If someone said they could smell you from down the road, it’s usually not a good thing; but, for the customers of Nine Flags Coffee Roasters, letting their noses lead the way has led them to something new in downtown Nacogdoches.
Coffee, Texas and history converge in Nine Flags Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop that specializes in the sale of freshly roasted coffee beans and brewed coffee. Nine Flags Coffee Roasters, located at 601 E. Main St., had its soft opening April 10.
David Hanson and David Vanbuskirk, the co-owners of Nine Flags Coffee Roasters, started creating their own fresh coffee as a hobby.
“We’ve been roasting our own coffee for over a year,” Vanbuskirk said. “Of course, we’ve always been into coffee, and doing your fresh grind by buying store-bought beans, but then this brother right here [Hanson] got into roasting his own beans.”
Roasting coffee beans for themselves led to roasting for family and friends.
“So many of our friends started liking that fresh roast because there’s such a smoother quality and freshness of the roast,” Vanbuskirk said. “So we were giving away so much coffee to our friends we asked, ‘how can we keep everybody supplied with coffee and maybe make a little money out of it?’ So, I thought he [Hanson] was talking about six months down the road, but he said ‘come on down, I got a location’ and—poof—like, literally, in six weeks we had this.”
Beside the shop is a pit where they roast the beans, hand cranking anywhere from eight to 14 minutes depending on the heat of the oven.
“Our coffee isn’t stale, it’s not old and it’s not burnt, which are the three main problems with coffee,” Hanson said.
The owners explained that while flavored drinks may come down the line, their specialty is black coffee.
"The biggest response we get is 'I don't normally like black coffee, but this is so smooth, and it tastes so good,' which is all about the freshness of the roast," Vanbuskirk said.
While the business is mostly to sell the beans, they sell coffee at $2 a cup to-go and $3 a cup to dine in. Pastries are offered in the mornings, and Wi-Fi is available all day.
The shop has coffee dispensers lined up on the counter identifying each coffee by its country of origin.
“We offer nine countries rather than different flavors. Instead of doing blends, you can come in and you’re going to sample the purity of the origin of that country and what it tastes like, and you can add cream later,” Vanbuskirk said.
As for the name, Nine Flags, it is inspired by the location’s rich history and the nine flags that flew over Nacogdoches—the nine countries they receive their beans from coincides with their theme, according to Hanson.
One of the main goals the owners have for Nine Flags Coffee Roasters is to educate the public on coffee, and they hope to achieve that with their upcoming Complexities of Coffee Courses. They have sign-up sheets offering the class posted and hope to begin Saturday.
“We want to educate people on coffee. From the plant to the cup, honestly. So, we’ll be doing the Complexities of Coffee Course where we’ll have you sample all nine of the flavors in three different roasts, and we will be doing a class while you’re tasting and we’re going to talk about why some coffees are bitter and the freshness period of coffee,” Vanbuskirk said. “By the time that it [coffee] is harvested in other countries halfway across the world, and then it is roasted and packaged and gets to your favorite supermarket, it’s already stale and dead. It’s already lost its real properties that bring out the true flavors of coffee, and a lot of people don’t know that. A lot of people have never seen coffee in its green form.”
According to Vanbuskirk, the shop will have a scorecard from the Complexities of Coffee course for customers to assist in creating the house blend from a combination based off the highest-rated countries. Additionally, they hope to have people come on the weekends and watch them roast the beans.
“The response has been unbelievable. Like I said, hundreds of people are coming here. We just didn’t think it would start out like this, but we’re glad. We’re very glad,” Hanson said. “We are excited about being in Nacogdoches and starting this business. It is the second greatest commodity-driven business next to oil, so it’s pretty competitive. But, we think we have a niche market in this fresh side of it.”
Nine Flags will have a grand opening in May. Business hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.