Heads up, Florida Keys’ coffee fans: There’s a new java spot that you should know about. Farmers’ market favorites Islamorada Coffee Roasters have set up a permanent shop in a small, ocean-side plaza just south of the Morada Way Arts District in Islamorada, where they continue to serve up rich roasts and local love.
“Danny had been wanting a brick and mortar, but we weren’t looking. It fell into our lap during the pandemic,” said Sharon Sealy of her husband and co-owner, Danny Ganim, and their new shop.
Since 2018, the food-loving pair have been serving the Keys community with their custom, air-roasted coffees. They’ve done so, with great success, from their boutique coffee truck, which makes stops up and down the island chain to bring addicts and aficionados their fresh brews and hand-roasted coffee beans. You can also pre-order, and your coffee fix will come to you.
“Our technique is a little different,” Ganim told Keys Weekly. “We ‘air roast,’ so hot air blows through the beans similar to a popcorn machine. This is different than traditional tumble-drum roasting.”
Sealy called the innovative process “the main aspect” of their entire business. It’s “super fresh — like roasted while you wait,” she added.
The pair also ensure their beans are organic and fair-trade, sourced through a women’s coffee cooperative supporting small women farmers. Their bags are 100% compostable, as are their cups, lids and straws. In mid-2020, they even created an I.CARE blend, sourced from countries with coral reefs, with $10 from each bag (from a $25 1-pound bag of “I.CARE Blend” beans) going to help restore local Islamorada reefs.
Their value-driven, locals-supporting business flourished on four wheels. Now, with four walls and a ceiling to the mix, the couple has expanded their offerings to include everything from coffee-scented soy candles (handmade in the Florida Keys by Little Torch Candle) to Pirate Hat soap made with brewed coffee grounds for exfoliation to the couple’s infamous spiced hot cocoa. You can even get a “coffee flight,” served in the beer flight tasting glasses from the two local breweries.
Pro Tip: the Keys Weekly staff favorite is the cascara tea, made from the berry of a cherry plant. The outer cherry skin is dried, and then stepped into a syrup. Add either sparkling water to make a “sparkling sweet tea soda” or distilled for a “light bergamot, tea-like experience.” It’s not heavy and not light — just refreshing and divine.
The store also services all the company’s commercial accounts, which include everything from small B&Bs to the Square Grouper, Florida Keys Brewing Co. and Islamorada Beer Company. Most of these have crafted unique blends for their properties and businesses.
Individual coffee cravers can stop in for some custom-roasted coffee and more, as well as find the truck, which still runs up and down the Keys daily.
Now that doors are open, word-of-mouth is getting around. People who’ve met Sealy and Ganim in the Lower Keys stop on their way up, said Sealy. Visitors and snowbirds also have become a large part of their foot traffic.
“They stop in and follow us. Now, we think we’ve got a client for their entire visit,” she added. “People from Maryland who met us in Sugarloaf come by on their way back to the airport and ask if we can mail-out. We do, of course!”
Ganim added, “We hit a niche of people who truly love a quality cup of coffee. It’s fresh, organic, fair-trade, and as local as it gets. That’s what gets them.”
As for what’s to come from the space, Sealy hopes to eventually do monthly “cocoa and chill” nights, with people sitting around the courtyard listening to a poetry jam or open mic night. She also intends to keep supporting local artisans in their merchandising section.
“Not everyone gets the opportunity to do what they want to in life, because that’s life,” Sealym said. “We feel very lucky to be able to say we did this. We built this. This is ours. And we’re gonna keep doing what we’re doing. It’s a great feeling.”