Vitaliy Shakirov, the owner of the family-owned and operated a coffee shop, Buy the Cup, in Rocky Hill, has expanded his business operations by launching an online coffee store that offers his speciality roasts to the wholesale and retail coffee marketplace. My family and his family have known each other since he opened his shop doors over ten years ago. Buy the Cup is my favourite place for fresh-brewed African coffee and roasted beans, and a pork roll sandwich. It’s a place to sit outside on a Saturday morning and politely chat about local politics with the regulars. The store is unassuming, but I’ll sometimes see Lexus’ and Mercedes-Benzs parked on the street along with Honda Civics and Toyota Camrys, while customers get their fresh roasted beans and pork roll.
Our story begins ten years ago when we opened our family-owned and operated coffee shop Buy the Cup in the quaint town of Rocky Hill, New Jersey. During our humble beginnings, we offered a small variety of beans and served a mere fifty cups per day. A very loyal following developed from our neighbours in Rocky Hill and the surrounding towns, and we quickly expanded to serve many more coffee varieties and different flavour options. Seven years later we grew into a full service “grab and go” cafe serving coffee from many countries around the world, a multitude of different flavours, light and dark blends, and a full espresso line. Over the years, we have crafted numerous blends and roasting profiles, which have become very popular with our loyal customer base. We continue to fine-tune our roasting skills to further our product development, all the while keeping our standards for our products and service very high.
I am excited for Vitaliy, and I expect he’ll do well.
On Monday, Vitaliy contacted me about a new Ethiopia Yirgacheffe light roast for pour-overs that he had created. He wanted my feedback on the coffee using my brewing methods. I brew pour-overs every day using a Chemex with either an able Kone filter, Chemex paper filters, or Ebb cloth filter. For this batch of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, the day after Vitality roasted the coffee, I brewed in my Chemex with all three types of filters. I think the Ebb filter produced the best pour-over cup with this coffee.
With Ethiopian coffees, pronounced floral notes are expected, notes that most Americans will bury under a blanket of creamer and sugar. I drink my coffee black. This Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee had a fresh aromatic wood note suggesting fresh-cut grass with an earthy nut-toned chocolaty taste which I enjoyed. My taste buds kept yelling, “cocoa.” I enjoyed this coffee, and I hope to drink this regularly.
Ah. I love my morning cup of coffee. Whether I brew with a French Press or Chemex, I enjoy the 4-5 minutes each morning when I am focused on nothing else except the steep and the pour. And then when it’s ready, that first sip is like waking up with the warm sun shining through the curtains while the Caribbean trade winds blow gently across your face. Ah!
Vitaliy, roaster, and owner of Buy the Cup in Rocky Hill, has experimented with some new beans. The latest is Ethiopian Sidamo. Some of the world’s finest coffees, such as Harrar and Yirgacheffee, originate in Ethiopia and are named after the region of origin. You can count Sidamo among them.
I dropped in this morning and picked up a pound of the Sidamo. Vitaliy is friendly, and we chatted about some other coffee beans he is bringing into the store soon. I brewed the Sidamo in my Chemex using a paper filter. My wife and I agree that the drink was smooth, fruity — as Ethiopian coffees tend to be — and stands up well to cream. I drink my coffee black, so you’ll have to take my wife’s word on that bit. I tasted dark chocolate.