A Fork in the Road Podcast: JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters
One of the most unique coffee roasters in the country is located in the North Georgia Mountains. In this episode, we'll learn about bourbon-infused coffee, wine-infused coffee, IPA and stout beer-infused coffee and get a little history lesson during our visit to JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters in Cleveland, GA.
Charlie Britt: What what makes me tick as an entrepreneur is to create something different. So I created some wine infused coffees, a siracha chocolate infused wine coffee, a chocolate and a merlot infused. They're all done with merlot. I created a bourbon pecan coffee, which is one of our best selling coffees.
David Zelski: What's the first city that comes to mind when you think coffee? Seattle? Are you telling me that you didn't immediately think Cleveland? No, not that Cleveland. I'm talking about Cleveland, Georgia, the home to one of the most unique coffee roasters in the country.
Theme Song: I came from the mud, there's dirt on my hands. Strong like a tree, there's roots where I stand.
David Zelski: I'm David Zelski, and this is the Fork in the Road podcast, featuring the stories from Georgia's farmers, fishermen, merchants, artisans, chefs and others who help provide Georgia grown products to folks in the Peach State and beyond. And today, we find ourselves in the north Georgia mountains on the northern side of Cleveland, about five miles south of the Alpine village of Helen. We are here to talk coffee at JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters. And my first question for owner Charlie Britt is probably the same as yours: where'd the name JumpinGoat come from?
Charlie Britt: Well, basically, the the folklore about coffee is many years ago, a Ethiopian goat herdsman named Kaldi was free range feeding his goats. And so as they were free range feeding, they would come up to these bushes that had red cherries on them. And coffee, as many people may not know as a red cherry like sweet little cherry that has a bean in it. Similar to a bing cherry or regular cherry and that's the coffee bean inside. These goats would eat the sweet little berries and they would start becoming hyper or jumping around. So henceforth the the folks in that part of the country, they decided to we don't know what it is. So let's boil it and then we'll try it and drink it. So they did and they actually got a little bit of a buzz off of it. And they, as folklore says, they would take this juice to the monastery and let the monks have it so they would drink it and stay up all night and meditate. And so I'm not sure if that's a true story or not, but it's a great story because our name is JumpinGoat, our registered trademark. And if you look through the you know, if you ever Google things for coffee, you'll see a lot of goat companies that are coffee companies like flying goat, dancing goat, crazy goat, happy goat. You know, all those names are associated with the folklore of how coffee was discovered.
David Zelski: Yep. Apparently we're all addicted to our morning cup of Joe because some ancient Ethiopian goats were getting buzzed off cherries. Why didn't they teach us this in school? Okay. Back on track. How did Charlie get into this business?
Charlie Britt: Well, coffee was by accident, really. When I was married to my wife. We did a honeymoon in Telluride, and when we were driving around, we went through this little mountain town, and we saw this coffee shop, had a little bakery, and a bookshop. And I told my wife, you know, that would be a kind of a fun thing to do. And so when we got back, we started playing with the idea of creating a coffee company. And we actually were going to go to Asheville and start a company similar to JumpinGoat. And in the process of all that, the actual the original owner of JumpinGoat, which was probably about a year and a half after they'd started, had approached us about buying their company. So we decided to come through this area, which we had never been here before, and we fell in love with the mountains. The people were extremely nice. A lot of uniqueness here, real laidback compared to Destin, where we were from.
David Zelski: The area around Cleveland and Helen is so gorgeous that Charlie just completely forgot about Asheville. Score one for the Peach State.
Charlie Britt: We do offer inside seating and we also tried to create enough room outside for you to get out here and really take in the awesomeness of Mt. Yonah, the big stone face mountain here. It's just, you know, it's just a serene setting. This actual hill here is a rock. And, you know, there is some past history here of of a motorcycle church. And once that ministry ended, somebody else bought this property. We ended up buying it from them and turning it into what we think is a you know, I don't know the correct word and maybe feng shui. Correct. When you come into our facility, most people say, Oh, it's so peaceful in here, so nice. And so we've tried to create that environment. You know, we we're not a party place. We don't you know, we don't want a bunch of people, you know, making a lot of racket. We're trying to shoot for a serene experience here and with a view that's, I think, one of the best in the area.
