The passion Paul Strange Jr. has for coffee has grown from general interest and brewed into a business roasting coffee beans at home.
The Dallas Police officer sells his specialty blends to customers online and at the Downtown Waxahachie Farmer’s Market weekly from his business' booth, 311 South.
“I never was just a coffee drinker for just the pure energy of it. It was always something that I always tried to enjoy. I started caring about it when I was a kid,” Strange said. “My dad and mom drank coffee all the time, so it seemed like you always drank coffee when you grew up. It didn’t take long to figure out what kinds of coffee that I liked.”
Strange explained that, as a police officer, his connection with the drink has grown stronger over the past decade from working odd schedules.
The blends Strange creates uses coffee beans from Uganda, as he seeks to create a coffee with a rich flavor.
“I have kind of a fashioned inspired roasting style where it takes a lot longer because I put an intermittent cooling phase in the middle. That is something that a lot of people don’t do,” Strange explained. “You pick the right spot, and you allow it to degas a little bit, and then you put it back on the roast. It draws out the earthier almost smoky flavor that a lot of people like.”
Strange said that his wife and children work alongside him during the roasting process, which makes this venture even more special. He noted the key to the flavor of the beans is about timing and temperatures.
The name for the business comes from his wedding anniversary, March 11, but also has the sound of a term used by police over the radio.
Strange shared it sounds a little cliché for a police officer to connected to a business that roasts coffee beans. He joked that he has "no interest in making donuts.”
311 South provides a direct to customer ordering service. This service is good for individuals, but it is ideal for large, face-to-face orders for business needs, wedding favors or other large events.
Customers who are interested in making a direct purchase coffee can send Strange an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the phrase “I want coffee" in the subject line. He will then send pricing information and how to arrange for delivery. Direct online coffee orders are not currently available at this time. In person, purchases can be made directly from Strange at his booth at the Downtown Waxahachie Farmer’s Market.
Strange stated started selling his coffee at large venues like the Dallas Farmer’s Market but found it impersonal to do business. He feels the setting in Waxahachie is more inviting with people working to build each other up.
“I think that it the bigger city settings you kind of feel like a number in the sense. There are a lot of procedures, and it makes it go easier for them,” Strange said. “I get that, and I understand, but for some reason, they are very people oriented in Waxahachie and are getting to know you types. It just feels like you’re a part of the farmer’s market community.”
While the business has started off small-scale, Strange hopes to be able to expand his roasting capabilities to roast larger quintiles of coffee in the future.
People who want to find out more information about 311 South’s coffee can go to its website at www.311south.coffee or search for 311 South on Facebook.