Ironton, Missouri, may not seem like the place to find small-batch, locally roasted, single-origin coffee. But that's exactly what the team at Arcadia Valley Roasting Co. is serving.
Owned by a few families – almost all of whom work in education – the roaster and coffee shop opened two years ago in Ironton. Arcadia Valley works with a single farm in Nicaragua to source its coffee beans, which are roasted by co-owner Wade Buckman.
"My primary role is as roaster, so having a high-quality bean makes my job a little easier in terms of trying to bring out what should come from the coffee," he says. To that end, beans are roasted in six-kilogram batches, allowing for total quality control and consistency. It's been a challenge, Buckman says, to show customers why they should pay a little more for Arcadia's beans or cup of coffee.
"It's been a lot of fun to get converts along the way in our own community," he says. "Being where we are, in a rural community, [we] try to make specialty coffee accessible and not seem so foreign."
To that end, Arcadia plans to offer some casual, Saturday morning sessions that Buckman hesitates to call classes, which would showcase different brewing methods like pourovers, which would then be available in the café. Currently, Arcadia Valley offers drip coffee, cold brew and espresso-based drinks like lattes; this summer, it also served a variety of frappes. There are also a selection of bakery items as well as goodies from St. Louis' Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate.
Arcadia Valley has two roasts: the signature medium-dark roast, Nicaragua Manuel Miraflor, as well as a light roast. A portion of the proceeds from the light roast, called Morning Hope, go to a vocational program in Farmington, Missouri, that works with people on the autism spectrum to gain work experience.
"To see how far our coffee has reached, it's something we've all loved. Most of us are in education to some degree, but this is definitely something that's allowed us to take something we love and create an environment where the community can enjoy a good cup of coffee," Buckman says.
The team hopes to make a connection with a farm in Africa in the future, but it's admittedly slow going, since they all have day jobs; Buckman himself works in special education.
"We really love coffee, and all of the things that come with that – community and the different conversations that happen over a cup of coffee," he says. "[Arcadia Valley] gives us an opportunity to take what we love and share it with those around us."
Arcadia Valley Roasting Co., 135 S. Main, Ironton, Missouri, 573.944.3626, arcadiavalleyroastingcompany.com