Lake Geneva Resident Roasts Fresh Coffee for Community

After years of drinking pre-ground coffee, Lake Geneva resident Jeremiah Fox decided to try a new venture and roast his own. When family and friends responded positively, Fox realized he had stumbled upon a new business opportunity and decided to give it a shot.

Fox and his wife have operated Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery for the past two years, and the Geneva Lakes area has begun to take notice.

Although customers might know the Foxes’ coffee is made with a clean-air roaster — which uses electricity to heat up the air rather than natural gas, as 95 percent of other roasters use — Fox has more unique methods that he employs to produce his product.

That’s because he’s blind, so he has adapted the shop’s roaster to include tactile points and a talking timer so that he doesn’t over roast the beans.

“I use my other senses to make up for the fact that I can’t see the coffee beans,” Fox says.

He also uses audible cues. The first crack of the beans sounds like toothpicks cracking, whereas the second crack sounds more like Rice Krispies popping. When the beans lose mass as the moisture escapes, the sound becomes more muted, he says.

“There are no unwanted additives in my coffee, and I think that’s a tribute to why it has a smooth finish, and I think the way I roast attributes to why my coffee is so good,” Fox says.

Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery sells four blends, including Guatemalan decaf, an artisan medium roast, “Wake the Lake Blend” dark roast and a Colombian medium/dark roast. The coffee plants come to the roastery from a California importer.

What separates Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery from other roasters is the fact that Fox only will roast about 50 pounds of coffee an hour, whereas bigger roasters produce about 400 pounds at once. “I do small batches and focus on consistency and quality,” Fox says. “We’re looking to be a local presence and give people good, quality coffee.”

Fox started sharing his roasted coffee with others because his goal is to bring the freshest coffee possible to the area. His fresh blends can be found in rooms at Lake Geneva’s Seven Oaks Inn, and Fox hopes to expand to similar locations. “If people in the community are happy, I’m happy,” he says.

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