It’s a new endeavor, Between Friends Roasting Company, the business Husein Noorani and Carly Baker Noorani run from their Ardmore home. But the fledgling roasting company is the real deal, cultivated over years the couple spent brewing coffee (Carly was a teenage barista), picking coffee beans in Guatemala (that was Husein), and together studying everything from the harvest to the trade to the roasting process.
Backstory: Both Carly and Husein were school teachers when they met in California; they went on to teach in schools in Philly and then for three years in Mexico. It was there that they learned the most about the coffee trade, and about Capomo, which is not widely celebrated (or even widely known) in America — though it’s a food Latin Americans have cultivated and consumed since Mayan times.
Here’s the deal with Capomo: It’s a seed from the fruit of the Capomo tree, and it’s super high in folic acid, antioxidants, potassium, vitamins and other nutrients — and it’s free of gluten, allergens, alkaloids, and caffeine. It can be roasted and added to smoothies, baked into sweets, sprinkled over yogurt … or brewed like coffee. (And unlike much decaf coffee, it goes through no chemical process to strip it of caffeine.) In fact, there’s tryptophan in it as well, so a cup of the stuff is actually calming.
While the pair was in Mexico, says Carly, “[w]e were talking to people around town, and it came up that we were trying to get pregnant. This was recommended to us. A lot of locals drink it — and it’s been considered since Mayan times to help with fertility. And it’s very nourishing for women when they’re pregnant and breastfeeding.” Still, because it’s a somewhat limited resource (the tree only grows in certain areas of Latin America) that also happens to require a fairly arduous harvesting process (birds eat the fruit and drop the seed; harvesters collect the seeds from the forest floor), Capomo is still a relative rarity in the States.
Like coffee, the seed (which is sometimes called a nut) is roasted and ground before being brewed: “If you brew it in a French press,” Carly says, “it tastes very much like coffee — it’s nutty, a little chocolatey, but without any of coffee’s bitterness. It’s almost like a cross between coffee and tea.” (Making it in a drip brewer works, too, though it tastes less like coffee in that case, and offers slightly less nutrition.)
When I was pregnant, it was that slightly bitter bite of coffee that made me wretch; I spent nine months avoiding it … but constantly wanting something heartier than green tea, and healthier than Swiss Miss. I would have been all over this stuff. The caffeine-free aspect might come in handy for some, too. Carly, an avowed coffee lover, is still drinking it in lieu of the strong stuff almost three months after their son, Hafiz, was born: “If I even have a tiny sip, just to taste with Husein has just roasted, it gives my son reflux.”
Of course, if caffeine doesn’t bother you (and you think the idea of living without it is crazy talk), you can also get roasted-to-order single origin and blended versions from Between Friends — you can see what all they’re selling here. Visit the site, and you’ll see that they’re running an incredibly virtuous business: sustainably minded, eco-friendly, fair-trade, socially just — they only work with small, women-owned co-ops. Even the packaging is completely compostable. (Even to a dedicated Dunkin’ drinker … that’s all appealing, no?) You can read more and do your ordering on the Between Friends site.