Jolly Roasters Gets You Caffeinated Locally
Sparks fly, coffee in hand and you’re making googly eyes.
As many relationships begin, it was over a cup of coffee. Casey and Brenda Jolly’s was no different. But little did they know this humble cup of caffeine would take them on a united pursuit, in more ways than one.
Jolly Roasters was born out of a husband and wife’s quest to find the perfect cup of coffee. While Casey was stationed outside of Tokyo back in 2011, the Jollys made it a habit to travel to the inner city on the weekends. It was there that they encountered the Hario pour-over brewing method and their best cup of joe to date. This epitome of coffee, reminiscent of pure honey, was the first landmark on their craft coffee journey. They left Tokyo knowing they had to recreate it at home.
It began as a hobby. Their first roaster was really a Whirley stovetop popcorn popper. After a year of stovetop roasting, they invested in a small, but nevertheless legitimate roaster. “We basically got into a routine where the kids went to bed, and it was time to open up shop,” Brenda says. They’d hand out their home-roasted coffee to family and friends whom quickly realized this was more than a hobby—this had real potential.
Fast forward to January 2015, nearly a year after returning to Virginia Beach. The business model was laid out, and it was time for a name. A friend suggested their business moniker, and while they grimaced at first, they came to realize ‘Jolly Roasters’ clicked.
Unlike your average store bought coffee, Jolly Roasters doesn’t incinerate your beans; rather, they focus on a lighter roasting process to enhance a bean’s individual flavor notes particular to its region. Casey explained it like this: there are those who prefer the medium rare steaks to the hockey puck of a well-done steak. If you think you have to burn a quality bean to make it palatable, you’re doing it wrong. Like the well-done steak, over-roasted coffee loses its flavor.
Another effort the Jollys pay mind to is knowing where their beans come from. They order samples from various regions (e.g., Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Sumatra and Colombia) through a reliable source, Cafe Imports. After they put their beans through a cupping trial—which is a tasting process to pinpoint any inconsistencies of the coffee bean—they’ll get a large order, and the rest, they say, is history.
Casey will have a guy’s night on Mondays and Wednesdays to roast the beans. Once roasted, the beans sit for 24 hours for the flavors to essentially ‘marry’ before Brenda distributes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Brenda handles the business side of things. “She’s my boss,” Casey joked.
In February of this year, they set up shop in Virginia Beach on the outskirts of Town Center. In the future, they’re looking to open a café and develop direct trade with coffee bean farmers. Their vision is to honor God, help people and support their family. As long as these three goals are met, they will continue with their mission. For the Jollys, the mission for that perfect cup of coffee begins every morning. As Brenda says, "How can I make this coffee better than I did yesterday?"
But why this passion for that ‘perfect’ cup? It’s the beauty of the journey behind it—treating coffee as not just a ‘job,’ but a craft. In educating others of the many nuances of the bean, the Jollys hope to bring awareness and appreciation for craft coffee and, in turn, create an artisanal coffee experience.
Purchase their coffee online and at pop-up shops. Their next pop-up shop will be held at Town Center’s Lululemon on May 17 from 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.