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It's all about the beans - local business man shares his passion about coffee

    With all the coffee shops that have been cropping up around Statesboro, one would think there isn't room for another. But at Ogeechee River Coffee Company, a self-professed coffee geek is locally roasting and preparing coffee to satisfy the discerning tastes of his customers and himself.
    Simply put, Scott Miller, Ogeechee's owner/operator, is quite zealous about his roasting and his love for coffee.
    "Most everybody who talks to me about coffee thinks I'm a bit obsessive," said Miller. "However, somebody needs to push the envelope and that just happens to be me in this town."
    Miller caught the coffee bug on a foreign study program in France about 25 years ago. When he came back to America, he had trouble finding quality espresso. His search for a good cup of coffee led to his passion today.
    "I had never had it before [my trip to France]," he said. "I really liked it and drank it a lot. I was hooked."
    He gets his coffee from all over the globe. He has beans from Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Kenya and Sumatra in his shop. He also has three different types of Ethiopian coffee and gets beans from a friend that owns a farm in Zimbabwe.
    Miller said there are different grades of coffee just like there are different grades of beef. He carries the specialty grade, which means it is of higher quality, more consistent, fresher and has received more attention in the field. The grading also marks how many defects are in a random sample of the beans.
    "I trust my broker, but when I open the bag, I get out a scale and weigh out a sample," said Miller. "If I find two or three defects, I'm not concerned because that is what my broker told me. But if I find 12 or 14 defects, I'll say we need to renegotiate price because the product is bordering on commercial grade."
    "There is a heck of a lot more to buying coffee than just calling up the broker and saying 'ship me some coffee, dude.'"
    In addition to the careful inspections of his product, Miller uses a computer — attached to the roasting machine in his shop — to monitor the roasting process. He said this allows him to create different roasting profiles for different blends which amounts to a high level of consistency for his final product. 
    Though quite fervent, he insists that his attention to detail results in a better cup of coffee for his customers.
    "I can roast it how I want and when I want to, for my taste and my customer's taste."
    Miller said most folks have a disconnect when it comes to coffee. Since it always can be found in the grocery store, they think coffee is a year round product. But its an agricultural product, subject to weather and environmental conditions.
    He emphasizes that different countries have different growing seasons. In addition, there may be six or seven distinct growing regions in a single country, distinct enough that even an inexperienced coffee drinker can tell the difference.
    "I like to say that anyone who can discern the difference between a Coke and a Diet Coke has all the ability and discerning taste to become a quality cupper," said Miller. "I use the term 'cupping' like wine folks use the term 'tasting'."
    Every other Saturday at 2 p.m. he holds a coffee cupping, where individuals can come and taste a variety of coffees and special blends. Miller equates the experience to that of a wine tasting. There is another event at his shop this coming Saturday.
     Ogeechee River Coffee Company is located on Brampton Avenue in the Market District behind the East Georgia Regional Medical Center.

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