Annex Asset

The guys behind Hermosa Coffee are rockers turned roasters

Oh coffee, is there anything you can't do?

A good populace of people rely on the stuff to get them going in the morning. Some drink the stuff all day. There are those who consume a cup or two at night and still claim they can get a good night's sleep. And we're not talking decaf. Oh no. To true java heads, even considering sucking down a cup of coffee without that burst of caffeine can be construed as a crime. It's like non-alcoholic beer. Why? Just why?

Dana Fehr and Nick Hoenig have similar backgrounds and similar tastes as far as running a business goes. Fehr had a long career as a sound engineer and was part of the metal-tinged band Juarez, while Hoenig built fuzz effect pedals and jammed out with the Tucson band Blues. A chance meeting, along with a lot of raw coffee, brought them together to create Hermosa Coffee Roasters.

"Through a mutual contact I came across 2,000 pounds of coffee that I had to move," says Hoenig. "So, I posted on social media asking for help and Dana shows up and simply says, 'We can do this.'"

Fehr had just gotten off the road from a sound-engineering gig and was ready to try something new.

"I knew Nick from a previous job and knew he wanted to start a coffee company," he says. 'So that's how Hermosa pretty much got its start."

The name Hermosa came about much like any other brainstorming with band mates. Since the two had roots in the Tucson metal scene, they just thought the name sounded cool—sort of like the handle of other desert rock outfits such as Hermano, Kyuss or Nebula.

The harder part was figuring out what to do with all those coffee beans.

"Learning to roast came from an old employer who was very sick with cancer and gave me a crash course," says Hoenig. "When he passed in 2011, I just started doing experiments, learning that certain beans can yield certain results. Dana and I worked at Congress together and every day we would talk about coffee."

The first big break came when Café Passe asked them to deliver some beans in 2015.

"After they called, I was there in like 15 minutes," Fehr says. "From there it just started to take off."

So when they heard they could rent one of the shipping containers that make up the new MSA Annex next door to the Westside's Mercado San Agustin, they went for it.

Café Hermosa has only been open for a few months, but they've seen a steady stream of customers who are enjoying a popular coffee brewed with medium-bodied beans as well as specialty drinks, including café de olla, a take on the traditional Mexican coffee drink that's brewed with a dark roast infused with spices such as as anise and cardamom. There's also a cold-brewed coffee soda, carbonated in a whipped-cream canister and arriving bubbly, seductive and pick-me-up refreshing. And if you're relaxing on their front stoop during this glorious fall weather, enjoy a pastry provided by 5 Points Market.