by Dennis Dalman
When he was an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joshua Kaeter drank a lot of cups of coffee when he had to rise in the mornings before the sun and then even more cups of coffee when he had late-night emergency duties.
A 2009 graduate of Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, Kaeter, who is now a Sartell resident, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan before leaving the Marine Corps in 2016.
All that coffee-drinking in the military, he said, “kick-started” his keen interest in coffee beans – how they’re grown, where they’re grown, how climate affects them and the many varieties available.
His research even led him to a coffee farm in the Panamanian in 2021 where he spent time, getting to know the producer and roasting the beans right there on the farm. He’s visited countries all over the world, always in pursuit of the finest coffee beans.
“That (experience) solidified my passion for good coffees and for this industry,” he said.
So much so that recently he opened his own “roastery” in Sartell, called Eminent Coffee, at 331 Fourth Ave. S. not far from the city’s Public Works Facility. He devised a mobile espresso cart from which he can serve his home brew at special events, and he plans to open a full-service espresso bar and possibly an outdoor café this coming summer.
Espresso, which originated in Italy, is a way to brew coffee by using nearly-boiling water to force, using a precise pressure, through finely-ground coffee beans. Latte (pronounced lah-TAY) is a form of espresso coffee with steamed-milk added.
Kaeter’s business, so far, is not open to the public, but he sells his roasted coffee beans (whole or ground) via online sales and ships nationwide. His bags of coffee are sold locally at the St. Cloud Food Co-Op in Centennial Plaza, 2010 Veterans Drive in St. Cloud.
Kaeter buys his beans (green, pre-roasted) mainly from Café Imports in the Twin Cities – beans are from many countries throughout the world. He also buys a unique coffee from Colombia in South America – beans that are decaffeinated by a new method called “sugar-cane processing.”
“The freedom of what I do is nice,” Kaeter said. “I get to follow my own creative vision and see that vision come to fruition. I get a lot of satisfaction when I see people light up with curiosity when I’m educating them about coffee.”
Coffee is often compared to wine, in that there are infinite subtle differences in taste that can depend on microclimates and soil in which coffee beans (or grape vines) are grown.
“Through education, discussion and the constant striving to improve, I want to share beautiful coffees with my community,” Kaeter said. “All of that while assuring the producers growing their amazing coffee beans are not only getting the fairest price for their products but also recognition and praise for the beautiful coffees they produce.”
During an interview with the Newsleader, Kaeter was asked what is his personal favorite kind of coffee. After pondering for awhile, he said, “It’s called Panama Gesh, and it’s like pure velvet. Jamaica Blue Mountain is also a great coffee, but it’s very expensive.”
Kaeter said he’s grateful for the help he received starting his business from the Southwest (Minnesota) Initiative Foundation’s Microenterprise Loan Program. It provides loans for talented, creative entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses. It also provides free assistance with technical support, business-management skills, marketing assistance and other forms of help throughout the life of the loan. The microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information about the microloan program, call 800-594-9480 or visit [email protected].
For more information about Kaeter’s Eminent Coffee business, visit eminentcoffeeroaster.com or google “Eminent Coffee Roasters.”