Boca Raton resident Brandon Wells has a favorite saying: "drink deeply."
It's a fitting philosophy for the man who stands as the owner and founder of one of Palm Beach County's specialty coffee roasting companies. For Wells, "drink deeply" isn't a slogan, however. It's simply a way of life.
"'Drink deeply' means to slow down, and experience the moment," said Wells. "It's what I believe a good cup of coffee can do for us in this hectic world."
Wells created his eponymous Wells Coffee Company late this year, a small batch coffee roasting company based in Boca Raton. Roasting takes place at newly-opened coffee shop and juice bar, The Seed, a partnership that provides a space for Wells to do weekly roasts, including a line of specially-blended coffee available the shop's "slow" bar.
From the beginning, Wells' goal has been to create a local coffee experience and product. He currently distributes his hand-crafted coffees to local cafes and restaurants in the South Florida area, and would like to increase production to offer his brand nationally.
Like many small-batch crafters, Wells began coffee roasting as a hobby, a love affair that started at 18 when his grandmother brewed him his first cup. The experience, he says, was one that he'll never forget.
"When she served it to me there was a sort of ceremony to it -- everything from the mug she used, to the type of coffee, and the way she brewed it," said Wells. "For me, coffee is more about the connection. It's not just what's in the cup, but what happens around the cup. This project was born out of my passion for specialty coffee, and a longing to see people more engaged with one another. For too long, there has been a lack of this type of culture in South Florida."
Wells began roasting five years ago with a hot air pop corn popper and a bag of green coffee beans gifted to him by a friend. He later scored additional units from local thrift stores, always roasting small amounts at a time. One holiday season, he offered his fresh-roasted beans to friends as family as gifts, each bag stamped with a logo his sister-in-law created. The positive response -- and requests for more coffee -- prompted him to consider roasting full-time.
The support prompted Wells -- who leads a music program at a local church by day -- to create a crowd funding project. Last month, he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended November 11. With 178 backers, he was able to raise $18,000 -- a few thousand over his initial goal. The funds will be used to help launch an online retail shop, and help move production to the next level.
Today, Wells takes great care in sourcing top quality specialty coffee from around the world, and profiles each single origin bean to maximize its flavor potential. From there, he also crafts specialty blends, delivering a unique batch each time using a 6-pound San Franciscan Roaster.
Overall, Wells' mission is to create a sustainable business -- a sort of seed to cup mantra -- where no one part or individual is greater than the whole. For him, that means building relationships directly with farms to source beans that are grown with social, economic, and agricultural responsibility.
"I hope that with coffee and community we can awaken people to beauty, to goodness, and to truth," said Wells. "The things that really matter, the things that are truly meaningful."
The Seed is located at 199 W. Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton. Visit wellscoffees.com.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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