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Noble Coffee Roasting

Many's the time I have been at a local restaurant and been told with delight that they served Noble coffee. I have enjoyed the taste of the coffee and knew of the company from word of mouth.

The story was that they were a small business located in someone's garage in Talent. The hope was that one day they would have a real place of their own.

Now they do. After two years in the garage, Noble Coffee Roasting began roasting in its new location on Fourth Street in Ashland in January. It's the former site of a music venue. Before that it was home to a theatrical performing group. And before that it was a film studio. It's a spot that is used to welcoming and entertaining visitors

The coffee shop opened for folks to come in, sit down and enjoy a cup less than two weeks ago. Like the tanks in some micro-breweries, the roasters are visible in one part of the building.

It didn't take long for the word to get out. Coffee lovers have been frequenting the new establishment and are on their way to becoming regulars. The space is large, insulated above for sound and has plenty of tables and counter space.

The first time I was there I had a latte for $3.25. The barista added the steamed milk while I watched and finished with a decorative swirl.

The coffeehad a very smooth taste which meant that the people at Noble know what they're doing when it comes to roasting — at least for this coffee-lover's taste. Over-roasting can burn the beans and give the coffee a bitter taste. The beans that made my latte were not burnt. I also had a mini apricot croissant for $1.50, which hit the spot. Two of them would have been as big as one regular-sized croissant, which costs $2.25.

The people at Noble are owner Jared Rennie, his wife Carolyn, Steve and Kelly Sacks and Caleb and Libby Peterson.

"Noble Coffee Roasting has been my dream for years," Jared says in his brochure. He named the business after his late grandfather, Noble Dukes, who remains a source of inspiration.

As a college student Jared worked at a coffee-roasting business in Jacksonville, starting as a barista, learning the skill of espresso preparation. Eventually he became head coffee roaster.

"Over the years, however, my obsession with coffee has only increased as I have spent countless hours learning about coffee history, chemistry, roasting, grinding, brewing and every other aspect of coffee imaginable," he says.

The raw green beans at Noble are 100 percent certified organic, fairly traded, Arabica beans from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ethiopia and Sumatra. They are roasted in small batches in a 12-kilo Probat roaster.

In addition to the usual coffee drinks, Noble offers cold-brewed coffee for $2, ice-dripped coffee for $2 and rishi chai for $3.25.

The second time I went there, I brought my wife and several friends. One of our companions had a Shot in the Dark, which is coffee with a shot of espresso for $3. Another had a decaf Americano, which is espresso and hot water for $2. My wife had herbal ice tea for $2. They brought her a jar of the dried herbs for her to sample the aroma before they infused it — a nice touch. I had a cappuccino for $2.75.

We were all very happy with our drinks and celebrated with a few lemon bars for $1.75. One of our friends remarked that she had eaten many a lemon bar in her day, but these were the best. They were very lemony, and not too sweet.

Like the coffee, the lemon bars were made on the premises. So are the food selections, which are available until 2 p.m. These include a hot pastrami sandwich for $7.50, a New York sub for $8.50 and oven-roasted turkey for $7.75. There are salads, too: the Noble House Salad for $5 and the Seasonal Salad for $5. Both would work for vegetarians. So would the fruit and cheese plate for $7.75.

So, if you want to try some tasty coffee made by people serious about their java, this is the place.

A sign inside proclaims "All drinks organic. All drinks made well." I believe it.

— Richard Moeschl