Jack Mormon: Get Invested in Your Coffee
Jack Mormon Coffee takes its name from the traders that traveled with the early pioneers. They were called “Jack Mormons” because they, at the time, did not share the same religious background, but had similar economic values and created good partnerships. Jack Mormon Coffee was established with this shared community in mind and, of course, the passion for coffee.
The Avenues-based roaster and café Jack Mormon Coffee, located in a former art gallery space, offers 50 to 70 different types of coffee (beans or ground) inside brown sacks, stored in a room that reminds you of the town store you might buy grain from (if it were designed by postmodern grad students). You want something from Indonesia? Done. You want an air-roasted breakfast brew packaged for you while sampling a Guatemalan dark roast? Done, done and done. Jack Mormon Coffee wants you to get invested in your coffee, and they’ve laid everything out for you. You can order wholesale or try a cup in store and out of store, on a walk down some beautiful Avenues street.
Sydney Groesbeck, manager of Jack Mormon Coffee, has advised me that “the two things you should do before taking that first sip of coffee is to close your eyes and clear your mind,” she says. “Then, tip back the cup and let it hit your tongue. Your brain will slowly start to pick up on all the different flavors that way.” For instance, the Blue Krishna coffee type from Kintamani Highlands and Central Bali has “subtle dark cedar, dark chocolate and an earth taste, with a long, smooth finish and low acidity,” as stated on Jack Mormon’s simple and well-functioning website. At the store, I ordered Bener Meriah from North Sumatra, Indonesia—with tasting notes of “heavy full body, sweet, syrupy, subtle cedar and caramel”—because I had received a tip that Indonesian coffee is the beez kneez (not a millennial word—seek Urban Dictionary or a Bill Hader movie).
Jack Mormon Coffee has a unique roasting process. It’s essentially air roasting on a commercial level, as opposed to the traditional drum roasting, which is unique in this industry. Roasting techniques vary, but most commercial roasters are drum roasters, while most home roasters are air roasters. However, this is just an indication that process and preferences vary like the methods. I suggest trying them all and rocking the one that works.
Jack Mormon Coffee markets their products to the individual rather than to big companies. So, they are able to roast their coffees to customers’ specific tastes. This is why they’re successful—all from word of mouth. Groesbeck explains that they even go so far as to make sure that the farmers who supply the beans are properly compensated. They grind and brew by the cup, so if you visit their shop, you can experience all the varieties of roasting yourself.
Groesbeck and I talk about the healthy effects of coffee for a minute, and she explains, “Coffee gets a bad rap, but it’s actually pretty healthy. It’s good for your heart, it helps prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s really good for your liver, especially if you drink.” She then adds, “The fresher the coffee, the healthier it is.”
The shop’s environment is also an important aspect of Jack Mormon Coffee, because a coffee shop should suggest the social aspect of coffee. Jack Mormon offers espresso drinks, Clover-brewed coffee, nitro cold brew and more. There, the baristas have to be not only friendly but also to engage the customers and help them find options in their personal coffee while realizing preferences that they might not have even been aware of. If you want to test their knowledge, start with questions about your favorite fruits, nuts and sweets. “We open at 8 and arrive an hour earlier to make sure everything is roasted fresh and perfect for the customers,” says Groesbeck. “I check out other coffee houses to see everything that’s being offered and check the quality of what’s around. I want to make sure we’re staying competitive.”
Going forward, Jack Mormon Coffee wants you to get involved with your coffee. “Get invested,” were the words Groesbeck used in describing her hopes. They want your questions, odd suggestions, peculiar tastes, exotic brewing techniques and more. They want you to know that they are there for all your coffee needs, and more importantly, they want to work with you to create the best coffee experience imaginable. Jack Mormon wants to help create the community and social metabolism that stems from that first sip. When you close your eyes, clear your mind and wait for the clarity, neuro-correspondence and flavor transmission in your favorite cup of joe … or julia.
In addition to their storefront, Jack Mormon Coffee is available on jackmormoncoffee.com, on tap at Red Rock Brewery and up at the University of Utah’s Two Creek Coffee House. I highly suggest visiting the store in person, and if you do, make sure to ask the oddest coffee-related questions you can think of. The baristas might surprise you. Just don’t order a 20-oz. cappuccino. I mean, do you really need to waste that much milk when what you really wanted was a latte? Just sayin’.