"The Theater of the Roaster" - The Pumphrey and Beard Coffee Release Party
“I knew if I could have any dream job it would be roasting all day every day or sourcing coffee. I really love the culture of coffee, the history and education. Coffee is so complex and not giving its due credit by the masses but in a depression would be one of the fist things very missed.”
Let’s just get this out of the way.
I don’t drink coffee.
When I find myself in an area where baristas ply their trade, my choice is between hot chocolate or white hot chocolate during the holidays.
After talking to Amanda Pumphrey, a woman who is not just a warm beverage entrepreneur but also a devoted warm beverage connoisseur, I feel as if there is an empty hole in my soul that can only be filled by coffee beans brewed with the zeal and passion of a young Michael Jackson singing his heart out while Quincy Jones composes the soundtrack to said heartbeat.
I need some Thriller coffee.
While there will not be dancing zombies and iconic red leather jackets donned by pop royalty, Pumphrey promises good times and great coffee at the Pumphrey and Beard Coffee Release Party this Sunday.
Starting at 4 PM, the event is being hosted by Little Harpeth Brewing, which is perfect because “they have always been amazingly supportive of this venture.” Amanda met Kwas, one of the Little Harpeth owners, when she worked at Whole Foods. “I was looking for a part time Christmas gig for presents. He was looking for a bartender a couple nights a week and it was a pretty good fit. They have been so awesome about encouraging me to do this, introducing me ultimately to my business partner Will.”
Who is Will?
Will is “an ex-marine that worked at consulates all over the world. He is originally from Michigan but his family relocated to TN. Will currently is in Belmont for business and plans to graduate next fall.”
Amanda met Will, her partner in brew at Little Harpeth Brewing, and after years of hearing her talk about starting her own business he finally asked to join her in a partnership. She said yes, and the rest will be history once Nashville’s first Mobile Coffee Shop gets up and started this Sunday.
Amanda does not remember the first cup of coffee she ever had. Mine was at an old steakhouse named Quincy’s, and it was not very inspiring, to say the least. However, she does remember the sip that caused her life to flip…
“I do remember the first time I had great coffee. We had just -”
Wait, Mobile Coffee Shop?!
Anyway, “We had just gotten a Ethiopian single origin in. I remember - ”
You’re kidding right?
No, let her finish what she’s saying, “I remember opening the green beans and roasting it. I put it in the bin and - ”
Mobile. Coffee. Shop.
That’s it, you understand the concept. Then, “I put it in the bin and didn’t think anything of it. Then when I came in to do - ”
That’s an awesome idea, why hasn’t it been done before?
We’re getting back to the mobile aspect of things soon, Amanda is trying to tell me about her first great cup of coffee, italicized distracted thoughts of mine. This is where she decided to chase her dreams and stay “grounded”, get it?
Ugh, coffee jokes.
Well, you do get it then. Can she finish her story, or will you distract me all day and this will never get done?
Okay, finish your article, then we can grab some SONIC and watch Netflix on your phone.
Sounds good, will do. Anyway “Then when I came in to do and organic cleaning of the bins I opened that bin and it was so fruit forward. I was so surprised and then - ”
Fruit forward, what’s that?
Sorry, I’ll look it up on your phone at SONIC.
Thank you. To finally conclude this story, “I was so surprised and then made myself a French press. Which happens to my favorite way to enjoy coffee. It was awesome and I wanted to try everything. So down the rabbit hole I went.”
Who is Amanda?
Before she met her husband, Amanda Pumphrey was a single mom from “kind of all over, Maryland, Virginia, Florida. Just depended on where my dad wanted to live.” Perhaps it was this mobile lifestyle that inspired her to create a business that runs on four tires, an engine and steady supply of overpriced gasoline.
