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Meet the man behind the java that keeps Lowcountry eateries abuzz
Kurt Weinberger likes to joke that everyone in town has had his coffee, whether they know it or not. After all, his North Charleston-based company has been roasting custom blends for restaurants and coffeehouses like Peninsula Grill, Cypress, and Kaminsky’s for some 16 years. But its name, King Bean, rarely comes up until a customer inquires about the stellar cup of joe they’re sipping.
“Few outside the restaurant business have heard of us, but I’m okay with that,” says Kurt of the small operation he runs with help from wife Katie. His interest in the industry began brewing in the early ’90s, as he watched coffee kiosks populate Seattle, where he was stationed with the Navy. Back home on Hilton Head, he started selling espresso machines out of his parents’ garage, and that led to wholesale coffee roasting.
“I naturally targeted Charleston restaurants, and SNOB was my first client. They’re still with me today,” notes Kurt, who moved to the Holy City in 1996. He gained customers from Beaufort to Columbia, working with restaurants to create blends that matched their cuisine.
Though King Bean hasn’t expanded into retail yet, “we’ve got diehards who seek us out to buy coffee,” says Kurt. “If you can find us, you’re welcome to follow suit!”
3356 Meeting Street Rd., North Charleston, (843) 722-7650, www.kingbeancoffee.com