BAR HARBOR — Residents of the rural north end of Bar Harbor and commuters on Route 3 now have a new option for coffee.
The Cup, a new coffee shop, has opened at Sweet Pea Farm, sharing its location with Crooked Porch Coffee Roasters, Sweet Pea’s Café and Bar Harbor Cellars’ tasting room.
Open Wednesday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., the shop is a collaboration of Nicole Cuff, one of the owners of Sweet Pea’s Café, and Dirk Erlandson, owner of Crooked Porch Coffee Roasters.
Erlandson roasts coffee in small batches on site, behind the coffee shop.
“It was a good time for it,” Cuff said of opening the coffee shop. “It’s something all of us thought would fit with this property. It’s what this area is missing.”
“We’re trying to make this property a place where you can come and enjoy things all day long,” Cuff added. The winery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Erlandson has been roasting coffee at Sweet Pea Farm for almost 10 years, Cuff explained, but Crooked Porch was “never open to the public” until Cuff opened the small coffee shop in June.
The Cup features Crooked Porch Coffee and tea from Winterport-based Tea Maineia, as well as sweet and savory baked items.
“I worked on the biscuit recipe all winter,” Cuff said, which may be served with butter and seasonal jam, or in a breakfast sandwich featuring local ham and cheese or vegetables with chevre.
Also on the menu is Crooked Porch espresso, which is an exclusive offering Cuff explained, since espresso roasts are new to the Crooked Porch portfolio.
The Cup also has gift items for sale, including local art, plants, and Crooked Porch whole bean coffee.
The Cup is one of several businesses on Mount Desert Island to have taken the “Sustainable MDI Pledge” organized by A Climate to Thrive. Cuff noted that everything is compostable, from cups to coffee stirrers, which are pieces of dry pasta. Composting is done right at Sweet Pea Farm.
“It’s been a good first year,” Cuff mused, adding she hopes to stay open “at least through the holidays,” depending on staffing.
Where the coffee comes from
Just like restaurant kitchens behind the swinging doors prepare the food for the front of the house, the coffee roasting room behind the coffee shop prepares the freshly roasted coffee beans.
“Like grapes and wines, coffee has hundreds of different flavors inherent to the beans,” Erlandson explained. “The roaster’s job is to pull out the best flavors.”
His workshop for doing that is simple, consisting only of a professional-grade stainless steal coffee roaster and large burlap bags of raw coffee beans.
Beans are imported from countries all over the “coffee belt” which hugs the Equator, he explained; places like Peru, Mexico, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sumatra and Ethiopia.
Through distributers, Erlandson obtains beans that are organically grown and fairly traded.
Erlandson said having a coffee shop adjacent to his roastery has inspired him to try something new: espresso.
“For years I had wanted to do espresso,” he said. He describes his espresso as a “medium roast,” a blend of four different coffees. Next door in The Cup, the espresso is extracted into a concentrated brew.
“I started roasting on my very crooked porch when I lived in a farmhouse in Sullivan,” he said, explaining the name he chose for his company.
Erlandson said he started roasting beans in a popcorn popper, then moved up to a home coffee roaster. He started roasting professionally after taking a course in Vermont and sold his first batch of coffee in 2010.
He now delivers coffee to wholesale customers all over the island and in Ellsworth. He ships to farther locations, such as South Berwick Country Store, and has an online retail store.
Erlandson roasts year-round. “I enjoy that I can control my hours,” he said. As long as I get people coffee when they need it, I can control my time.”