Meet the Maker: Scott Weigand, Coffee Maker

Meet the Maker: Scott Weigand, Coffee Maker

“I just finished Brazil right now, Sumatra's in, and then next I go to Espresso. Three batches of Espresso today.”

Scott Weigand, owner of Brave Coffee and Tea, narrates his work plan as he glides around his new Mill City Roasters coffee roaster, checking the temperature, listening for the crack of the beans, monitoring the computer connected to the roaster, inspecting samples.

“Coffee is artistic,” he explains, “in the sense that every coffee is different. A coffee from Ethiopia, it tastes different than a coffee from Columbia or from Sumatra. And part of my job is to find those flavors and figure out how to bring those flavors out, so that, when you taste a coffee, it doesn't just taste like the regular thing—you want there to be different flavors for each thing… because of where it's grown, because of the soil there, because of the atmosphere. They're all different. And so you don't want it to just taste like Folgers.”

“You don't want it to taste like something that your grandmother was drinking,” he continues. “You want it to have those little things. And that, to me, is almost artistic in a sense—finding those things and pulling 'em out and creating each coffee.”

Scott, whose roasting facility is hidden away in the southeastern corner of Waterbury, has been steeped in the coffee world for 20 years, working first as a barista and a trainer. Then, 10 years ago, he was working for Brave, and the owner decided it was time to move on and move out West. “So I asked him how much he wanted for the company,” Scott says, “and made a deal and it sort of took off from there.”

For the first few years, Brave roasted all its coffee to order, but now they have ramped up to a more predictable schedule, roasting almost every day of the week to keep the roll of fresh roasts pushing out the door. And they still put the roasting date on every bag, which Scott says is very important (not the “sell by” date, which means “who knows when it was roasted?” he says). Coffee starts to go bad, he says, 90 days from roasting, so the roast date is a good thing to know. As for Brave, if one of their retailers has coffee that's over three months old, Scott says, “we exchange it for them and give them fresh bags.”

Brave's business is a balanced mix of sales to coffee shops that don’t roast, sales to retailers, and online sales direct to consumers, which he says “skyrocketed during the pandemic and has just continued to steadily grow little by little.” Brave also offers a special selection of teas, a canned cold brew, and retails related Vermont-made foods and coffee essentials on its website.

“Really, the big thing for me is creating something that people are taking into their homes and consuming on a daily basis,” Scott says. “I don't know that people always think about where their coffee is coming from, which is fine. But I think about it… Those are people who have made the choice to have a cup of Brave coffee every single morning. They get up, they make that, maybe they're not thinking about it every single day, but they've made that choice.”

And the fact that they are choosing to purchase and consume a Vermont-crafted product, Scott says, brings him joy.

The Vermont Maker Project

Telling stories about makers across the state of Vermont. Vermont makers wear Vermont Flannel. Stories and photos by StoryWorkz. Learn more at 

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