Steel Oak Coffee isn’t your typical coffee shop.
Only open to the public on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the space at 187 S. Yonge St. is used as a roastery to craft specialty bags of coffee the rest of the week.
Steel Oak was founded in 2016 by husband and wife, Carl and Michele Dupper. The company started in their garage after the family moved back to Ormond Beach from Raleigh, North Carolina, and “realized there was no good coffee here,” Carl Dupper said.
All they had was a platform and a coffee roaster, which they still use to this day. They roasted coffee every night in order to perfect their recipe; causing smoke to form under the tree line in their neighborhood.
“Eventually, I started to figure out exactly how to interpret what I wanted coffee to present itself as," Carl Dupper said. "I could give the same coffee to 10 different roasters, and it would all taste different. A lot of it comes down to the development and what we wanted our coffee to taste like."
During the experimental process of roasting coffee, friends and family of the Duppers received samples in exchange for feedback. They began to sell bags of their coffee at a farmer’s market every Saturday until they started receiving wholesale accounts and had to expand their workspace beyond their garage.
They moved into a 600 square-foot space and worked from there for almost seven years.
Steel Oak Coffee’s new space opens the Dupper family up to more opportunities and gives the public a larger space to enjoy their coffee. The lobby offers a large sitting area, a coffee bar, and windows looking into the roasting area, allowing people to watch the process and see the equipment.
“It’s cool to see the effect of coffee on people’s lives, how it brings people together, and the conversations that start over a cup of coffee,” Michele Dupper said.
The shop has between nine and 12 different coffee options at a time, all of them roasted in- house. The flavor of each coffee comes from the bean itself, as the Duppers don't use additives to enhance or incorporate more flavors. They’re currently offering bags of coffee from various regions of Ethiopia, Kenya, Nicaragua, Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia. They plan on adding two new coffee options in the next few weeks from Mexico and Costa Rica.
“There’s a lot that goes into a good cup of coffee; from the farm to roasting to brewing it," Michele Dupper said. "Every single one of those things can change how the coffee tastes."
Carl Dupper said his primary focus is working on wholesale accounts with small coffee shops around Ormond Beach to help them present specialty coffee to their customers. He is a co-owner of Gold Leaf Coffee Co. in Ormond Beach, which is one of Steel Oaks wholesale accounts. They also provide coffee to Yes Coffee Co. and Soraya Mediterranean Cafe.
Event Coordinator and barista trainer Cici Sassano has worked with Carl Dupper for over two years at Gold Leaf Coffee Co. as a team lead. For the past 6 months, she has been planning and organizing the grand opening for Steel Oak as they had one specifically for industry workers the day before the public opening.
“Their old space was very tight, very small, and it overheated quite often so them having this new space and being able to expand, not just with square footage but with buying a third roaster, is exciting,” Sassano said. “Seeing how many people were able to be in the new space on Saturday definitely exciting and shows how much they are growing.”
The Duppers plan on offering future events to learn more about their coffee and how to make better coffee at home.