SENNETT — Behind Simple Roast Coffee is a simple truth: It's the only place in town to get coffee that was roasted in town.

Well, it will be. Tentatively set to open Saturday, Sept. 3, in in the former Nana's Cafe in Grant Avenue Plaza, Simple Roast will serve coffee personally roasted by owner Matthew Peirson, of Camillus.

A coffee lover, he began roasting it as a hobby while studying entrepreneurship at SUNY Oswego. He'd then sell his beans and grounds at farmers markets. 

"Watching people enjoy something I created was really a big part of it for me," he said Friday.

Coffee Mania in Cortland, which roasts and serves its own coffee, seeded in Peirson a desire to open his open shop. But he was content to run his roasting business — until Nana's closed.

Alerted to the opportunity by Coffee Mania owners Craig and Michelle Brooks, Peirson jumped on it. He said the Brookses told him their drive-through customers in Cortland had expressed hope a similar place would open in the Auburn area, and Peirson feels the Sennett hut is perfectly located to meet the demand.

"It seemed like the town was ready for this type of thing," he said.


Simple Roast Coffee, a drive-through business, is opening in early September in Grant Avenue Plaza in Sennett.

Peirson will work full-time at Simple Roast, along with another full-time employee and a part-time one.

The menu includes hot and iced coffee, lattes, mochas and more in 12-, 16- and 20-ounce servings, all made from his fair trade, organic roasts. Espressos will be prepared on an "old school" semi-automatic E61 Legend machine, Peirson said. And none of the beverages will be served more than two weeks past their roasting date.

Additionally, Peirson will serve loose-leaf teas from Salt City Roasters in Syracuse and muffins from Half Moon Bakery & Bistro in Jamesville. He's also leaving room for Simple Roast to expand, either in its hours or in the inventory of its baked goods.

Unlike the space's previous occupants, however, Peirson won't be serving ice cream. He'll instead refer sweet tooths to Scoops Ice Cream Shop down Grant Avenue, as he's been doing since he began setting up shop as Simple Roast.

For now, Peirson is focused on establishing Simple Roast in the Auburn area as an approachable local brand. He encourages the curious to ask questions; he and the staff will be happy to explain any unfamiliar drink on the menu in order to help make people comfortable with Simple Roast Coffee.

"Even though I have a superior product, my goal is to be the every-person coffee," he said. "I want my grandparents to be able to come here, too."

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Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


Features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.