When you talk to entrepreneurs in the Mid-Ohio Valley, you tend to find that unlike Silicon Valley slick types, these people are pretty down-to-earth and even are pretty darned humble. That’s why I wasn’t ALL that surprised when Tonya Winebrenner, who is the mother of adorable quadruplets, who runs her own make-up company, who often does hair and make-up for the Hot Tomato Pin-Up Academy, and who now has co-founded a coffee roastery with her husband, told me that she is really lazy. As I lament how hard my life is because I have to walk my dog right after work, Tonya calling herself lazy is kind of like watching Queen Elizabeth say, “I wish people around the world knew my name.” But when you talk to local entrepreneurs, you just try to roll with the humility, and admire it.
Tonya, along with her husband Chad Winebrenner, who is the executive chef at Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center, have, in their “free time,” launched a brand new company called Stomp-N-Grounds Craft Coffees. When I first started talking to them, Tonya said the company started out of necessity. When you have four three-year-old kids running around, good coffee may be the only thing that keeps you functioning. Chad pointed out that the story ran a little deeper and a little longer than that.
“I first became interested in roasting while compiling research for a mobile coffee shop as a food truck theme,” the roaster said. Chad is a super taster, which means that the concentration of taste buds on his tongue is higher than the average Joe. That means he can REALLY tell a good bean from a bad one.
“By 2014 I had purchased my first roaster,” Chad said. “Then in 2015 I got a commercial roaster, and for some reason, after that, friends told me this had gone beyond a hobby.”
A lot of decisions go into starting a coffee company. The Winebrenners are eager to remind their customers that coffee is an agricultural crop and is heavily impacted by changes in the seasons. Coffee also can be grown, like any crop, in a responsible or an irresponsible manner. A coffee roaster can decide to focus on single origin coffees and/or blends, various regions, and then they have to determine the proper roast profile to showcase the best flavors of each specific coffee.
“We want our customers to understand that the experience our coffee creates is really important to us,” Tonya explains. “We want them to know that their coffee comes from a very high-quality, sustainable source, and we pick beans that are in-season. Chad is very careful to roast the coffee the same exact way every single time, and we use low quantities to make sure the blends are perfect.”
Before writing about Stomp-n-Grounds, I of course had to do my due diligence and actually try the coffee. Even though I’m a marketer and can say something nice about pretty much anything if I have to, I like being able to talk about a product from the vantage point of having experienced it. Tonya gave me a bag of the house blend to try, and I am not kidding when I say that it is the best coffee I’ve had in my life. This is saying something. I try to avoid run-of-the-mill coffees. Starbucks barely impresses me, if you catch my drift. The house blend is referred to as a nostalgic cup of coffee, and that accurately describes my sensation as I took my first sip. I was reminded of my mom making me coffee in the early morning before I had to catch the 7:11 AM bus to school.
The Stomp-n-Grounds website officially went live on July 16. New products are going to be coming soon, but there is already a nice mix of single origin and blended coffees. You can order whole bean, ground, or you can ask for customization. Locals can pick up the coffee themselves, or the coffee can be delivered if you order online. Local readers can also find Stomp-N-Grounds at Scot’s Landscape Nursery/Market in Vienna and The Cook’s Shop in Marietta. New retailers will be added to the family soon.
Learn more about the amazing Winebrenners and their new coffee company at www.sngcoffee.com.