David Zelski: Now, if you've seen the logo? You've kind of seen the view Charlie is talking about.
Charlie Britt: Yeah, we we actually have two logos. Our registered trademark logo is for our coffee, and that's a whole different logo, which you have to represent your logo the way it is to protect that branding. So we do that. So for this location here, our JumpinGoat Coffee Roasting and Tasting room, we have a specific logo for it and it's a goat head with one of the horns being the picture of Mount Yona and the other horn being the picture of Pink Mountain. And so the mountains are a big part of what we represent here as our new location. People love to come here and gel, drink a cup of coffee, do other things we offer. But we have a lot of kids that come from college that get on wi fi and and just enjoy the serenity of this area. It's it's about seven and a half acres here, and it's just a really nice, settled place to be well off the highway so you don't have the traffic noise. And so it's a great place just to kind of sit and enjoy yourself.
David Zelski: Serenity is actually the perfect word for it. The views are awe inspiring here, and the coffee experience is unlike anything you will find anywhere else.
Charlie Britt: Exactly. The concept behind JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters and Tasting Room is to create. What we wanted to create was, first of all, just a real nice, comfortable place to come. We wanted to create a experience, so to speak, a destination. So when you come here, you can do a lot of things. We we try to do everything we can from, you know, other Georgia grown companies like ourselves. And so we do we do full espresso bar coffees. We have some unique coffees like wine infused, bourbon infused coffees. I've created we do tastings for coffees. We roast about eight different origins and offer cold brew and nitro coffees and some of our stout infused coffees that I've created. But we also have other things like you can do honey tastings, balsamic olive oil tastings. You can buy different unique plethora of different products, like we sell a Mead product, which is a honey wine from another Georgia grown company who also does our honey. And so we have gifting items we have inside, outside seating, wi fi, the music on the weekends, live music. And we've also done a number of events weddings, receptions, birthday parties, all those kind of things on our grounds.
David Zelski: Hone,y mead, and balsamic vinegar tastings, weddings, parties, and live music. Those are all amazing things. But I personally want to go back for a moment to this.
Charlie Britt: We have some unique coffees, like wine infused, bourbon infused coffees I've created.
David Zelski: I'm sorry, what?
Charlie Britt: Well, the the thing about. What what, what makes me tick as an entrepreneur is to create something different. So I created some wine infused coffees, a Sriracha chocolate infused wine,coffee, a chocolate and a merlot infused. They're all done with merlot. I created a bourbon pecan coffee, which is one of our best selling coffees that I'll actually handcraft and make myself. I don't let anybody else do that. These are about a year, and they took about a year to get them tweaked. Now I have the formula and I'm expanding that into the stout infused coffees. The last one I'm going to do is going to be an IPA coffee, which will have that great fruit finish to the coffee and there's nothing else like it that I've seen that's available. So it should be quite enjoyable. I've already tried the stout. It's you can, you can put a stout beer and my stout coffee in you're drinking the same thing. Mine's just better.
David Zelski: Stout beer and wine infused coffee. Mind blown.
Charlie Britt: Well, the what's what was important to my wife and I. And she's co-owner with me, Teri Britt. We wanted to create what we feel is the best. We're going to choose. Just like if you're going to buy steak to cook, you're going to if you're really want a good steak, you're going to go to a special cut that you enjoy. I've always said the best cup of coffee is the one you enjoy. However, the coffees we offer we think can help you enjoy those coffees more because they're either going to be Fair Trade Organic certified or Rainforest Alliance certified. They are artisan roasted, which is not by any profile. Coffee gets more rain, less rain, colder, warmer, different things that affect each crop. So we roast small batch, artisan roast and everything we roast again is the Fair Trade or for Rainforest Alliance. I buy the very best coffee we can and the other uniqueness of JumpinGoat we offer maybe seven or eight different origins you can try, so you can actually come here and do a coffee tasting of, say, a Colombian and Ethiopian, a Nicaraguan, a Guatemalan, and say, a Mexican or a Colombian. There's several coffees you can try. We are starting to get more people that want to request coffee tastings because there's nowhere that I know of around here or anywhere close by that you can do the plethora of coffees that we offer. We also offer cold brew. We're introducing our nitro coffee, which is very unique. And as I mentioned, the stout coffees are going to be quite unique as well.
