FLORENCE - An above-average coffee experience; that's what Jeff Felten and Tommy Bolger set out to do when they started Batch Nine Coffee Co.
"It's kind of a personal thing that we believe that your coffee doesn't have to be average," Felten said. "It can be great."
The idea for the company came about after Bolger opened Lula's Coffee Co., a coffee shop located on Pamplico Highway in Florence, in June 2012. Felten started as the general manager of the coffee shop.
Felten said starting a coffee roasting company just felt like the next step.
"We saw a need in the community," Felten said. "Nobody was really doing this kind of thing. We really felt like we were in the best position to fill that need. We honestly just went for it, started putting the pieces together and learning."
In the spring of 2016, Felten bought a table-top coffee roaster and began experimenting with different kinds of coffee.
"At the beginning, I think we quickly realized it was very scientific," Felten said. "To do it well is very scientifically involved. You have to understand what's going on with the process in order to do it well, so at the beginning, I kind of got lost in that."
On the ninth batch, the coffee began to taste good, Felten said.
That's where the name Batch Nine Coffee Co. came from.
"It was the first batch that we roasted that actually tasted pretty good," Felten said. "The first eight batches we roasted on our little sample roaster were terrible, and we couldn't figure out why, so we went back to the drawing board and sat on Google for several hours, read and studied. Something clicked, and we went back to the roaster."
The ninth batch of coffee was a coffee from Brazil.
In January 2017, Felten bought a larger coffee roaster and started taking his coffee roasting to a larger scale, which led to the start of Batch Nine Coffee Co. Felten, with Bolger as his business partner, began the coffee roasting company.
Batch Nine Coffee Co. decides what coffees they're selling based on region and season because coffee is a crop. Felten also said he wants to have a variety of regions represented because coffee tastes differently when it's from other areas.
"We also like to explore different coffees," Felten said. "We like to give people the experience of trying what different coffees from around the world taste like, because they taste different depending on where they're grown. We like to give people that full experience if they choose to have it."
Felten said he enjoys trying coffees from around the world and hopes to see the people of Florence enjoying them as well.
"There are so many coffees out there," Felten said. "Personally, I can't wait to try all of them. You know there's so many that I want to try that I don't necessarily want to go back to try the same ones."
Felten said the process of building a coffee roasting company has been slow and steady.
Bolger said they still have room to continue growing.
"What's cool is I think we'll keep just getting better because we'll keep learning because it's not just a matter of coffee beans," Bolger said.
Batch Nine Coffee can be purchased at drinkbatchnine.com.
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