There is a fun little story in the paper about a Yuma man named Pat Roberts who serves up coffee from Yuma, AZ.
YUMA, Ariz. — For the past seven years, local coffee expert Pat Roberts has been helping to wake up Yuma residents.
Roberts knows just about all there is to know about America’s favorite caffeinated beverage.
Roberts has been the resident “Coffee Guy” for seven years at the Prickly Pear, which is owned by Rhea Carlisle, in downtown Yuma. He averages 30 to 50 customers a day, and that is without selling cups of coffee _ just the beans from which they originate.
Roberts’ career in coffee began as temporary work when he was between jobs. He grew to love the people he met so much that he never left. He said his favorite part of being the “Coffee Guy” is seeing the winter visitors return to his store each year.
He tries samples to decide what types of coffee to buy, and uses six different roasters from the East and West Coasts and central U.S.
“In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve given three choices for buying the beans. You can take the whole bean, we’ll grind it for ’em, or I’ll give them a hammer and a plastic bag and send them out to the slab in the back. In all these years, nobody’s ever taken me up on that,” Roberts said.
Prickly Pear sells 60 different types of coffee and eggnog all year long. For flavored coffee, chocolate is the favorite flavor, followed by amaretto, pecan, almond and hazelnut.
Roberts said most coffee comes from Africa, Asia and Central and South America_ largely from the Southern Hemisphere and close to the equator.
“Coffee’s been used as monetary exchange. They fought wars over it.”
He said coffee bean growing began in Ethiopia, and the largest coffee producer in the world is Brazil.
Roberts said Hawaii is the only state that grows its own coffee.
He said the higher up in the mountains, the better the climate and the better the soil are for coffee bean growing. Lower down the mountain, effects of erosion are greater, so the soil is not as productive, and some of the streams and rivers are polluted.
Coffee is picked from fields as a green bean and shipped to various roasters throughout the world, where it is processed and roasted.
“Each roaster, it’s sort of like a wine maker. He has his own idea of how a wine should be made, and it’s the same way in the coffee business. A roaster has his own idea of how the coffee should taste,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the East Coast is predominantly a straight coffee market, and the West Coast is a flavored coffee market. He said Yuma residents tend to enjoy straight coffee, probably because of the variety of backgrounds of those who move here.
His best-selling flavored coffee is Highlander Grog. It smells differently to everyone. Some smell chocolate, others caramel and some, rum.
His personal favorite is Guatemala Huehuetenango, which he says has a great flavor, is not overpowering, is never bitter and has a good aftertaste.
His all-time favorite cup of joe is Burundi Bagoma. But he considers it his second favorite because “there’s always one better.”