Stop and smell the coffee

Walking into the new Shamballa Caf (c) and Coffee Roasters, you are immediately enveloped by the smell of coffee. Not just fresh-brewed coffee, but freshly roasted coffee beans. That's because owners Emmet and Jean Simpson of Lysander roast all of their own beans every day at 34 Oswego St.

"The biggest thing we offer is the freshness of the coffee," Emmet said.

Shamballa (shahm-bah-LAH) began when Jean asked Emmet for a small home roaster last Christmas. Although it took them an hour and a half to roast a pound of coffee, the Simpsons were hooked.

"We liked the freshness factor of the coffee when you roast it yourself," Jean explained.

They have since purchased a much larger and more efficient roaster for the caf (c) that is able to roast a pound of coffee in only 13 to 16 minutes. The caf (c) boasts an impressive variety of coffees from all over the world including Kenya, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Guatemala, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia and Hawaii. Free samples of different roasts are always available and customers are welcome to watch a bean roast in action.

"I never realized until I started getting into this how different coffees were," Emmet said. "All of the coffees are roasted by country of origin. We roast them medium so that people can taste the nuances of the coffee. We also want to let people know that most of our coffee is Fair Trade certified and organic. We support giving the farmers a fair wage and by getting their coffee here, people are really supporting the farmers cup by cup."

"Lots of people have come in and asked us for special roasts and we're happy to do that," Jean added.

Shamballa offers a coffee club card to reward frequent visitors and also sells their freshly roasted beans.

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