Morning Bell Might Be the Best New Roaster in Town That You Haven't Heard of Yet
If the name Morning Bell Coffee Roasters doesn't ring, well, a bell, don't worry. Nadav Mer and his wife Dara Wald opened up off 11th and Grand avenues just about two weeks ago now. Roasting beans from a farmer and friend in Nicaragua, Mer is making some of the most unique coffee in town. His small roastery space and tasting room operates four hours a day on weekdays only, but if you love coffee, it's well worth the trip.
Heather Hoch There's a new coffee roaster in town, and their name is Morning Bell.
Mer, his wife, and his daughter all moved to Chandler when his wife got a new job as a post-doc researcher at ASU. Before that, the young family lived in Gainesville, Florida, where they ran a larger-scale roastery called Tree City Coffee Roasters. With about four years of roasting experience, Mer certainly isn't the most experienced roaster in town, but his connection to his farmers is one-of-a-kind.
Right now Mer offers one bean with a medium roast. It comes in either washed or natural varieties at $16 per pound. That bean comes from the Selva Negra farm in Nicaragua, which Mer visited with his wife and daughter, who was only one year old at the time. Mer directly deals with the organic farm, though he plans on expanding his offerings to include an espresso roast, a decaf, and a Brazillian bean in the future.
Mer roasts this bean in the medium range, which, when brewed, exposes a strong butterscotch flavor, but also leaves a very clean, bright finish. Admittedly, he says he prefers this coffee lightly roasted, which he describes as "almost abrasive" and "intense" if you aren't used to the experience. In general, he says he prefers light roasts the same way meat lovers prefer rare steaks.
"It's like cooking meat: the more you char it, the more it tastes like the grill," he explains. "Lighter roasts retain more of those origin flavors."
Heather Hoch Nadav Mer roasts on one of the smallest commercial roasters on the market.
However, like steaks, medium is pretty much industry standard for a more universal appeal, so that's what he roasts at. Four years ago, Mer taught himself the art of roasting on a converted barbecue that he built into a roaster after deciding coffee, and not homebrewing, was the path for him.