Goodman Coffee Back in Business


An elderly couple bought one pound of Burundi and ½ a pound of Yemen coffee.

“That would be $30,” Ian Goodman, co-owner of the Goodman Coffee Roasters said after measuring and packing the coffee. The Saturday was only the second weekend the roasting facility has opened, and several people have come by for coffee tasting.

After selling Greyfriar’s Coffee in 2007, Ian Goodman and partner Aric Annear is ready to dive back into the coffee scene. The Goodman Coffee Roasters in 3913 St. Elmo Avenue, right across from 1885, has started roasting for about a month, and opened two weeks ago on the first Saturday of March. The facility roasts coffee from around the world – Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Peru, Tanzania, Burundi, and even Yemen.

The coffee brewing that morning was from Burundi, which Goodman and Annear, described as being brewed to a roasting degree called full city. Full city roast is usually the ideal roast to bring out the flavors in each bean, but the degrees of the full city roast could be lighter or darker. “Every coffee has to be handled differently,” Goodman said. “You need to draw out what’s inside.”

“There is an art to roasting coffee,” Goodman said again. “You need to observe the sight, sound, and smell. Some coffees are more forgiving, but for some it’s really easy to make it really bad. An extra 30 seconds could change everything. The flavor of the coffee is dictated by what you do to it.”

Goodman’s interest in the coffee business started early. He worked as a roaster in St. Louis during high school. When he visited his former girlfriend in Seattle, he started thinking, “this whole coffee thing is pretty cool.”

Goodman’s love for coffee proved true when he took his SIP idea and morphed it into a running business at the age of 22.  The Goodman Coffee Company, under the operating name Greyfriar’s Coffee, started as both a retail and wholesale coffee company in the mid-90’s. Goodman owned and ran the company for 11 years. Then, Annear worked for Goodman as a roaster.

Back in the day, Goodman also traveled around the country to join various barista competitions, winning national and regional championships.

Greyfriar’s was a success in the Chattanooga community. When its competitor, Starbucks, moved close by, the business went up by 30% after the second week instead of declining.

In the hands of Goodman, Greyfriar’s became a symbol of a quality coffee and tea shop. “I had my first jasmine tea in Greyfriar’s! I have never had jasmine tea before, and I loved it,” the elderly lady said, reminiscing about the good old days.

However, running the business became too taxing, and when he fell sick, Goodman sold the company in 2007. Having put his Covenant degree on hold for 15 years, he came back at 2011 to finally receive his Bachelor of Science.

Annear, on the other hand, has started his own coffee company in Seattle. Annear owned, managed, and roasted for Fremont Coffee Company, described by some of Seattle’s publications as one of the most popular independent coffee shops in the city. Selling his company, Annear moved back to Chattanooga.

“Whenever Ian and I talked, we would say ‘man, I sure miss the coffee business.’ It took us four years to actually start one,” Annear said.

Both Goodman and Annear have their own full-time job; Goodman as a property accountant at Vision Hospitality Group and Annear as an editor at Marketplace Ignition.

“The goal is to one day ultimately have this [Goodman Coffee Roasters] as a full time job,” Goodman said.

Right now, the company is working with a designer to create the brand packaging, and starting to promote its beans to individuals, coffee shops, and restaurants.

Throughout its first week, the roasting facility has attracted customers from St. Elmo, Chattanooga, North Shore, and Cleveland.

The coffee has made its way into Covenant’s wellspring of caffeine: the staff lounge and Leda Goodman’s office in the Center for Calling and Career. For those interested in brewing their own, Goodman and Annear let visitors taste their coffee on Saturday mornings, brewing batches from their freshly ground beans.