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.”

Arizona Coffee

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  1. okay™

    I know at least one roaster he buys from by name.

  2. Cool find, it’s a nice read! You should have him as a guest blogger one day. 🙂

  3. The part about picking green beans has me worried about the rest of the story. But my hat’s off to Roberts for dedicating years to coffee, and especially selling eggnog year-round (mmmm).

  4. That’s got the be the quote of the week.

    “Coffee is picked from fields as a green bean and shipped to various roasters throughout the world, where it is processed and roasted.”


  5. It also slightly sounds like something an editor would goof up.

  6. I hate how it’s considered ethical for editors to re-word things.

  7. “Roberts knows just about all there is to know about America’s favorite caffeinated beverage.”

    With this breaking news, the coffee industry worlwide is reported to be in a panic. David Schomer of Vivace was rumored to be heard muttering over and over in a corner, “my lifes work is done, there is nothing left to discover”. Sources in Italy close to Dr. Ernesto Illy are reporting that the Illy roasting works and associated labratories will begin shutting down all of their operations beginning next month with a complete closure of their facilities expected by late summer. “This news is shocking to us and completely caught us unaware, but so be it, if we have nothing left of benefit to offer the coffee industry, then the writing is on the wall” said Dr. Illy

    Traffic in all directions into Yuma, Arizona is said to be at a standstill as all manner of coffee people from around the world are making a “pilgramage” of sorts in hopes of just getting a brief glimpse of this new coffee luminary. Lt. Olsen of the Yuma Police Dept doesn’t expect the roadway congestion to ease up anytime soon. “This is just crazy” says Olsen, “but it is coffee after all and this is big news”.

    Barista Don Doubleshot from Carey, NC was one of the first people to arrive in Yuma after driving non-stop for two days in hopes of being the first person to try the hammer and plastic bag technology on the slab out back. “This will completely change how people grind coffee. I’m usually the last person to hear about these things, so I’m feeling pretty lucky right now!”

    News of this magnitude will have far reaching effects and it’s impact is not expected to lessen any time soon. “It’s about time someone finally learned almost everything there is to know about coffee, now I can sleep better at night” said Intelligentsia’s Director of Coffee, “we all can!”

    Disclaimer and notes; I have not verified any of the above reportings or quotations and believe them to be totaly fictous and completely unreliable. I also found the traffic between Phoenix and Yuma rather light this morning when driving down to pick up some Highlander Grog.

  8. That’s a classic. You’d be really good at Caption Contest Friday’s over on BrainFuel.

  9. Please, don’t encourage me. I’m sure Pat’s a cool guy and I’m with Michael T, kudo’s for dedicating years to coffee!