On a Thursday morning, I swung by Black Powder Coffee to chat with owners Dave and Melissa Stahlman. I absolutely love how they are educating the Charlotte and Lake Norman area one cup of craft coffee at a time. They are such a delight and their coffee is delicious.
Dave asked me what kind of coffee I usually drink, to which I responded, “dark and bold”. He proceeded to brew me a cup of Kenya coffee via French press. Wow was this awesome. As it cooled, I got a hint of grapefruit which totally blew my mind.
One of their goals is to educate people about the different types of coffee out there, and get them to appreciate each and every blend to the point where you don’t want to add cream and sugar to your cup. I fully support this.
This dynamic duo’s story started in their living room. Dave used to travel frequently for work and had gotten spoiled by good coffee while on the road. He would come home and miss that. They could never find the quality coffee they wanted to here at home. So one day they were sitting on their couch, searching on the computer, when a light bulb went off. What if they could roast their own coffee?
They found a little roaster, and from there started roasting in their garage. They gave it out to their friends and family to test out. Family and friends told them that they really had something there. As they were learning to roast, they learned about the different types of beans and how they had different characteristics, just like wine and grapes. As they were learning how each type of bean had a different profile and taste, they thought, “Hey, what if we started teaching the public about this?”
So after a job change from corporate America, they decided to upgrade from the small roaster to their current facility last April. They really wanted to bring to north Charlotte true coffee, a true variety. Twenty one different, single origin coffees, seven different blends, a little bit of flavored coffee to cater to some coffee shops and a couple of specialty lines, which they call reserve lines, which are really the higher end of the market.
“We would love to teach people about the differences between the types of coffee trees, where they’re grown, how their processed. From when the cherries are picked, how do they turn them into a green been before the roaster even gets them and uses his art to create a profile to bring out those flavors,” he said. “That’s really the arts and crafts side of craft coffee that you won’t get with mass production.”
The business model is based on three products: packaged beans for coffee shops and wholesale, K-cups that will hit the market in December, and cold brew. The cold brew is in 85 Lowes Foods stores at the moment.
Black Powder wants their beans to be from the current season’s harvest – and call it “farm to cup.” They have a different type of bean about every month.
“That’s our long term vision, employ people locally, bring in prime coffee, teach and help people understand what the cultures of Southern California, even Raleigh and Greensboro and bringing that to Charlotte.”
And about that name: It’s a reference to when gold was discovered in north Charlotte in the 1800s. “Things were a little hard back then, hard life, but very rewarding. You reaped what you sowed.” Then, of course, it’s also a nod to what you get when you grind coffee beans.
Where to find their coffee:
- Retail: Earthfare (4 area stores: Ballantyne, Southpark, Huntersville, Rock Hill), Lowe’s food stores (Mooresville, Hickory, Gastonia, Harrisburg), Made in Mooresville
- Coffee Shops: Madelyn’s Coffee Shop, HEbrews coffee, Marie & Twannettes, Twin City Hive (their nitro brew is available there!), Front Porch Creamery and Coffee House, Mean Mugs
- Restaurants: Millstone Bakehouse & Provisions
Connect with Dave and Melissa at Black Powder Coffee
Owners: Dave and Melissa Stahlman
Location: 256 Raceway Drive, Mooresville, NC
Hours: Mon-Thurs: Appointments recommended; Friday: Noon – 7 p.m.; Saturday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Who They Are: Small batch coffee roaster based out of Mooresville, NC