Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting in Peterborough strives to create the perfect coffee

Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting owner Mason Parker stands behind the counter at his Peterborough cafe.

Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting owner Mason Parker stands behind the counter at his Peterborough cafe. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

Eleanor Parker prepares a shot of espresso behind the counter of Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting.

Eleanor Parker prepares a shot of espresso behind the counter of Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

 Mason Parker displays a container of roasted coffee beans.

Mason Parker displays a container of roasted coffee beans. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

Aside from its house-roasted coffee, Parker and Sons also carries a variety of locally made goods and a small selection of toys.

Aside from its house-roasted coffee, Parker and Sons also carries a variety of locally made goods and a small selection of toys. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

Raw, unroasted coffee beans.

Raw, unroasted coffee beans. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

After roasting, the coffee beans are deposited into this cooling tray, which agitates the beans to speed up the cooling process.

After roasting, the coffee beans are deposited into this cooling tray, which agitates the beans to speed up the cooling process. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

A selection of the goods on sale at Parker and Sons.

A selection of the goods on sale at Parker and Sons. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

The coffee roaster at Parker and Sons can roast up to 25 pounds of coffee beans at a time.

The coffee roaster at Parker and Sons can roast up to 25 pounds of coffee beans at a time. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

About half-a-year’s worth of raw coffee beans sit in the backroom of Parker and Sons, waiting to be roasted.

About half-a-year’s worth of raw coffee beans sit in the backroom of Parker and Sons, waiting to be roasted. CAMERON CASHMAN/Ledger-Transcript photo

By CAMERON CASHMAN

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-09-2024 1:52 PM

Modified: 04-17-2024 8:53 AM


Coffee-drinkers may find themselves wondering, “Why do I like some coffee and not others?”

It’s this exact question that drove Mason Parker, the owner of Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting in Peterborough, to start researching the coffee-roasting process back in 2011.

“I’m from a long line of coffee-drinkers,” Parker said. “But I found I didn’t generally like coffee too much – until I would try good coffee.”

Hoping to find what makes a good cup of coffee, he started sampling different types of coffee beans by roasting them at home using a small Whirley Pop popcorn-maker – and found he loved the results.

“I felt like this was something people didn’t know about – why they like one coffee and not another,” he said. “Maybe it was the roast level, or a certain origin. It was something I wanted to learn more about.”

Parker soon discovered he loved roasting coffee, so he decided to go into business to share both the knowledge he had learned and a product he was proud of.

Parker and Sons started off in 2013 as a side business. As Parker was working with his father in construction, he would also sell his coffee beans at several farmers’ markets in the area. His business started growing into the wholesale market, and he eventually left construction to pursue coffee-roasting full-time. Soon, his brand was in 30 New Hampshire stores.

As business grew, so did his operation. He upgraded to a larger 8-pound coffee roaster, and eventually opened a brick-and-mortar cafe in the Noone Falls area of Peterborough in 2015. He was able to set up a dining area, serve coffee by the cup and offer light fare such as salads and baked goods.

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The company moved to its current location on Hancock Road in Peterborough in 2018, where it began focusing more on to-go orders. This allowed it to stay open and afloat during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These days, Parker is using a coffee roaster that can roast up to 25 pounds of coffee beans in just 15 minutes. The unroasted beans are loaded into a tank which heats and agitates the beans until they pop – much like popcorn. This, Parker said, is known as “first crack,” which results in a lighter roast with a brighter, earthier taste.

Parker explained that residents of rural New England prefer medium or dark-roasted coffee, so many of his beans are roasted until they pop again, known as “second crack.” The additional roasting time results in a darker, smokier flavor.

But roasting time is just one part of the equation, said Parker.

“Often times, people will say to me, ‘I can’t drink coffee any more, it upsets my stomach,’” he said. “That’s probably because, over here in America, we drink a lot of South American coffee – that’s highly acidic.”

For less-acidic coffee, Parker suggests trying coffee from other regions around the world. In particular, he likes to recommend his Sumatran beans, which brew a smoother-tasting coffee compared to beans from South American countries like Colombia, where most of the coffee found here in the United States comes from.

Parker and Son’s flagship roast uses beans from Burundi, resulting in “a full, rich coffee flavor – and it’s very smooth. All of my coffees are smooth, but the Burundi especially.”

They use the the Burundi beans in their signature drink – the maple latte – along with a healthy portion of maple syrup courtesy of Ben’s Sugar Shack.

Parker sees a bright future ahead for Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting. He has recently been focusing on expanding the company’s online sales. So far, he has shipped his coffee to Ohio, Florida, Texas and California, and even Europe and Australia.

And when it comes time for him to retire, Parker hopes one of his children will take over the company. For customers who stop in today, there’s a good chance they’ll see some of them behind the counter.

Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting and Cafe can be found at 166 Hancock Road in Peterborough.