In a region known for its grapes, Susan and Brian Friguliette, bravely decided to give us beans, coffee beans that is. Their love story blossomed into living their dream and their passion for coffee. We have been selling Keuka Lake Coffee for 13 years. Over this time it’s become our top coffee brand. Customers love that they are they a local roaster but, the diverse selection of roasts and flavors has kept Keuka Lake Coffee fans coming back for refills. We asked Susan and Brian to share how they got magic beans, added some love, and created a thriving company.
-How did your company begin?
Our Italian Espresso Blend was a coffee blend developed by Brian that really was "the seed" that started our business. This coffee is also referred to as the "Love Story Blend". The reason is this...when I met Brian in February 1, 2003, he was already in the coffee industry. He soon learned that I loved coffee and he began trying to impress me with a variety of coffees he was roasting just for me. When he delivered the Italian Espresso Blend, I realized that Brian had far too much talent and passion to be working for a big coffee company that did not appreciate his artisanal skills and set out to convince him that our destiny was not only to fall in love and start a life together, but to start a business together....the coffee business! We decided to make it a real adventure and quit our jobs in the Boston area after buying a small vacation place on Keuka Lake. The beauty of the Finger Lakes seemed the perfect back drop for the vision we had for our business. Our business grew each year as did our offerings. We started JAVA-GOURMET in 2005, the Seneca Salt Company in 2012, our Company Store in 2011 and in 2016 opened our Black Cat Bistro and an enlarged Company Store. This building is also where we produce all of our products and do all of the coffee roasting. The rest is history and our life together and our business together continues to grow and amaze us! The specially packaged release of the Love Story Blend every February (and always available at Parkleigh) is a reminder that we miss 100% of the shots we don't take. We encourage everyone to live the life they dream about. For us, the road less traveled has made all the difference.
-What is your favorite flavor of coffee and why?
Susan: My favorite coffee for 16 years and counting is the Kenyan AA. I'm a fan of coffees grown in rich volcanic soil, high elevations, and mild climate. Eastern Africa produces some of the finest coffees in the world. KENYAN AA is one of the most popular varieties and my fav! It is dark roasted and has an underlying earthiness, full body, very little bitterness, and a "wine-like" flavor. It's an excellent, all-around cup of coffee.
Brian: My favorite is an extraordinary fair trade / organic, premium coffee. 100% Arabica and shade grown in the tropical Sierra Madre mountain region, the Mexican Chiapas Onyx. When I first roasted this coffee, I didn't think of Mexico in my top places to source coffee. I do a lighter Italian roast which produces an intriguing, complex aroma with mocha undertones when cupped. It is a cup of coffee that never disappoints...full bodied, yet smooth and satisfying.
-How do you find inspiration when exploring new flavors? We are always looking for the best coffees and source primarily micro estates in all regions of the coffee growing world. If you're talking about our flavored coffees specifically, we are inspired not only by current food trends, such as our more recent coconut offerings. We are also inspired travel (such as the debut of our Celtic Cream after a trip to Ireland) and memories of smell and taste from our own experiences (such as the Swedish Summer Blend and Scandinavian Winter Blend which were inspired by the vivid memory I have of the aroma when opening a box of home baked cookies shipped by my grandmother from Corning, NY and being opened by a little girl in Chatsworth, California - me! :-)
-Why do you like selling at Parkleigh?
We love everything about Parkleigh! It's a great place to shop and so many unique items in every department! We think that the coffee and gourmet department, which is where we visit most often, is a perfect fit for what we do. It's a privilege to share that area with so many wonderful, local producers. Billy is "our hero"! He has an excellent knowledge of coffee and specialty foods, so working together is a complete joy. Billy also knows his customers and we love the feedback on how happy Parkleigh customers have been with what Billy brings in. We actually made our first delivery to Parkleigh in December of 2006...13 years of a great relationship!