Noble Coffee Roasting, an organic, fair trade-certified coffee shop, opened its doors last week.
Dozens of patrons packed the new business, located near the corner of Fourth and A streets. Co-owner Jared Rennie has been making homemade blends for several years, delivering them to Ashland- and Talent-area homes. But the store represents a big step forward for Rennie and his workers, who hope the business becomes a local mainstay.
"All along Jared had the vision," co-owner Steve Sacks said.
Rennie mastered the trade while working for a Jacksonville-based coffee roasting business. He and his wife, Carolyn, purchased the rights to the downtown building, along with their friends Steve and Kelly Sacks.
The couples are taking a 100-percent organic approach to roasting — using what is known as a Probat coffee roaster to ensure the freshest, high-quality brews.
"It's what you might call 'artisan roasting,'" Sacks said.
Ashland residents Dave and Jody Hodges were among the first customers to try a cup, and say Noble Coffee matches the quality of their home-delivered brands.
"We've been buying (Rennie's) coffee for eight months," Dave Hodges said. "I think it's the best coffee you can get. It's great."
The words "Quality driven, socially responsible, environmentally conscious" hang from a chalkboard on the store's back wall. It is a message that Rennie, Sacks and the company's eight employees take to heart. Their coffee comes from beans ground in Asia, Africa and Latin America, but all of their blends are fair trade certified — an issue Sacks knows many Ashlanders take to heart.
"We put the store here for people in town," he said. "It's going to be centered toward the locals, and we hope it will add something to the neighborhood."
Noble Coffee Roasting will make fresh, organic coffee from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., seven days a week.