Local Photographer Starts Coffee Roasting Business

CHARLEVOIX — Better known locally for his photography of landscapes and wild animals, David Sargent of Charlevoix has recently started to create a new hobby and a side activity.

Sargent began selling specialty roast bean coffee after spending time perfecting its roasting methods with a selection of different beans.

“Last year my wife Lisa bought me this bag of specialty coffee from an East Coast roaster,” Sargent said.

“I wasn’t really interested in the quality of the coffee, but this blew my mind. At the time, we only had regular brands from the grocery store, but what she got was so good that we kept buying it and started branching out and trying other specialty coffees,” he said.

However, trying specialty roasts led the Sargents to get their own roaster for David to try for himself.

For Sargent’s birthday last year, he received his first roaster from Lisa and roasted over 100 pounds of beans before switching to the current roaster he uses today.

“I have four main roasts now but, when it came to deciding what to try next, I would buy a few pounds of this and a few pounds of that here and there until I found something really good,” he said. .

“I finally found the four I have now which all offer something unique, but I always keep one more on hand as I learn, try and still test different coffee beans. .”

Sargent worked every day in hopes of perfecting his roasts and, after a few months of trial and error, began sharing his coffee with neighbors and friends.

People gave him feedback and shared their likes and dislikes to continue the quest for the perfect roast for the perfect cup of coffee.

One of David Sargent's bags of roasted coffee beans.

“It takes a lot of trial and error to find the perfect roasts, and from a business perspective I have to think about what my customers might want,” Sargent says.

Sargent now sells its coffee under the Michigan Cottage Food Law, allowing a person to prepare food in their home or kitchen for sale directly to a consumer.

He can sell his various roasts in eight-ounce bags but, by law, is limited to face-to-face sales only.

“If you’re around I can drop off the coffee for you or I can drop it off as well,” Sargent said.

Sargent hopes that in the next five years or so his fledgling business will allow him to open a commercial space as a coffee roaster or cafe where people can walk in and buy coffee.

However, until then, people can buy directly from Sargent and can both order coffee and learn more about its roasting process on its David Sargent Coffee Facebook and Instagram pages.

Sargent also invites people to message him if they have any questions about roasting or specialty coffee in general.

“I’m always open to a good conversation, but I really want to get quality coffee into the hands of people who want it,” he said.

Contact reporter Sean Miller at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter, @seanmillerpnrand Instagram, @sean_everest.