A survivor of domestic violence, Pumphrey studied audio production and interior design, but the latter fell by the wayside due to the occurrence of the former. It wasn’t until she was hired to work at Whole Foods that her life started turning around. She eventually got married, had two more kids, and stumbled “ass backwards” into her true passion in life:
Working in Whole Foods’ specialty department, she was soon immersed in the culture of brewed bean juices. She ran the coffee bar, purchased the coffee, and roasted all brands of yes, you guessed it, coffee. Cuban coffee, in particular, is one of her caffeinated passions that she will be pleased to offer at the Pumphrey and Beard truck.
“I often go places and ask for a café con leche or cortidito and have to explain how to make it. For some reason its not huge in Nashville,” Amanda states, further emphasizing that “I’m also excited for the Cajun cutie. As for cold brew we will be doing some many different things. A lot of naturally infused cold brews that are nitrogen infused. I know Nashville has a cold brew sense but I don’t think its reached its full potential in creativeness like in other cities.”
This isn’t going to be a Maxwell House stand, people, Amanda clearly knows her stuff.
So why go mobile?
When it comes to “brick and mortar” stores as she calls them, “I found that the overhead of rent, labor, and coast isn’t what we as a business were going after, when you decide to open a coffee shop or any type of retail shop the cost just to set up is overwhelming.”
“If you don’t own the building or have and ideal spot you’re lucky to be there for 5 years and, Amanda laments, "the profit margin shrinks significantly once you factor in the overhead costs.”
Another point Pumphrey brings up is that stores committed to a particular area of Nashville have a hard time following the up and coming real estate trends in the Music City. Let’s face it, this city is growing, expanding and changing by the day. This year’s abandoned warehouse is next year’s trendy shopping area.
Having a Mobile Coffee Shop gives Amanda the luxury to chase the crowd, to always be in the action, so to speak. Why commit to Donelson, East Nashville, or West End, when you can be in all three and every trendy new neighborhood in between?
Food trucks create a new stage, a sidewalk play, if you will, where consumers get an up close and personal look at the magic of creating culinary delights that please the palate while exciting the eye as well. Amanda calls it “The Theater of the Roaster,” commenting that “the smell and seeing what makes that magical bean appear hopefully makes people more connected to drinking it.”
Pumphrey and Beard are adding their names in as the latest crew of chef by street magician, all while being able to offer fantastic quality in each cup without the “snarky” price tag.
One thing Amanda is snarky about, however, seems to be the flavor of red velvet. When asked if the December favorite will be added to the menu, she replied “I think that’s a hard pass, though on a side note my husband says that sounds wonderful.” However, “we will be doing specialty drinks of the week. Like a dark chocolate, maple latte salted, etc.”
Hey, it’s me again, are you finished yet?
No, go away you petty distraction, what do you want?
All this talk about beverages is making me thirsty. It’s also really hot in this library.
I know, but were not finished yet. I’m about to tell them all the big plans she’s got for her business.
Girl’s got ambitions.
Yes, she does, and it’s up to you and me to share them with the world.
Okay, that might be true, but why is the business called Pumphrey and Beard?
I don’t follow.
What does a beard have to do with fresh hipster coffee? Wouldn’t beard hairs getting in said coffee actually be a bad thing?
Well, you actually have a good question distraction, if not a great way to phrase it. Thank you.
Anytime, and I’m ready to play Goblin Sword whenever you’re ready…
So what is it with Amanda and beards?
Don’t get her started on the subject if you have somewhere to be.
“Well I personally have a weird love affair with beards.”
Here we go.
“Like say if my husband was to shave his beard, that would indicate to me that he wanted a divorce.”
“So when I was thinking about what I wanted to name my would be business I thought of all the things I love. It does just so happen that my business partner has a baby beard as I call it.”
You don’t say.
“He also wasn’t crazy about the name at first but soon came to his senses.”
Right, HE came to HIS senses. Go on…
“That being said beards are wonderful. I tend to just be drawn to them.”
“So fun story, once I met some super old crunchy dudes that had epic beards and I just couldn’t help myself. They’re like unicorns to me.”
I didn’t ask her to go any further.
“Now that you’re weirded out lets get back to coffee.”
So what makes Pumphrey and Beard different from everyone else, besides being the only coffee shop in the Vegas of the South that will need a regular oil change?
