Peter Cohen spent more than 14 years in the commercial banking business. Then, last November, he traded in his corporate suit for torn jeans and concert T-shirts and started following his passion for coffee. He launched Stringbean Coffee Co., named by his sister and inspired by his two loves: guitar strings and coffee beans.

"I started roasting coffee last year for myself, out of frustration for the bold/bitter combination I found on every street corner," Cohen says, adding that he never intended to make a business out of his love of good java.

Once he started sharing the results of his roasting endeavors with others and getting positive feedback, though, he started getting a bit more serious. "I got a bigger roaster and started going to farmers markets and doing live roasts," he says, and then finally decided to take the plunge and roast coffee for a living.

Cohen takes pride in being an independent, local business, and he aims to keep his operation simple and uncomplicated. His current roaster is manually operated and uses no computer assistance, and he handles all aspects of the business himself, from roasting to bagging to delivering the coffee. Cohen says he was able to speak with Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's fame while he was developing the idea for Stringbeans and likens the "anti-corporate, hippy approach" of Stringbean to what that duo did 30-plus years ago with their ice cream.

Cohen currently has four roasts available:

  • Pete's Redeye Roast, a bold espresso blend
  • Midnight Run, a medium bold roast
  • Good Vibes, a light medium roast
  • Decaf

He uses the Swiss Water process to create his decaf blend, which uses water instead of chemicals to remove the caffeine.

"I personally think that the decaf market, while it's the smallest, will also be the most loyal because those coffee drinkers don't have a lot of choices," Cohen says.

Stringbean coffee is currently available at:

  • Sappington Farmers' Market, 8400 Watson Road
  • Maude's Market, 4219 Virginia Ave.
  • Joel's Shell Food Mart, 1815 Arsenal St.
  • Holland Cafe and Meats, 40 New Sugar Creek Road, Fenton
  • Mannino's Market, 5205 Highway N, Cottleville

Not bad, considering the packaging and labels were only completed three weeks ago.

Stringbean Coffee Co., stringbeans.net