In the wee hours of the morning Jason Reed can be found crouched over a stainless steel cylindrical container in what looks a little like a laboratory. The 32-year-old from Weatherford resembles a mad scientist as he continues his quest of the perfect brew - coffee that is.
Reed, owner of PIC Coffee Roasters, said his love for the bean - which is really considered a fruit - began when he was traveling in Colorado with his family in 2009.
"We were at a micro-brewery where customers, tasting a variety of craft beer, could be seated and have a meal with their selections," Reed said. "Patrons were seated behind a plexiglass wall where they could watch the beverages being made."
Reed thought how fun it would be if coffee lovers could witness the same thing.
Never miss a local story.
"But I thought this was way out of my league so I’ll put it on the back burner," he said.
Nevertheless, Reed kept the concept top-of-mind and in 2014 sat down with his friend Ryan McWhorter, owner of Panther Island Brewery, with an idea that had been "percolating" for some time.
"I asked if he might be interested in collaborating on a coffee beer," Reed said. "He said sure! If you roast the beans, I'll make the beer."
Reed said he had made up his mind that if his friend had said yes he was going to pour everything he had into the idea.
So the two sat down for a meeting, they even bought the beans together, and from there they launched a Russian Imperial Coffee Stout called Here Come Santa Czar beer.
"I roasted all of the beans on my home roaster. It took me three long days,” Reed said. “So my wife and I thought if we’re going to do this we’re going to need to come up with a name for our business, a website and develop a marketing strategy for getting the word out.”
He said they came up with the name Pic Coffee Roasters because to his friends he is known as “Pic,” due to an incident of where he swallowed a guitar pick some years ago.
The two gradually developed a plan and were able to get things off the ground with the help and support of their family.
The coffee bean can be manipulated in several ways Reed said depending on how the crop is grown - harvested and stored - all the way to the barista who’s serving it.
"Different countries have their own unique flavors," Reed said. " For instance beans that come from Ethiopia and Africa are more fruity, acidic and bright, some can be almost tea like in body and flavor. Beans from Guatemala and Colombia have flavor notes that are more chocolatey and heavy bodied."
Reed said he purchases his beans from a broker and prefers to work in his lab experimenting with roasting profiles and brewing techniques.
"I’ve learned a lot about coffee," he said. "How you brew it, how you store it...it really matters. Some of the ‘big guys,’ they’re roasting for quantity. They load up the beans, push a button and they’re all roasting a certain time, automatically. Then it spits them out."
Often times when the bean appears black and has a glossy coating Reed said its been over roasted.
"Once you grind it the shelf life is cut in half because you’re letting oxygen get to the bean," Reed said. "So much of the coffee you buy at the store is burnt and stale by the time you get it home. Just because it has a vacuum seal doesn’t mean it’s fresh."
Reed said he has studied extensively on the subject and even taken a level 1 roasting class to become certified.
He said all coffee is single in its origin and that coffee blends can often mean the masking of a inferior product.
"Sometime the ‘big guys’ will take a cheap bean and blend it with some good beans to add to the volume and lower the price," Reed added. "So when your dealing with a specialty coffee it may be a little more expensive due to the fact you using two premium coffee beans."
Reed said he prefers to roast his beans from light to a medium dark consistency depending on the origin of the coffee.
"I roast what I feel is best for each bean on the menu," he said. "After all I want to show them off; what flavors each coffee has to offer."
Reed said patrons can order a cup of Pic Coffee at Vintage Grill and Car Museum or at Arcadia Coffee in Weatherford. Coffee enthusiast can also pick up his beans, bagged and ready to go at: The Junktion or at Arcadia Coffee in Weatherford; or at Clearfork Market in Hudson Oaks.
Reed said he even has wholesale pricing in place to cater to businesses, offices, hotels, churches, restaurants and others.
"I really love this," Reed said. "I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that woke up to a job I wanted to go to. Now I am."