Behind the Scenes: Coffeehouse Five

Posted by: Shelby Morse on September 12, 2023

Coffeehouse Five is more than just a favorite spot for a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich. This local business has a commitment to community and quality. They are a for-benefit organization, meaning they use their profits to benefit the community by providing free mental health services. They also have a dedication to providing the freshest coffee, and to attain that standard of excellence, they brought their roasting process in-house. We talked with owner Brian Peters to learn more.

Q: What is the story of Coffeehouse Five?

A: We got started with Coffeehouse Five about 10 years ago. Our intention was focused on providing mental health needs and we wanted to have mental health services for the community without charging for it, so we had this crazy idea of running a coffee shop to help generate the revenue for that. We started the coffee shop in Greenwood and expanded to Franklin and later to Bargersville. These three coffee shops provide the revenue to provide mental health services.

Q: You roast your own beans here. Tell us how you got started doing that.

A: One of the things that we did to focus on the quality of our product was to begin roasting our own beans. We did that in 2017. Prior to that, we had been buying from a roaster in Madison, Wisconsin. We loved their products but the problem was that by the time we ordered the beans, they roasted the beans for us, and they shipped them to us, they were almost two weeks old. With coffee, one of the primary factors that affects the flavor of the beans is its freshness. It is best the day after it is roasted and every day after that the flavor begins to fall off, so you want that coffee as fresh as possible. We wanted to take that process in-house and start roasting our own beans.

Q: What is different about your process?

A: We do our roasting a little differently from other roasters. Most roasters use gas drums where there’s a gas source under this huge steel drum and it rotates and heats up, and that heats the beans. We do what’s called a fluid bed roasting process. It essentially is like a huge popcorn popper. It pushes hot air up and the beans just kind of dance in that hot air and as they get heated, they expand. The chaff blows off and this is one of the key things in fluid bed roasting. As that bean expands and that chaff comes off, it gets sucked off. What happens in traditional roasters is the chaff burns up in the process. That affects the flavor of bean, so we get what we feel is a truer flavor. The other thing is with the gas drum roasters there are some gas fumes that just become a part of the process and kind of get sucked up with those beans, so we feel like this is a healthier process as well. We also roast in a short period of time. The longer you go the more likely you are to have a bitter coffee so if we can keep that roast shorter, we can avoid bitterness. We are the only commercial air bed roaster in the state of Indiana and we feel like our product demonstrates that this is the way to do roasting.

Q: Is there anything else we should know about Coffeehouse Five?

A: In addition to just serving in-house, we also have a coffee subscription service, so we have several folks who don’t live in the area but love our coffee and they subscribe through our website to have it delivered to them. We also have begun a wholesale roasting program where we provide beans to other businesses, or other coffee shops if they want to serve Coffeehouse Five beans there.