“Our prices, our quality, customer service and mission.”
“We aren’t a corporation, we aren’t publicly traded so we are able to shape our future. We want our customers to have a great experience, learn more about there coffee and where it comes from. I’m very passionate about teaching people about everything form the origins of coffee, roasting, how to get the most enjoyment out of what you are drinking based on grind and origin. I think when people understand what they are consuming it leads to better choices and a more meaningful experience that is lasting.”
Well, isn’t that just a pretty statement?
It’s the kind of statement that belongs in those cheesy press packets, isn’t it?
When I asked Amanda to go further in detail, she did not disappoint.
“Pumphrey and Beard is only going to source from small farmers,” stated the businesswoman, “People that produce small amounts of coffee a year and cant really participate in the world market.”
But that’s not all, “once we are established and can give back we will give a certain percentage back to the farmers we source from. Say we buy 700 pounds of coffee we would be looking to give back 5% or total sales to that farmer to improve something they have a need for. Maybe it’s living quarters or planting another crop to better their farm or going after their USDA certification.”
“This girl is also a domestic violence survivor and Will is a veteran so we plan to use our platform for causes like that as well,” Pumphrey states, pausing a moment to reflect before mentioning that she wants to help out her fellow female business owners “when the time comes.”
The facial hair aficionado wants her beverages to be as friendly and compassionate as her business practices, adding that “one of my goals is to crate products that are preservative free. So we will be doing drinks that use ingredients that meet those standards.”
Most importantly, the Pumphrey and Beard Mobile Coffee Shop is fully equipped to take care of the taste buds belonging to the individuals who live the vegan or gluten free lifestyle, as “our syrups and frappucino mixes are gluten free and vegan approved,” while adding that “Pumphrey and Beard will offer soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk as well as dairy -”
“For us regular luddites,” I interjected. She said nothing, though I caught a her eyes twinkle for a second.
But what about the environment?
Italicized distraction, is that you AGAIN?
Yeah, it’s me, but you didn’t answer my question: what about the environment?
Stop distracting me, I’m trying to get work done here!
You’re just like everyone else, treating the environment as a pointless distraction to be forgotten, while Mother Gaea cries out to be saved, you listen to your electric Jodeci records while riding in chocolate coated Hummers and dipping radioactive chicken tenders in pollution sauce!
Well, that’s not exactly how it goes but you caught me, I don’t think about the environment.
Pumphrey and Beard do, though.
Although “the only good thing we are doing to reduce our carbon footprint is have a smaller store so to speak,” they are planning to switch over to “eco friendly straws” and eventually give discounts to people who bring their own cups to the truck for coffee.
“It’s got me thinking about if we ever franchise what I could improve on as a business model,” Amanda muses, thinking about the future in more ways than one while she ponders where to go next.
As for what is next, right now the focus is on the Pumphrey and Beard Coffee Release Party.
You can click here to visit the official Facebook event page, or here to visit the official Pumphrey and Beard website.
To reiterate, the Release Party is this Sunday, and it is located at Little Harpeth Brewing, located at 30 Oldham St, Nashville TN, 37213.
Starting at 4pm, there will be games and activities for the kids, as it is an ALL AGES event, including fresh tasty jams from DJ Ben Spinks and Fake Four Inc Records recording artist Spoken Nerd.
Nashville’s first coffee shop that rolls while it roasts will be onsite, brewing up its brand of liquid voodoo, as well as handing out free coffee samples. There will also be plenty of beer from Little Harper Brewing on hand, and Chubby Dragon will be selling food at the event.
So come on down this Sunday to check out some free coffee, bring the kids, enjoy the atmosphere, buy a T-shirt and support a local business that cares about the people around them and the world we live in.
That was beautiful, can we go get something to drink?
Yes, italicized distraction, we can go get something to drink.
Sweet. Hope to see you there, Nashville!
Written by Charles Bridgers IV on 10/24/2018 for Live Laugh Love Nashville