My Order

Get to Know Stay Golden Coffee Co

This Nashville roaster wants to make you smile.

by Team Trade | July 03, 2020

Put simply, Stay Golden Coffee Co wants to make you smile. Whether that’s by experiencing a delightful blend at home or via a trip to their Nashville, Tennessee restaurant, coffee roaster, and bar for a taste of their crispy potatoes and hot sauce, they’re sure to do just that!

How was Stay Golden founded?

Stay Golden was founded because we think the greatest way to show people love is by making them a great cup of coffee. Hospitality is at the core of who we are. We love that we can support so many people through coffee roasting and we try to use that to make a change for the better in our world.

What are Stay Golden's leading principles?

The Golden Rule: do unto others. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Tell us about your team.

Our roastery team is a small, passionate group of coffee professionals. There are six of us here full time and a few of us have known each other for the last eight plus years.

  • Sean Stewart, Founder & Director of Roasting, leads the team in sourcing what coffee we purchase and keeps us on budget. Stay Golden is Sean's heart and soul. Everything we do represents what he thinks and feels passionate about.
  • Chelsea Kallman, Regional Sales Associate, focuses on creating and maintaining wholesale relationships for Stay Golden. She writes a good deal of the content that tells our story and shares our passion. She has been a part of the team since before Stay Golden opened.
  • Lee Sill, QC Trainer/Manager, uses his extensive coffee knowledge and kind personality to train all our wholesale partners. He's gotten really fast atrecalibrating a Fetco recipe and loves talking football, theology, and Wendell Berry.

What is the experience of drinking coffee in your space?

Our restaurant is inviting. We have a good deal of space (around 2,000 square feet) and we have lots of different kinds of seating (now spread at social distances!). What I love about our restaurant is that I'll look up from my work and at any time I'll see two moms having breakfast with their toddlers, guys in suits eating lunch, a couple getting mimosas, a graphic designer on their computer, college students having a conversation, or generations of families eating a meal together. We've somehow created a space that appeals to many different types of people at all different walks of life. We truly want everyone to feel welcome here and I'm glad to see that happening.

You treat coffee, food, and cocktails as equals, what are your all-time favorite pairings?

Sean's favorite dream food/drink pairing would be a tempranillo wine from Spain while eating his favorite meal of roast lamb and squash grown at Finca Cedral Alto (our coffee partners) with Jorge and his family in Terrazu, Costa Rica. But, if we're being basic it would be a cup of Chin Up with a glazed donut.

What is your approach to sourcing?

Sean asks himself three questions when he's tasting a potential coffee. Does it taste clean? Is it sweet? Is it balanced? If those three qualities aren't present then we say no.

With every coffee we purchase we want to be able to taste the terroir of the land. If we think the processing aids in that experience we might buy the natural or the red honey version. More often than not though you'll see our menu filled with washed coffees. Sean's favorite taste note in coffee is stone fruit and Chelsea's is anything tropical.

The entire team gets a say in the coffees we bring in, but Sean makes the final choice first on taste, second on rounding out our menu with a variety of origins (and obviously seasonality), and third the price range we are looking to fill at that time.

How do you name your blends?

Just like our restaurant, we want our blend names to be inviting and really just plain fun. We want someone who's never experienced our brand before to pick up a bag and smile or feel encouraged. Occasionally we'll have a failed blend experiment. Internally we name those "Stay Bronze"

How does your community impact Stay Golden?

At the end of the day we believe coffee is a vehicle for social and environmental change. People come together over coffee to make plans and change the world for good.

For this to happen, people have to first love our product effortlessly and enjoy their experience. We really try to source coffees that we know our fans are wanting to taste - they want sweetness and balance in their cup - and we keep this in mind every time we are tasting for a new coffee.

What's Nashville's coffee scene like?

We are so lucky to have a really robust coffee scene in Nashville and it's continually growing. I remember a time in Nashville coffee when getting a Ethiopian Sidamo on batch brew with your bagel and cream cheese was cool — albeit while sitting at a table with a folded piece of cardboard under a leg to keep it from wobbling. (And fairly, it still is!). But then over the years shops opened with focus on pour overs, multi roaster programs, full food and cocktail programs, manual espresso, latte art was taught instead of discovered, gorgeously designed, experiential spaces where hospitality is the focus.

Many of us on the roastery team have been a part of coffee since before third wave happened here (which I would note as 2007 when Crema first opened up). The amount of growth and innovation we have seen happen during that time (and that we personally have gotten to be a part of and have our hands in) has been incredible. We have all had moments in our careers where we've stopped and said, "This is a once in a lifetime experience." or "We'll tell our kids about this moment." Many of those have happened here at Stay Golden for me. We count ourselves lucky to be in the presence of so many passionate individuals with a heart to serve others and we are proud that we are a brand that can continue to help share the culture here in Nashville and beyond.

Do you serve any signature menu items?

We didn't invent the wheel here, but if you ever get to visit our restaurant you should get the crispy potatoes and dip them in our hot sauce. But, something we did invent (at least to our knowledge) is what we called "rested espresso".

Nathanael Mehrens, one of our founders, created this years ago as a way to incorporate espresso into cocktails and other beverages. Essentially you pull shots of espresso and then pause their oxygenation by preserving them in sugar. One of our coffee cocktails called "A Better Morning" utilizes this method.

— Chelsea Kallman, Regional Sales Associate, Stay Golden Coffee Co