THE PRODUCER – Many reasons to celebrate

By Eleni Upah

For some people, coffee is a daily routine that’s not to be skipped — a means for starting each day on the right note. For others, it’s a total way of life.

George Rivera-Davis and Jan Davis have owned their own coffee farm in Panama for nine years.

George Rivera-Davis and Jan Davis have owned their own coffee farm in Panama for nine years.

The latter is true for George Rivera-Davis and Jan Davis, the owners of Grounds for Celebration. The couple started their company 22 years ago and currently operate locations in Beaverdale, Windsor Heights and West Des Moines.

“We started because my husband and I are both huge coffee fans, and…the Midwest wasn’t a big, burgeoning coffee market yet,” says Davis. “So we tried things and started kind of educating ourselves.”

One of the focuses for the business is to keep introducing new concepts and products to stay fresh in a populated market. Davis says Grounds for Celebration is always trying to set itself apart, and one way it does so is growing and roasting its own coffee.

“We actually have our own coffee farm in Panama,” Davis says, adding that George’s mother was born and raised in Panama and would bring coffee to them when she visited. “We’ve had that for about nine years, and we’re going down next week to visit.”

The farm has grown to about 12 acres and 5,000 coffee plants. This year’s crop will be the first one they’ve had in about three years since an infestation of bean borers ruined the plants. All the trees had to be cut down, but the family and farmers worked hard to build it back up.

Grounds for Celebration also roasts all of its own coffee — both what it grows in Panama and what it imports from other countries — at the Beaverdale location.

“We roast for other coffee shops, and we roast for a lot of other restaurants in town,” Davis explains. Wholesale customers include Baru 66, Prime and several churches around town. Davis estimates they probably roast between 800-900 pounds of coffee each week between the three locations and the wholesale business.

Davis and her husband are excited to bring two new concepts to the metro this year, including a coffee food truck that will likely be ready in late spring, and nitro coffee, which is becoming more popular in other parts of the country.

“Nitro coffee is basically a cold brew coffee that you put into a keg, and then you tap it,” explains Davis. “It looks like a Guinness when you pour it; it’s got a nice little head on it, and it has a lot of nitrogen that breaks out and cascades down the side of it.”

The nitro coffee is currently available for free sampling at the Beaverdale Grounds for Celebration, and Davis expects it to be ready for sale by the end of January. RELISH

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Categories: The Producer

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