Small-town coffee roaster has big-city taste
For a wheat farmer and father of three, roasting coffee has moved from hobby to business.
Layne Ensz, of Inman, operates a tractor by day and roasts coffee beans in the evenings and on weekends.
“I love coffee,” Layne said. “If I could, I would roast all day.”
When Layne was 5, he used to go to the co-op with his father. When his father put down his Styrofoam cup filled with coffee, Layne would pick it up and take a sip.
A few years ago, Layne met a coffee bean distributor in Kansas City, bought a small air roaster that could brew 3 pounds of coffee beans at one time and started to brew. He and his wife, Shanda, would drink the coffee and give the rest away to family. Soon, friends and family wanted more of the product.
Layne named his company Buckskin Road Coffee Roastery, moved the operation into his garage, had the area inspected and started selling his roasted beans. As his business grew, Layne closed off a portion of his barn and refurbished it, traded in the 3-pound roaster for a 7-pound one, and became able to keep up with demand.
“We are inspected and licensed as a food processing facility by (Kansas Department of Agriculture) and also are registered with the FDA,” Shanda said.
The couple sells at farmers markets and a variety of food locations, including Cornerstone Market in Inman, Krehbiels Specialty Meats in McPherson and Simple Abundance Farm in South Hutchinson. They can also be found in Moundridge at Happy Hollow Gift Shop and Moundridge Food Market.
Layne buys beans that come from Columbia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, Peru and Tanzania. He never places flavors in his brew. For decaffeinated blends, he uses beans that use water extraction as opposed to using chemicals.
“It’s all tasting notes,” Layne said. “How you roast it brings those notes out.”
Layne named the different coffees after objects or places he holds dear. Since the couple’s farm is less than 1 mile K-61 highway, one brew got its name from that road. Lakehouse Blend took its name from their favorite vacation spot, and Bowhunter’s Blend was derived from the couple’s love of hunting. Buckskin, the name of their business, came from the road upon which their farm sits.
Layne and Shanda do not know what the future will bring, but Layne is happy tilling the soil and roasting his beans.
“I’m not sure if we have a dream,” Shanda said. “We’re just taking life one day at a time.”
Buckskin Road Coffee Roastery can be reached at 620-960-3863.