner of Pisgah Coffee Roasters, grew up around the coffee farming industry in Brazil, one of the largest coffee producing regions in the world. “I grew up in Sousas, Sao Paulo, a region of Brazil where my parents were missionaries,” Jonathan said, “a lot of coffee is grown in Brazil so I grew up surrounded by it and learning the trade, including helping the family of my best friend in college on their coffee farm, and worked for a multinational company out of college where our main crop that we worked with was coffee. So needless to say I have been around it and loved it my entire life.” Prior to moving to North Carolina in 2002, Jonathan owned and operated a 400-acre coffee farm in Brazil where his son, Jotham, learned and fell in love with the trade as well. In 2010. the father-son duo started the company, formerly known as Coffee Cabana, and the journey began.
“Americans today look for good coffee,” Jonathan said, “and the coffee beans that come from Brazil not only have a low acidity, but also an intense aroma with hints of hazelnut, caramel and chocolate.” The coffee beans that Jonathan and his son use to make their coffee still come from a farm in Brazil, bringing a unique taste and flavor profile to our state. From there, the coffee is roasted and brewed in the heart of the N.C. mountains. “The farm that we source our beans from is actually the farm that I used to own and operate in Brazil,” Jonathan said, “today, I am great friends and business partners with the man that bought my farm and it is really neat to see how it has come full circle in a way that provides the best products to our customers.”
Once seedlings are put in small bags, it takes about six months to transplant, according to Jonathan. From there, it takes around three years before a good, bountiful harvest is produced. The region where the coffee is grown in Brazil is called Cerrado, which translated means Savanah. “The perfectly defined seasons – hot and humid summer, mild and dry winter – offers unique conditions for the production of coffee with exquisit features,” Jonathan said. Once the crop is harvested, it is then shipped to Pisgah Coffee Roasters to be roasted, ground or sold as whole bean. “We do not blend our coffee because it’s already a good product,” Jonathan said, “think of it like a filet mignon versus ground beef. Why mess with something when it already has a good quality and taste?” The Pisgah Coffee team only roasts to order because it ensures the utmost freshness in each product. Although roasting can often be the hardest part, Jonathan is thankful for the equipment that has made the process easier over the years and wouldn’t trade one minute in the field or the roasting house to be anywhere else. “Roasting is the most difficult part but it’s also the most important,” he said, “but at the end of the day, doing what I love and providing a quality product to our customers is incredibly rewarding.”
Once the coffee is bagged, it receives a unique name correlated to a local landmark in the Pisgah Forest area. “Parkway Pick-Me-Up and Dupont Dark are two of our well-known local bags and we name them this way so that it not only relates to the flavor profile that you will get in the coffee, but also links people back to their community and the place they call home,” Jonathan said. They also offer a line of products that are named after Jonathan’s hometown in Brazil. For example, one of their light roast coffees is named Samba, which in Brazil means a circle of dance often used as a celebration. According to Jonathan, the coffee was named this way because it holds the most caffeine and keeps people dancing all night long.
If you are looking to purchase some coffee from Pisgah Coffee Roasters for your loved ones during the holidays, their products can be found at many Ingles locations as well as local food markets in the Blue Ridge Mountain area. They also sell to a variety of restaurants and cafe’s in the area if you would like to try some for yourself! Jonathan’s personal favorite is their medium roast.
“As we approach the holiday season, I would encourage people to support and buy local products as much as possible because it’s fresh and supports the local people,” Jonathan said, “many supermarkets today have a local section where you can easily find products like ours and more.” If you are looking to do more online shopping this year, our Got To Be N.C. members offer many local products that are available to search on our Got To Be N.C. website, including Pisgah Coffee Roasters. In the future, Pisgah Coffee Roasters hopes to keep expanding their customer base and name in North Carolina and beyond. Nothing can be better than being brewed in the Carolinas!