A chat with Ben Turiano from Joe Bean Coffee Roasters in Rochester


Ben Turiano has slowly been changing Western New York’s perception of coffee, one hario pour over at a time. With a smile and the affable personality that says I love what I do, Ben is able to make what could be an intimidating chemistry lab into a simple cup of nuanced, balanced, and delicate coffee. Joe Bean Coffee Roasters found a home in an unassuming neighborhood of Rochester and has been offering brew to order and hand pulled espresso drinks since May of 2011. What started as a coffee shop and café turned into the ultimate exemplification of the “3rd wave” of coffee roasting on a bit of a whim.

Ben’s mother and her business partner Dina decided to start roasting their own beans after attending Coffee Fest. Some six years later, and in a different venue on a quiet tree lined street, Joe Bean has evolved from its beginnings. In a market where soups, sandwiches, flavor syrups are the norm, Joe Bean left the herd and started a new path to a purer cup of coffee. Citing depth, complexity, and balance as the standards for the coffee for which they brew, Joe Bean coffee is serious business.

Ben is co- owner, flavor profiler, purchaser, barista, and an all around affable personality of Joe Bean.  Ben’s palate has developed with the growth of the business, viewing him as much more self aware today than in his formative coffee years.  “When I first started roasting coffee I would taste and say to myself, wow, this is the best coffee ever.  Today my palate has developed more and I really want to make a better, more interesting, balanced cup than I did yesterday.” Little details like a personal espresso tamper that measures tenths of a millimeter larger than the standard size make it evident that he is always looking to improve and grow. This quest for perfection and attention to detail sets Joe Bean apart. Induction burners, buona water kettles, gram scales, burr grinders, coffee siphons, and multiple Kyoto cold brew towers are just a few of the physical tools that are in use that set the shop apart. Very well versed on the science of the cup, Ben can help you understand that brewing is about dissolving around 19% of the soluble compounds in coffee and how that affects flavor and mouth feel. He can also just make a damn good espresso without pretense and you can enjoy it in the comfortable raw wood laden coffee shop.  A coffee at Joe Bean can be whatever you want it to be.

In this quest to broaden his experience as a coffee professional, Ben has done some pretty cool compilation projects with Roc Brewing in Rochester.  Together they produce limited run beers, focusing on matching character of the coffee to the brew.  A Kyoto drip IPA turned out golden in color pulled out the sweet grain aspect of the beer and produced a very balanced beer.  The second of these limited beer runs was a Belgian Blonde with Siphon style Rwandan coffee evoked a rich molasses nose with slight raspberry flavor.

In the shop, a huge focus for Ben and the future of Joe Bean is offering a wider coffee experience. They are interested in brewing another beer around the New Year. Offering food and coffee pairings, expanding their wine and beer menu, and Thursday night tasting sessions are just a few of the extracurricular events and ideas they offer and are developing.  Through coffee classes and the Thursday tasting, the shop is showcasing home brewing methods, the variance of altitudes of coffee side by side, as well as food and coffee pairing experience classes for both the novice and the coffee geek.

The shop features different beans from the world around that are drastically different and roasted to showcase  the bean’s unique characteristic. Ben really gets excited about matching Roger Mairena’s Nicaraguan Pachi plant coffee with Chemex brewing method.  Talking about how the plant produces beans each year that are unique, Ben lights up talking about the previous year’s Pachi compared to this.  Last year it was green apple, with a soft delicate floral nature, and finishing a bit of toasted grain.  This years product he explains has the same delicate points, but finishes more with a tobacco flavor.  He loves that no two seasons, even from the same farmer, same plants, on the same plot, are alike.  Much like a wine growing region, there used to be a thumbprint of what works in certain areas.  In that way Mairena takes on the role of a Super Tuscan winemaker, taking atypical heirloom coffee plant varieties and tests them in different altitudes.  He also is trying different processing methods that are producing wonderfully unique results.  It is this maverick spirit that Ben finds fascinating, and truly appreciates his beans as some of the most exciting available.

Joe bean is shipping gift boxes of coffee for your convenience.  If you really want to geek out check out their latte art “throwdowns,” where baristas battle to determine who is the Egon Schiele of frothed milk. Or one can just pop in for an expertly hand pulled espresso from Ben and let the new era of coffee crash over you. It’s the most relaxing caffeine rush in town.

The shop sells its house-roasted coffees daily. They also feature a plethora of home brewing items for sale.  Ask your barista to help you select a bean for your home brew.

Joe Bean Coffee Roasters

1344 University Avenue, Rochester, NY