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Sherman Man Brews Up an Organic, Fair-Trade Coffee Roasting Career

Sherman resident John Rich, owner of Sacred Grounds Coffee Roasters, poses in front of his coffee roaster Monday.
Sherman resident John Rich, owner of Sacred Grounds Coffee Roasters, poses in front of his coffee roaster Monday. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

SHERMAN, Conn. — John Rich and his brother often sold drinks on the side of the road during their childhood. But unlike many kids, they didn’t sell lemonade. They sold coffee.

“That was our first introduction to selling coffee,” Rich said Monday inside Sacred Grounds Coffee Roasters, his new small-batch organically sourced and Fair Trade coffee roasting company in Sherman.

Rich, who grew up in Manhattan, said he and his brother capitalized on the opportunity presented by drivers, who lined up and down the street waiting for gas. Because of gas rationing, drivers had to wait for hours for gas. So Rich and his brother had a captive market.

But Rich left the coffee business and decided to study at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, where he graduated with a degree in communications and media. Since then, his career has taken him to positions in television and media.

He then worked for years in real estate. But didn’t enjoy the job or the long commute. Finally, the pull toward coffee brought him back to his true passion.

“I’ve always had this fire in me to do something with coffee,” he said.

While the hours can be long, Rich said his new career allows him to spend more time with his wife and kids. Since his store is only a few minutes from his home in Sherman, they sometimes stop by the new shop to visit.

Of the many coffees he sells, Rich said the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is one of his favorites. It has character that “you don’t normally see in other coffees,” he said, adding that blend has hints of blueberry.

He also likes the Indonesian Sumatara Kokowagayo. It has an earthy almost caramel-like taste, he said.

But its hard to say which one of those is truly his favorite. “They’re both unique coffees,” he said.

Rich’s shop is located at 1 Route 37 East, Suite 1 in Sherman. For more information on his store, visit his website here.

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