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Clayton Farmer's Market: Meet Peter Cohen of Stringbean Coffee Co.

He left a 15-year career in banking to pursue coffee. Now, his brand can be found in more than a dozen locations throughout the St. Louis area.

Peter Cohen left banking to become a full-time coffee professional. In an interview this week, he spoke about the history of Stringbean Coffee Co., his booth at the Clayton Farmer's Market and his plans for the future.

You'll find his booth at the market from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the Brown Shoe parking lot on Maryland Avenue.

Can you remind Patch readers briefly about the history behind your company, Stringbean?

I was a banker for 15 years. I was roasting coffee as a hobby to satisfy my desire for bold, non-bitter coffee. My first roast was Pete's Redeye, my espresso blend, it's bold and smooth. I started last year at the Clayton Farmer's Market late in the season.

I ended my banking job on November 20, 2011 and traded wingtip shoes and preppy ties for do-rags and concert Ts. I came from a corporate bankground and now very much like and enjoy my independent coffee roaster status. The name Stringbean has nothing to do with the vegetable, my sister combined my interest in music, guitars and coffee as in guitar strings and coffee beans.

How has the transition gone from working full-time in banking to doing coffee full-time? What's the best part about your job, and what, if anything, has surprised you?

I love roasting coffee and interacting with folks. I love getting notes from people that have tried and liked my coffee. I am small enough that I respond to each. I will continue to passionately and meticulously roast the finest beans from around the world in small batches while advocating for the environment and building community.

Talk about your roastery. Have you been expanding and adding equipment? 

At the Stringbean Coffee roastery, the music is loud and the smells are quite nice. My roaster is a small, non-computerized drum roaster. I continue to have my hands in all aspects of Stringbean Coffee: roasting, packaging, delivering and marketing. I see myself as a micro artisan coffee roaster. That path will continue.

What products can people purchase when they visit your booth at the Clayton Farmer's Market?

I have a selection of freshly roasted blends and single origin coffees available at the markets, they are:

  • Redeye — bold & smooth espresso blend
  • Sumatra — dark roast, smokey
  • Colombian — med-dark and makes great espresso!
  • Star Clipper — med-dark blend with tobacco leaf notes
  • Midnight Run — medium roast, earthy
  • Good Vibe Light Roast — mellow and fruity
  • Decaf, Swiss Water Process — chemical-free decaf, dark roast

I usually have samples, on the hot days I bring along cold press. Maybe some chocolate bark collaborations and coffee stuff (like filters or air-tight canisters). There will be some Stringbean swag, too.

At what other locations in the St. Louis area can people purchase Stringbean Coffee?

Stringbean Coffee is available at Chandler Hill Winery, City Music, Freddie’s Market, Greene’s Country Store, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"greenes-country-store-and-feed"} -->, , (Maplewood), , , Local Harvest, , Maude’s Market, Parker’s Table, Windcrest Dairy Farm Store, Winslow’s Home,

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