Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tori’s Travels: It's Full Steam Ahead for Railway Coffee

By Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant 

Railway Coffee | Ruston, LA
I had the incredible opportunity to visit Railway Coffee and get a behind-the-scenes look at their coffee roasting process. As a coffee lover, I was beyond thrilled to see exactly how the beans are roasted and learn about all the little things that make each batch of coffee unique. It was hands down one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. However, what I really took away from my visit was a deep admiration for the owners of Railway Coffee and a whole new understanding of their passion and vision.

It’s no secret that here in Louisiana we love our coffee. Beyond being a much needed jump start in the morning, coffee has the ability to serve a social purpose. It’s the perfect drink to center a business meeting around, brew up after a family meal, and sip while catching up with an old friend. With such a significant social role, coffee proves to be more than just a caffeinated beverage, and its taste should reflect this quality.

coffee beans prior to being roasted 
Inspired by frequent experiences of drinking mediocre coffee in social settings, Michael and Jana Davis sought to find better-tasting coffee.  After doing some research on specialty coffees and home-roasting, they starting roasting coffee beans in their home during November 2014. With a void of specialty coffee roasters in this part of the country, Michael and Jana knew they wanted to bring locally-roasted coffee to the area. After months of trial and error, they perfected their roasting skills and Railway Coffee was officially born in January 2015.

In the beginning, the roasting process 
went fairly slow due to using a rather simple and small home roaster. However, things really began to pick up for Railway Coffee when they started using a larger drum roaster in May 2015. They’ve been full steam ahead ever since and seem to be gaining more and more attention every day.

Railway Coffee's dark roast 
So you may be wondering, what exactly is Railway Coffee and what do they do? Railway Coffee is a small-batch specialty coffee roaster located and operated in Ruston, La. Railway focuses on the actual roasting of raw coffee beans and distributes their coffee to local partners, who then sell it to customers. They source high quality coffee beans from around the world and roast them to perfection in order to provide only the best coffee to their customers. I’m personally a HUGE fan of their dark roast, Smokestack. It’s incredible and seriously wows you with every sip. 

With a focus on the local community, Railway Coffee has partnered with several local businesses in Ruston. You can find their coffee brewed and ready to drink at Social Bites of Ruston. You can also purchase it by the bag at Gibson’s Natural Grocer, Rosemary’s Kitchen and Railway Coffee’s website. Additionally, they have a booth at the Ruston Farmer’s Market during market seasons.

Railway Coffee's Smokestack dark roast
As you can see, Railway Coffee is quickly growing and increasing their reach in Louisiana. While they do have high hopes for the continued expansion of the business, they are committed to maintaining their local roots in Ruston, La.

“No matter how big we get, we are never going to neglect Ruston,” said owner Michael Davis.  “I grew up here, we started here, it’s a great community.”

They even incorporated their passion for Ruston into their company name and logo. If you’ve spent five minutes in Ruston, you know what a presence the railroad has here. By choosing the name Railway Coffee and incorporating a train into their logo, they’ve ensured that they maintain their ties to Ruston and its unique culture.

“However big we grow, we’ll always have Railway as our name and brand as a kind of homage to Ruston and our roots,” said Michael.

Just like a train, Railway Coffee is moving full steam ahead with big plans and visions for the future! They are continuing to make local partnerships and have plans to be a featured roaster for Stay Roasted. They also plan to carry a few more roasts in the near future, and recently released a decaf roast. Another exciting thing in the works for Railway Coffee is a downtown location that will hopefully be coming within the next year! They plan to sell their coffee as well as other items at their new coffee shop. 

Michael and Jana Davis
On a personal note, I’m not sure I’ve ever met more kind or genuine people. Michael and Jana are so warm and friendly, and they have two of the most precious little girls you’ve ever seen. When I visited the roastery, I spent about an hour with their family and left feeling like I had known them for years. Listening to Michael, who likes his coffee black, and Jana, who likes hers with a little cream, playfully bicker as they discussed their preferred brewing method was downright adorable. There’s no doubt that Michael and Jana’s endearing and outgoing personalities add to the charm of Railway Coffee. These two are truly an inspiration and their passion for Railway Coffee and the city and people of Ruston is incredibly heartwarming.

Big things are brewing in Ruston, La., so get on board the Railway Coffee train, you won’t regret it! Make sure you follow Railway Coffee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep reading Tori’s Travels for more spotlights on local attractions and businesses.  See y’all around town! 

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