Coffee Roasters Café in Windham offers a wide range of coffees and fresh products created by Barry and Lynn Goldman. With a lifetime of experience roasting coffee, Barry Goldman has set out to create a unique experience in which coffee beans are roasted, brewed and enjoyed in an 1800s farmhouse.
The Goldmans work to ensure that the coffee beans they use are of the best quality even before the roasting process.
“I roast organic coffees, and I’ve been buying from farmers for many, many years,” Goldman said. Because he buys direct from farmers, Goldman gets the freshest beans possible. He explained that coffee comes from a bright red fruit that resembles a cherry, and the bean used to make the beverage is the fruit’s seed. The fruits are harvested and then milled or washed to take the outside layers off and expose the light green bean.
The coffees at Coffee Roasters Café come from all over the world. “I can deal with anyone who has a computer from anywhere,” he said.
While Goldman has a wide selection from South and Central America and Africa, he takes special pride in his collection of coffees from Indonesia. All the coffees the Goldmans use are Arabica varieties, rather than the more commonly used Robusta beans. “All Robustas are very hardy coffee. They are high in acid and high in caffeine, but they don’t have the same flavor,” he said.
He said that many times, roasters will claim to use Arabica beans but actually add artificial flavors to Robusta beans. Goldman said there are several advantages to having a small business and dealing directly with the coffee farmers instead of a broker.
“I have the ability to buy only the coffee that I try and I like,” he said. He said that if there is a bad crop one year from one of the farms he works with, he isn’t obligated to buy a bunch of bad coffee. He said that he also likes dealing with the individual farm owners over a broker because the farm owners benefit more. “We pay the same price as we would pay the broker to the farmers,” Goldman said.
The blending and roasting processes affect the coffee’s quality dramatically. Most commercial roasters roast coffee in seven to 10 minutes, but the Goldmans let their coffee roast for 25 to 30 minutes. “I roast slower than anyone in the entire country,” Goldman said. When the beans are roasted too quickly, they burn instead of caramelizing. “It’s like microwaving a turkey or cooking it slow in the oven,” explained Goldman. There are several different levels of roasting, ranging from the lightest American roast to the very dark French roast.
Goldman enjoys creating blends of different types of beans that taste good together. The most popular is his House Blend, the second is the Komodo Dragon blend of Indonesian coffees, and the third is the Sumatran Double Dark. The Goldmans are constantly striving to perfect their coffees. “My house blend changes all the time because if I can find a better coffee to add to my blend, I add it,” Goldman said.
The Arabica beans used in the coffee have natural flavors, very little acid and almost no caffeine, which is why Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston can serve it to patients with heart conditions. Some people, however, want caffeine or extra flavors, like vanilla, in their coffee. For this purpose, Goldman fashioned a mixer out of an old electric train transformer that can add flavorings and liquid caffeine to the beans.
Goldman will roast beans at the shop to customers’ preferences and will also sell green unroasted beans to customers if they want to purchase their own one-pound roaster and roast at home.
The Coffee Roasters Café also serves a wide variety of foods, including paninis, pastries and salads. Bagels and bialys are shipped in fresh each day from New York City. They also make a fresh juice daily, which consists of cherries, peaches, raspberries and other fruits.
Coffee tastings are held on Monday and Friday evenings, during which the couple show participants how the coffee is roasted and allow them to sample coffees. The Goldmans use the tastings to teach people about the different flavors and roasts available.
Goldman has been roasting coffee since he was young. “I grew up with it, because when my grandfather came from Russia, he brought a little one-pound coffee roaster,” Goldman said. “I grew up roasting coffee all the time.” He and his brother opened a coffee roasting business called Good as Gold Coffee in Worcester, Mass., and then Woburn, Mass. Seven years ago, Goldman and his wife moved to Windham and were told by family and friends that they needed to open shop in the area.
The couple set their sights on the late-1800s farmhouse owned by The Common Man. They met with the property’s owner in the parking lot and brought along some of their home-made coffee, cocoa and juice. After the building’s owner took one taste of the couple’s juice, they were granted permission to use the space, Goldman said. Renovating the property took nine months and included adding a handicapped bathroom and a special water filtration system.
“You can’t buy water in a store that’s as good as what we get,” Goldman said. Goldman also installed an after burner that heats up to 2,000 degrees in order to burn the smoke from the roaster so that the process does not cause air pollution. “You get good smells but no pollution whatsoever,” Goldman said.
The café has three separate spaces, free wireless Internet and televisions so that customers can enjoy their favorite sporting events or programs. Outside, there is a granite patio with picnic tables.