How a curiosity about coffee led to an unexpected career move from tarmac to roasting
SRQ Review | April 2022
PHOTOGRAPH BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.
Sweating from pure curiosity and a desire for “better coffee”, the evolution of Banyan Coffee Co. – a specialty roaster in Bradenton – was far from expected for spouses Josh and Abbey Schmitt. “Actually, I had never had a craving for coffee,” Josh admits with a laugh, “but during my time in aviation, it was really the only thing available, and all the other pilots drank it. So I ended up doing that too, but started wanting to see what other options were available.
Propelled, at the time, by a single popcorn, Josh’s humble eagerness to experiment with different coffee beans unwittingly turned into a booming stampede when news of his freshly roasted creations began to circulate.
“I really enjoyed sharing all the different coffee options with others. So whenever I found something I liked, I made more of it for other riders, friends and family. time, I ended up accumulating 20-30 popcorns in my garage, four to six of them at a time.With a growing list of coffee orders and full-time thefts, Josh found himself at a crossroads that would ultimately pave the way for success for Banyan Coffee Co.
“My passion for coffee roasting was never meant to be a business,” says Josh, “but my wife always encouraged me to do what I love. I loved aviation, but I also loved coffee and I wanted to start a family, have children. As a pilot, you always travel, so it was either a career of pilot, or a married life. It was difficult at the time. “Now, two adorable children, a supportive wife and a thriving coffee roasting business later, says Josh Schmitt with great ease: “I look back and I see that was obvious.