Kyle Burge’s story is about coffee beans and dreams. On Black Friday 2011, at the age of 23, Burge opened Beans Boro Coffeehouse and Roastery at the corner of Horse Pen Creek and New Garden roads.
The shop had been a dream of his since age 16 when he first began drinking coffee and exploring the variety of its flavors. From the first sip, coffee became Burge’s hobby and passion.
After graduating from high school in Kernersville and completing a two-year stint at GTCC studying recording engineering, Burge began doing his homework to fulfill his dream of opening his own coffee shop and wholesale roasting operation. To make it happen, he saved money, created a business plan and became an expert in the coffee industry and trade.
At 21, Burge persuaded his coffee-loving parents to allow him to install a roaster capable of processing 2 pounds of coffee at a time in the basement of their home. This operation was no “set it and forget it” gadget. It involved connecting to the gas line and knocking a hole into the side of the house for ventilation — proof of commitment and family support.
Soon, he started selling beans wholesale to four clients. He started a small coffee shop in the front of a fitness center he was managing.
Along the way, he picked up a coffee vocabulary. Talking to Burge is like talking to a wine connoisseur. He describes coffee’s flavor notes with adjectives such as bold, fruity, acidic, light, heavy, fresh, earthy, mouthful, smoky and crisp. Yet, his youthfulness comes through in the descriptive “wickedly awesome.”
Beans Boro is becoming the type of establishment Burge dreamed of. The shop attracts a variety of coffee drinkers, including young professionals and retirees. Teens flock there after school for pastries and frappuccinos. Beans Boro hosts a variety of events, including comedy nights, chamber music on Friday evenings and live music most Saturdays.
His steady base of loyal customers has allowed him to increase his capacity and roast 10 pounds at a time. He brings in new beans from around the world to explore and share every six weeks. With the roasting operation in the back of the shop, Beans Boro has the freshest beans in the area. With a limited marketing budget, Burge’s biggest challenge is getting the word out about his roasting business. His current efforts are focused on growing his wholesale customer base.
His kindness doesn’t hurt either. When visiting Beans Boro, a customer noted on the way out, “He’s the nicest guy in the business.”
There are countless coffee shops in Greensboro to visit. As a coffee lover, I’ve been to most of them, and each has its own personality and flair. Many of the shops are like Beans Boro: conceptualizations of Greensboro’s young professional community fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams. I encourage you to check them all out and meet their staff.
Burge’s hard work and ingenuity come from a deep passion for the industry. Go meet Burge. He welcomes anyone to come by and learn about the roasting process.
And he can teach you just as much about dreams as he can beans.