The Magic Bean

Call Don Batcheller a has-bean.

In his former life, Batcheller was a mechanic in Santa Barbara, Calif. Through a personal friend who had a coffee roasting business, Batcheller became a "hobby roaster" about 15 years ago.

"He taught me most of what I know about that," Batcheller said. He learned where coffee beans come from, how their origin affects their flavor and what happens when they are decaffeinated.

Batcheller moved to

Sequim for a change of life, he said, and spent a few months remodeling a house in Sequim with his son.

Four months ago, he started setting up shop for his new career: coffee roaster.

In rented warehouse space on Third Avenue, he rebuilt a roasting machine and fabricated an afterburner to eliminate air pollution from the roasting process.

Building transformed

"I had to completely transform the building," Batcheller said. "It was just a storage building."

Although there is more to do, the fresh paint, skylights and colorful framed posters have made it a comfortable and functional work space. Batcheller hopes to expand into neighboring space to develop a small retail shop area and specialty coffee bar.

His startup efforts have overcome practical challenges.

"Here in Sequim, there isn't a place that I can get bags," he said. Most of what he needs is available within the Puget Sound area - including the coffee itself - which he buys primarily from green bean importers in Seattle.

Batcheller also has faced marketing challenges.

Get the most from roast

The demographics in

Sequim call for decaffeinated coffee. "It goes against the grain of a roaster," he said. "When you decaffeinate coffee, you lose some flavor."

The decaffeinating process also changes the character of the beans so they don't roast like a regular bean.

Currently, Batcheller has five coffees for sale. Two are blends and three are single-bean roasts. "I sample roast coffee sent to me by importers from around the world," he said.

Using five or six small batches of the same bean, Batcheller roasts them at slightly varying times and temperatures. Just a few degrees or a 30-second difference changes the taste of the finished cup.

One of them will have the "magic," he said.

He maintains a roasting log so when he finds that magic formula he can repeat it consistently.

"We seem to like the dark roasted coffee," Batcheller said of Pacific Northwest coffee drinkers, but darker roasts will make different beans taste more alike.

"Lighter roasts have more of the individual flavors of the beans."

Dark roasting also removes some of the caffeine, he said.

"If you want to get woke up on that first cup, you need a medium roast."

Rainshadow coffees are available at The Cracked Bean at Sequim Avenue and Old Olympic Highway and at Damiana's Best Cellars at 141 W. Washington St., as well as from his roaster shop on Third Avenue.

He also is selling at the Open Aire Market on Saturdays in Sequim. QFC has agreed to sell it, Batcheller said, as soon as he gets barcode numbers and descriptions for his different varieties.

A key to his success, however, will be restaurant accounts, which typically use 50 pounds or more a week, he said.

"Freshness is an advantage," Batcheller said.

"I roast when I need to replace coffee."

He hopes this will make his product more attractive to local restaurants. He also hopes approval will come soon for labeling his coffees organic, which appeals to many consumers.

Reach Sandra Frykholm at sfrykholm@

Rainshadow Roasting Company, Sequim's own hometown coffee roaster, now offers whole roasted coffee beans at the Open Aire Market.

Of course, many come to the market for the fresh local produce, flowers and plants, eggs and cheese, baked goods and fresh fish, locally-roasted coffee, peninsula honey, fine chocolates and beautiful hand-crafted items of all kinds.

Live music by troubadour Cort Armstrong will fill the air from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the market square. He was a crowd favorite on July 4 and this Saturday is his final Open Aire Market performance of the season.

Peninsula Friends of Animals will be featured in the Suzanne Arnold Community Booth program. Learn more about their work at Safe Haven shelter and monthly spay/neuter clinics.

Market hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each Saturday.

Visit for the most

up-to-date information about the market and its vendors.

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