After grabbing a bite to eat over at South Street Under, we noticed LoCo Beans was open for roasting and stopped by to check things out. Manning the roaster, was co-owner and founder Paul Modolo. Paul warmly greeted us and invited us around back and into the silo for a talk through the coffee roasting process.
We had arrived at a great time during the roasting process, it was nearing the end, and the aroma was wafting through the air. As the beans continued to get gently kissed with the heat of the roaster, according to the roasting profile implemented by the two engineers, they gradually began to turn to that beautiful dark color that roasted coffee possesses, and the skin of the beans began to become nice and smooth.
As Paul lets you know, this smooth texture is exactly what they are looking for as the beans roast. Soon the beans began to crackle pop, almost like popcorn but accompanied by a slight crackling sound. This was a sign that they were nearing the end. A few minutes later as the temperature of the roaster climbed to it's final temperature and just before the beans would have begun a second popping cycle, the beans took on their final dark shade, and Paul dumped them into the cooling tray. The roaster quickly sucks the air out from under the roasted beans to cool them so they don't continue cooking beyond the optimum point.
Preferring darker roasts, we picked up a bag each of their Sumatran and +3dB Blend roasts. The irresistible smell of the +3dB Blend compelled us to taste it, and it lived up to its aromatic promises. While we fixed it as a strongly brewed, richly black coffee, it smells and tastes as if it was born to be a smooth espresso topped with that rich espresso crema or even turned into a fine latte or cappuccino by any home or professional barista. In fact, it made me dearly miss my espresso machine, which broke a while back and hasn't quite been properly replaced yet.
If you're ever at Market Station in Leesburg and you see open windows on the red silo where LoCo Beans is housed be sure to stop by, especially if you've never seen coffee roasted before. It's a real treat to get to see the roasting process, and the experience of making your own cup of freshly roasted coffee once you get home can't be matched.
Their hours aren't set, but they try their best to be there Wednesday nights and during the middle of each day on the weekends.