Bada Bean, Bada Boom: Q&A with Local Coffee Roasters

For local roasters and dedicated coffee drinkers in Winston-Salem, coffee is life. We caught up with java masters from two of our beloved coffee shops—Krankies Coffee and Footnote—to learn about their roasting techniques, find out how to perfect a home-brew, and discover must-try menu items for your next visit.

Q: How did your business start? In what ways has it grown?

A: Joe Davis, Footnote – Before Footnote, there was (and still is) Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem’s oldest operating craft brewery and one of the most popular craft breweries in North Carolina. Co-owners Jamie and Sarah Bartholomeus had been home-roasting for quite some time when Jamie decided to purchase a roaster. 

Located in downtown Winston-Salem, Footnote sits adjacent to Foothills Brewing in a former auto shop and shares space with Bookmarks Bookstore. Literature and coffee naturally complement one another, so the opening of Bookmarks encouraged the construction of Footnote, a coffee and cocktail bar. 

Dan Pennock, Krankies – Located in the now-bustling downtown neighborhood of Innovation Quarter, Krankies started as a music venue in 2003 owned by Dave Franklin and John Bryan. During that time, the building was open as a coffee shop some mornings with the coffee sourced from a local roaster. In 2005, the owners purchased the roasting business and incorporated that into Krankies.

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Q: Where do you source your beans?

A: Unanimous – Direct trade! All three roasters go above and beyond fair trade coffee to work more directly with the farmers they’re sourcing from. Additionally…

Joe Davis, Footnote – We source from three companies with the primary one being Coffee Co-Mission, which is based right here in Winston-Salem. We cherish the relationship we have with our farmers. In fact, for our Cameroon coffee, the farmers needed more money to plant the crop, so we pre-purchased to help them grow and sell even more. 

Dan Pennock, Krankies – Practicing direct trade not only opens the doors for new friendships with farmers all over the world, this type of sourcing also gives us more transparency about where the coffee is from. 

Q: Can you describe your roasting process or technique? Is there something that makes it unique?

A: Joe Davis, Footnote – In addition to good equipment, we track our process on “Cropster,” a roasting software that helps us start at a consistent temperature every time. 

Dan Pennock, Krankies – We talk to producers around the world and tell them what we’re looking for. Then, we start with small sample roasts. We try all the sample roasts and pick the one that we like the most before recreating that flavor on a larger scale. 

Q: Do you have a signature blend or roast, and if so, what is it?

A: Joe Davis, Footnote – One is a medium roast, which is a Peruvian coffee from the region of Chanchamayo. We use that for our cold-brew. Cameroon Java (espresso) is likely the top-selling bag; it’s between a medium and dark roast. Then we have our French roast. It’s a Mexican heirloom coffee, and Coffee Co-Mission is really helping the farmers keep this crop. 

Dan Pennock, Krankies – Our Railhead Espresso blend is pretty popular. The coffee beans in the railhead espresso change all the time, since espresso is simply the roasting method…not the type of coffee.

Q: What do you look for in a good cup of coffee?

A: Joe Davis, Footnote – I drink a lot of cold brew at full concentration, which not many places do. Beyond that, I just like a well-roasted cup of coffee.

Dan Pennock, Krankies – I try to drink from roasters who honor direct trade. It’s really hard for me to drink coffee when I don’t know where it came from. 

Mitchell Britt, Krankies – I’ve shifted to brewing my coffee much lighter, almost like tea. 

Q: If someone is visiting your coffee shop for the first time, what is the one item on the menu that you think is a must-try?

A: Joe Davis, Footnote – We keep 5–7 drip coffees available, and there are free refills, so we encourage customers to try different types. We’re also one of two coffee places offering a full bar, so we have a cold brew old-fashioned that is very popular and will likely never leave the menu.

Mitchell Britt, Krankies – Try the espresso milkshake. It’s made with ice cream from a local creamery and a double shot of espresso. 

Q: What are your recommendations for someone hoping to elevate their coffee game at home?

A: Joe Davis, Footnote – I’d say check out the blogs and YouTube videos out there, like The Perfect Daily Grind, Sweet Maries, or Mill City Roasters

Dan Pennock, Krankies – Keep it simple. I ran out of filters one day, so I poured the coffee grinds in a Mason jar and stirred it vigorously. That made all the grinds drop to the bottom, so I could pour it into a coffee cup. I’ve been making it this way for three years now.

Who’s ready for a cup of coffee right NOW? Next time you visit Winston-Salem, be sure to check out these two coffee hot spots as well as other incredible local cafes throughout the city.