SHERIDAN — Matt Egging did not waste any time integrating into the community when he and his family moved to Sheridan two years ago. Shortly after settling into their fourth new home in a couple years, Egging was participating in the local farmer’s market at Landon’s Greenhouse, Nursery and Landscaping, selling small bags of his coffee and chatting up other local vendors. A curious customer could mix and match bags and barter prices — Egging’s favorite way to do business.
In fact, Egging would rather use a barter system 100 percent of the time over begrudgingly accepting forms of monetary payment, although he takes Venmo and PayPal if folks don’t carry cash.
His bartering system has led him into flourishing relationships and solid integration for he and his family in the Sheridan community. While celebrating his storefront grand opening, Egging was sipping a self-roasted cup of coffee from a Red Bison Studio mug handcrafted especially for the Fly Shop of the Bighorns. His “small world” connections led him to quickly befriend Fly Shop owner Peter Widener, who sells Egging’s product in-store.
When not working at his storefront, Egging raises his kindergarten-aged daughter while his wife, whose job brought the family to Sheridan initially, teaches English at Sheridan College. Friendly connections through his daughter’s friends and teachers and fellow parents keep Egging graciously giving out his product and fostering relationship.
His involvement in the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Sheridan brought in several customers and friends into his new storefront to listen to a fellow member strum away Saturday afternoon while they perused the roasting hub and tasted the coffee flavors in an array of cookie combinations.
Egging’s interest in roasting coffee beans started out of a modest curiosity for the art and turned into a self-taught craft that he now shares with the Sheridan community. Earning a “YouTube” education, Egging still keeps the business as a secondary option to raising his daughter, filling orders as carefully as possible while she’s at school.
The crafting of a quality roast starts with quality green coffee beans. Egging works with a company out of California and hopes to continue his education in tasting roasted coffees at the site someday.
Egging weighs the unroasted beans and pours them into the 6-pound roaster, turns it on and tweaks the amount of air flow to ensure even roasting. The process requires careful attention to sight, smell and sound. Beans will progressively change from green to brown, becoming darker the longer the product roasts in heats of up to 440 degrees Fahrenheit.
The product will begin with an earthy smell and transition into a popcorn smell and finally a kettle corn aroma.
Egging listens carefully for the first and second pops of the beans and finishes the process according to what level of roast he is making. Taking the beans off the roaster after the first pop results in a light roast; the start of the second round of pops will become a medium roast and waiting until the completion of the second round of pops will result in a darker roast.
Egging’s favorite roast is a light roast, which he said gives the opportunity for the most robust flavor profile. His most favorite of the entire process, though, is the connection he makes through customers and community members, and the opportunity it creates for people to slow down and focus on relationship.
“I like people,” Egging said. “My motto with roasting coffee is to slow down and talk to people and find out what they want and like.”