What makes a good cup of coffee?
It's an age-old question, one that sends many skirting around gas stations, fast food chains and their local Starbucks looking for an answer.
You might find the coffee of your choice, whether an iced hazelnut macchiato or a singular shot of espresso, but do you know the process behind it?
Luckily, Ian Duncan, owner and operator of his newly launched business, Grind Coffee Roasters, is here with the answers, and the experience to back them up.
Grind Coffee Roasters, located at 7 Simmonsville Rd., Suite 600, offers a number of services, including wholesale, a customizable subscription service, and even the opportunity to create your very own label of coffee.
Duncan didn't grow up interested in coffee, and that didn't change through high school or college either. However, after graduating and moving to Hilton Head Island, he quickly picked up the coffee drinking habit at the behest of a friend and never looked back.
In 2008, Duncan met Josh Cooke, owner of the Corner Perk in Bluffton, and began working under him as a barista. It wasn't long before Duncan moved on to roasting his own coffee, a passion leading him to open his own business in November 2016.
"For years I wanted to have my own business so I could be as creative as I want to be," said Duncan. "Being a part of a coffee shop, you can only be so creative because you have to keep things so consistent. Being a roaster gives me a ton of possibilities."
Possibility is really the name of the coffee game. The level of variety a roaster can achieve from a single style of coffee bean is staggering. Whether it's Duncan's honey-flavored Guatemalan Huehuetenago or his darker, smokier Nicaragua Cafe Diego, each specific roast is a unique and wholly original creation.
"You can get different flavors from one roast just by changing the grind. You can roast one coffee 15 different ways and get 15 different flavors out of it," said Duncan.
This craftsmanship is what separates Duncan from the pack, providing his customers with a level of hands-on expertise not found at more commercialized locations.
"Bigger chains can mass produce coffee, but there's no real craft behind it anymore. They become like the McDonald's of coffee for the world, and I'm more like the butcher shop down the street," said Duncan.
To learn more, visit www.thegrind roasters.com, or taste their coffees at a number of local businesses including Lucky Rooster restaurant, Walnut's Cafe and Peaceful Henry's Cigar Bar.
Sam Posthuma of Bluffton is a freelance writer and production assistant for The Bluffton Sun.