David Zelski: Earlier, Charlie mentioned that he handcrafts the bourbon pecan coffee, but he doesn't do all the roasting himself. A man named Jacob Smith runs the roaster most of the time.
Charlie Britt: Well, this roaster is kind of unique. First off, it's Made in America, made in Idaho. It uses propane and radiant heat, which is quite unique. And it's basically the concept of roasting is is our particular drum is a stainless steel drum that rotates over flame and radiant heat. And so that's how you cook the bean. It's in a way like a backyard rotisserie grill. Jacob is our master roaster. And he's really good at it.
David Zelski: Coffee is the world's second largest traded commodity, crude oil being number one. Coffee is consumed in great quantities, making it the most beloved beverage after water, and it's worth over $100 billion worldwide. So hearing that, how can JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters be a Georgia Grown company?
Charlie Britt: Although coffee isn't grown in the United States, there may be a few little plants here and there, but nothing commercial. We bring in raw coffee, roast it and manufactur it right here that enables us to be a Georgia Grown company. And people. It's important to us because we have people looking for those Georgia Grown companies.
David Zelski: So next time you're in the north Georgia mountains, I think you should make a little time to just stop on, buy, JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters.
Charlie Britt: We're four and a half miles to Helen on the same road. Highway 75. We're probably about two miles to downtown Cleveland or where Ingles is on the corner. So this is a major thoroughfare to Helen, and we kind of like that because we're right in the path of people going to Helen. And then we have our other location down in Nacoochee Village, which is just right outside the curve of Helen.
David Zelski: And you have a little goat there the kids can kind of go see as well.
Charlie Britt: Yeah, yeah, we actually have a stuffed goat and I didn't realize it, but that goat was a yeah, we were like, Well, let's get a goat. When we first started JumpinGoat down there, I said, Let's get a goat. We need a mascot. Well, the goat comes in this Saran wrap. That's all he came in. The guy dumped him off with a sticker on him that said Jump and goat. And it was wrapped in about five miles of Saran wrap. So we got him all out of that, and we kind of got him all fixed up. And I noticed there was a certificate in there and it said, Collector goat number. A number? I didn't know people collect goats go to a very popular item. And so anyway, we have people from all over that take their picture with that and put it on Facebook and everything. So it's just kind of an icon to go over there and get your picture with the goat and go inside and try a little taste of our coffee.
David Zelski: The JumpinGoat location in Helen back's right up to the Chattahoochee. But don't go trying to ride your river tube all the way to it. And let's say someone wants this JumpinGoat Coffee, but they're not going to be in the area anytime soon.
Charlie Britt: Well, David, we have a couple of ways. One, and probably very popular is our website, which is jumpingoatcoffeeroasters.com. And we have all our coffees and different products on there. We ship coffee actually to every state in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The other way is we also have a very brisk wholesale business which we roast coffee for a lot of bed and breakfast, restaurants, and coffee shops. So we also have a lot of mom and pop little retail stores that like to stock our coffee to sell for their customers to buy. So we do have two other avenues. If you can't get to jump and go right here in Helen and Cleveland, you can get through to us that way through the website or even maybe through one of our wholesalers.
David Zelski: Before we leave, Charlie wants to add one more thing about JumpinGoat Coffee Roasters.
Charlie Britt: All right, David, thank you. I've negated to talk about one of the things that a lot of the locals really enjoy here. We have a dog park and it's Juna and Millie's playground, which is our dogs, and we have groups of people that come out, bring their dogs, let them run around. There's really no where in town or anywhere around here you can do that. They'll enjoy a cup of coffee with their pup or they can have a glass of mead or something like that and enjoy themselves. And we have events. We last year we did a costume contest for Halloween for dogs and raised money for a local no-kill shelter. Smithgall. And and so it's a real dear thing to our heart to share that with others who have their pets because there's nowhere else for them to get out.
David Zelski: Now, doesn't it all just sound lovely? You, your dog, unique coffee, and the serenity of the North Georgia mountains. Ah.... and for more stories like this one, you can watch A Fork In The Road on GPB-TV or any time on the GPB.org website. That's where you'll also be able to listen and subscribe to this podcast or download it on your favorite podcast platform. I'm David Zelski. Thanks for listening to A Fork in the Road.
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