When Gabby Loubiere Higgins opened local cafe Brew Ha-Ha in 2004, she had one ultimate goal: to roast her own coffee one day. The idea of handing a customer a bag of Brew Ha-Ha coffee or a latte brewed from her own roasted beans made her face light up. It was something the coffee enthusiast always dreamt of.
That dream came true this August, when Higgins roasted her first successful batch on a whim at the shop.
Before this year, Brew Ha-Ha solely sold coffee from Louisiana brand Community Coffee. Now, customers can still order their favorite Community Coffee drinks, or they can opt to order drinks made with the cafe’s exclusive brand, Brew Ha-Ha Roast & Co. Higgins works with Two Birds Coffee, a Guatemalan coffee farm in Zunilito, Suchitepequez, to source single-origin beans.
“It feels surreal to roast my own coffee,” Higgins says. “My kids are like, ‘Finally, mom. You’ve been talking about this since we were born.’ So it’s just crazy. I don’t know when it will really hit me.”
Before the Brew Ha-Ha team could begin roasting and packaging coffee, there were a lot of moving parts. After building a relationship with Two Birds Coffee, they purchased a clean-air roaster and created a roasting room in the cafe, which expanded its Goodwood Shopping Center footprint in 2017. Local artist Arlie Opal designed a hand-drawn label featuring signature Brew Ha-Ha items like its to-go cup and cake balls.
Each bag is marked with the date it was roasted and a three-digit number signifying the external bean temperature at which it was roasted. Numbers 430 to 437 are light roast, 438 to 448 are medium roast, and 449 to 470 are dark roast. By taking note of the numbers they’ve tried, customers can find their favorite roast styles.
At the shop, locals can purchase the coffee by the bag or order it in iced, hot or specialty coffee drinks. The cafe also sells coffee on Etsy to customers everywhere from New York to Ireland.
“My new favorite thing has been getting to go to the post office to ship coffee to out-of-town customers,” Higgins says. “It makes me so happy knowing people want to start their day with our coffee.”
Now with a few months of roasting experience under her belt, Higgins plans to explore single-origin coffee beans from other countries, offer French press options for dine-in customers and eventually sell her coffee in local grocery stores.
“When I first opened the coffee shop, the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to roast my own coffee,” Higgins says. “Now that it’s happening, it feels like a full circle moment.” brewhahabr.com
This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.