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TJ’s Roaster – Expanding Production Space for a Specialty Roasting Company

If you’re a coffee drinker, you know a great cup of coffee when you taste it.

Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to where our morning cup of java comes from, just so long as it delivers a jolt to get us moving. But great-tasting coffee is an art, and there are many variables that affect the taste. Everything – from the climate it’s grown in, to the method used to roast it, to the water used to brew it – affects the flavor.

Small-batch artisanal coffee is a genuine treat, and you don’t have to live in a big city to experience it. Located on Evansville’s far West Side, TJ’s Roaster allows coffee aficionados to experience the art and flavor of freshly roasted small-batch coffee.

The T and J of TJ’s Roaster are Terry and Jody Van Bibber, and they take their coffee roasting business very seriously.

“A great cup of coffee starts with the beans,” says Terry Van Bibber. “But it’s the way those beans are roasted, and the way they’re packaged and the way they’re brewed that makes all the difference in how that cup of coffee tastes. Store-bought coffee rarely tastes as good as fresh-roasted.”

In 2007, while searching for a “second act” to allow them to remain productive through their retirement years, the Van Bibbers settled upon roasting fresh coffee beans as a specialty roaster. Specialty roasters typically roast coffee beans in small batches – the Van Bibbers roast batches anywhere from five to thirteen pounds at a time. A typical week can find them producing well over two hundred pounds of fresh, custom-roasted coffee, which finds its way into local restaurants, markets, and homes around the Tri-State area.

Terry Van Bibber takes pride in the quality of TJ’s coffee. “Roasting small batches helps us to control the quality of the finished product. We test the beans throughout the process to assure the finished batch is up to our standards.”

TJ-Commercial-Renovation-Buildout-1

The original storage building is on the left

TJ’s Roaster began, as many businesses do, at home. In a storage building remodeled to meet local health code standards, the Van Bibbers installed a Diedrich coffee roasting machine, turning the 12 x 16-foot storage space into a roasting facility. In the six years that have passed since that time, TJ’s business has grown, creating a need for more space for their business.

When it became obvious that their facility was outgrowing its footprint, the Van Bibbers faced a decision:  move their facility to a larger space, or add on to what they already had. Because they most wanted to remain an independent, home-based business, the decision was easy. They contacted Popham Construction to help them ease into a new, larger space.

Popham extended the existing detached garage on the Van Bibber’s property, expanding the space by 24 x 30 feet. This allowed TJ’s to move their primary roasting operation into the space and gave them additional room to add equipment. The new space also serves as storage for coffee beans.

The expansion under construction

The expansion under construction

“Popham understood the challenges we faced with this expansion,” says Terry Van Bibber. “The space had to meet health code regulations, just like our original building did. Popham listened to our needs and the requirements we had to meet, and constructed our addition based on those standards. We’ve been pleased with the results.”

Once the main roasting facility is moved into the new, larger space, the original building will be used for further expansion of TJ’s product line. Van Bibber will be using the original building to create flavored coffees, something that could not have been done prior to Popham’s addition. “Flavoring and the green coffee storage need to be kept in a different room altogether, away from the roaster and packaging,” says Van Bibber. “That way the green coffee is not contaminated by the flavorings.”

Popham’s partnership with TJ’s Roaster is an example of how a personal touch within a commercial construction company can help a growing home-based business. Meeting the business owner’s requirements as well as having to work within the constraints of health department codes can present challenges, and Popham was able to provide a finished project that met all criteria.

The finished product

The finished product

To see some more pictures of this project, please visit our project page on Houzz.com. We have over a dozen photos in our project gallery.

For more information about TJ’s Roaster, please visit https://www.tjsroaster.com/.

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Popham Company, Inc., General Contractor, Evansville, IN
4414 Covert Avenue | Evansville, IN

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