Mississippi is well known for it's culinary flavor and flare, but what typically comes to mind is tamales, fried catfish and a host of other cajun delights. Paul Bonds of Beanfruit Coffee Co. is putting Mississippi on the map in a whole new way and with a whole lot of heart and flavor. We're big fans of his brand, his mission and most of all his delicious products. Brew a cup of coffee, pull up a seat and read on for our recent interview with him...
Q&A WITH PAUL BONDS
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Tell us a little bit about yourself…
My name is Paul Bonds, I am the owner & roaster of Beanfruit Coffee Co in Pearl, Mississippi. We are a specialty coffee roaster & retailer with a focus on seasonal high quality coffees. I've been married to my best friend & wife Anita for over 8 years and we have one beautiful daughter Kennedy.
How did you get started with coffee roasting?
About a year prior to starting the business, I didn't even drink coffee. I had only tried the stuff from supermarkets and thought it was disgusting.( As a side note: I still feel the same way about that coffee). I had a chance to check out a variety of coffees during a cupping & tasted how great coffee could potentially be. After buying quality coffee from all over the country, I began roasting at home to fuel the passion I was developing for coffee.
Where does the name BeanFruit come from?
I really wish I had a cool story to back up the name of our company. Most people know of coffee as beans, but actually those beans are seeds of a fruit. The quality of fruit determines the quality of the coffee. I was trying to come up with a name and just said the name "beanfruit." I told my wife about she liked it too. So the name just stuck.
Where in Mississippi are you based?
Our roasting operation is located in Pearl, Mississippi. We currently do not have a café, but our coffee is served in Sneaky Beans in Fondren and service a number of restaurants in the Jackson Metro area including Parlor Market, Brent's Drugs, Babalu & The Manship. We also service Church Alley Coffee in New Orleans.
How does Mississippi play a role in your business?
Mississippi is definitely a challenge for us. Our specialty coffee scene is basically non-existent, so there is a lot of teaching involved.
What are your goals for business and your brand?
Our goal is to expand our roasting operation and eventually open a café in the Jackson Metro. We've got some cool things in concept right now and I can't wait to see them executed.
What do you like to do when you aren't creating delicious coffee?
I work a lot of hours with the business. Usually when I'm not roasting coffee, I'm learning more about my craft or how to improve my business. I also enjoy spending time with my family.
What are your favorite local places to visit/shop/dine?
I love good food. My wife and I enjoy eating at the local spots like Babalu, Parlor Market and Manship in Belhaven. We also enjoy some of the local ethnic restaurants like Spice Avenue & Saigon.
What are some of the reasons you call Mississippi home?
I love the potential that this Mississippi has. In regards to culinary growth, our state has come so far but it's also got so far to go. I'm really excited to be a part of that. I love the big city experience, but most large cities are too expensive to live in comfortably. I also love the idea of not having to go a long distance to enjoy nature's beauty.
How do you think what you are doing is helping to shape your local community as well as the image of Mississippi?
I think BeanFruit Coffee Co. is another example of quality product coming from Mississippi. This year we were selected with 15 other roasters from across the nation as a Good Food Awards winner. There were over 160 entries & we were selected among some the biggest and best coffee roasters from coast to coast. We were the 1st from Mississippi to win in any category and I hope its only the beginning.