In Statesboro, the phrase “cool beans” isn’t an out-of-date statement of excitement… it’s one of the most popular spots to get coffee.
Owned by David Hoyle, 57, Cool Beanz Espresso Bar is located in downtown Statesboro on South Main Street and has a very unique atmosphere to it. It’s had several locations in Statesboro before ending up in the current location.
Hoyle is a military child born to Lt. Col. Thomas L. Hoyle and Kathy Hoyle. He was born in California and grew up along with his two brothers and one sister in Augusta, Georgia. Hoyle’s father passed away last year before seeing the newest location of Cool Beanz, but he had been excited for the business’ move prior to his death. Hoyle’s mom still resides in Augusta.
Between his three siblings, Hoyle has 14 nieces and nephews and two great-nieces.
“We all attended and graduated from Georgia Southern. We all moved away from Statesboro except Stephen. He stayed in education and is retiring this year. My older brother, Phil, followed in my dad’s footsteps and joined the Army. Since he retired, he has been working as a business development executive for several government contractors. My sister lives in Cleveland and takes care of her two sons that have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA),” he said.
After an 18-year retail career at Freidmans Jewelers (located in the Statesboro Mall for those readers who aren’t Statesboro natives), Hoyle worked doing liquidation work and then worked as a project manager for a telecom company — the company had several government contracts.
“(This) allowed me to work and live in San Antonio and Kansas City and I was able to travel around the world,” he said.
When he was younger, Hoyle lived in Japan. One of his hobbies — besides coffee — is travel. He’s climbed Mount Fuji, visited England, France, Germany, Belgium, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
“I really got excited when I was working in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela and was able to drink really fresh coffee,” he said.
He calls that fresh coffee (grown in country) the “highlight of the trip to Venezuela.”
Hoyle came up with the idea of owning a coffee shop while he lived in Kansas City because of the “great coffee scene” there.
Tired of working for someone else, Hoyle decided that he wanted to open his own coffee shop. After finding a “great deal on used coffee equipment,” Hoyle began to teach himself how to roast coffee. How does one teach themselves to roast coffee, you might ask?
Hoyle said he learned online and “asked questions of my coffee importer and roaster manufacturers. Not having any formal training or apprenticeships gave me the opportunity to roast to taste and not coffee industry trends. I have always roasted coffee to the level that I thought tasted good and hoped that customers would enjoy it too. I’ve been very lucky that they have.”
The business community in Statesboro tends to be a great place for entrepreneurs — and Hoyle is proof.
“This community is amazing! Great people live in Bulloch County,” he said.
When a business owner loves their own product and creating new and exciting items for their customers, a business typically becomes a success.
“I enjoyed coffee and saw a need for a coffee shop that offered handmade coffee. Not just out of a brewer. We make almost all of our coffee by hand. All espresso by hand,” he said.
In addition to offering a custom roasted coffee that is prepared by hand, Hoyle’s mantra is great customer service.
“I tell everyone I hire that we are in the customer service industry and that we just happen to sell coffee,” he said, smiling.
And sell coffee they do — the top selling item at Cool Beanz each month is cold brew coffee.
He figured out the cold brew recipe the same way he figured out how to roast coffee — researching methods and asking questions, tweaking and changing the recipe until he was happy.
Originally he was making iced manual pours for iced coffee, but as the volume grew, Hoyle began to delve deeper into the concept.
“I researched different methods and settled on cold brew. I found a recipe online and have been tweaking and improving it ever since. We started out making one gallon every two weeks and are now making 18 gallons every other day,” he said.
Statesboro is definitely a coffee-drinking town, especially with the number of college students in town, but the volume of coffee that Cool Beanz used for cold brew last summer is astounding.
“Last summer, there were several times we were making 18 gallons every day. What sets our cold brew apart is the research I conduct when selecting the coffee, the way the coffee is roasted and the care and love we put into brewing each batch,” Hoyle said.
After tasting some of Cool Beanz cold brew (with cream and vanilla!), it’s understandable why it is so popular. The shop is now offering growlers of cold brew that can be brought back in for refills so you can have Cool Beanz cold brew at home.
Cool Beanz customers are loyal, too — one customer mentioned that they are there every day while another said that if they opened when she left Statesboro to go to work out of town at 5 a.m., she’d be there every morning. This particular customer is the proud owner of a growler, so she can have her own cold brew at home.
With fun names for the coffees like Eagle Eye, Zombie Killer and Amber Alert, it’s no wonder that the employees seem to enjoy their work. Hoyle said he came up with the name Eagle Eye but the others have been suggested by customers that order the other drinks on a frequent basis.
Hoyle said that his goals for Cool Beanz is to continue growing and improving the products. With the level of customer service that employees offer, the quality of product offered and the loyalty of its customers, it doesn’t seem like too much of a challenge for Cool Beanz to continue to grow. Naming drinks with the help of your customers, tweaking recipes until they’re so popular that you can’t keep up with demand, and hearing glowing reviews from customers have got to be a sign of success.
“I love my job,” Hoyle said, “and am very passionate about what I do.”