One Friday evening at the Old Town Clovis Farmers Market, a woman approached Yoli Reeves at the Amber Avenue Coffee Roasters booth.
“She shared things going on in her life and we were able to communicate together just over our coffee beans,” said Yoli Reeves, who runs Amber Avenue Coffee Roasters along with her husband and children. “She’s become really dear to my heart and we still converse with each other.”
For Yoli Reeves, it was a striking example of how coffee brings people together. “Everybody enjoys it,” she said. “It brings about conversation; it brings about relationships; it brings about enjoyment in people.
“On those days when it’s like 106 degrees outside and it’s really hot, that drives me to make a point to be at the market because I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to get another friendship,” Yoli Reeves said.
Since 2013, Amber Avenue has been selling fresh roasted coffee beans, and since 2014 it has participated in the summer-season Old Town Clovis Farmers Market.
“It began as a project of funding a mission trip and after the mission trip, we decided to launch into a regular business,” said Rick Reeves.
When looking to fund their daughter’s missionary trip a few years ago, coffee was an easy choice for the Reeves.
“We have a love for coffee and everything about coffee,” Yoli Reeves said.
Chelsea Reeves finished her mission in the Pacific island countries of Fiji and the Solomon Islands in the summer of 2013. The organizer of her mission, Clovis-based nonprofit Medical Ministries International, receives a portion of each pound of coffee sold.
Amber Avenue is currently a mobile operation serving farmers markets and other events but it has plans to have a permanent retail presence.
“We want to open a coffeehouse,” said Rick Reeves. “We’re looking at different places right now but not sure where we’re going to go yet.”
No specific timeline exists for establishing a retail outlet for Amber Avenue, but it looks to open a location either in Clovis or Fresno soon.
In early 2013, the Reeves experimented with roasting coffee beans for the first time.
Using a portable coffee roaster custom-built to their specifications, Rich Reeves roasts organic Arabica coffee beans each week at the farmers market to be made into iced coffee, espresso and other drinks, or to be packaged and sold by weight.
Since Amber Avenue began, Rick Reeves has roasted thousands of pounds of coffee.
“There is a drying process, which is the first stage of roasting where the moisture is driven out of the bean,” he said.
As moisture is driven out of the beans from the heat of the roaster, the color of the beans changes from green to brown — indicating the drying phase is done and the roasting phase has begun.
“The roasting phase has several phases in it,” Rick Reeves said. “It goes from a light to a medium, to a medium-dark, to a dark and you can keep roasting until it’s a French [roast].”
A French roast is one of the darkest coffee roasts, in which the roast character is the most dominant flavor.
The most popular roast for Amber Avenue customers is a medium roast. It has the flavor of the roast but still preserves the character of the coffee, Rick Reeves said.
For those who can’t make the local farmers market, Amber Avenue coffee beans are available at the River Park Farmers Market each Tuesday night and can also be found in the espresso made at the newly-opened Maya Cinemas at Campus Pointe, near Barstow and Chestnut.
Amber Avenue also maintains an online shop for those who wish to have their coffee shipped to them, including monthly subscription options.
“We know that people enjoy coffee,” Yoli Reeves said, “and we just want to make that experience the best that they can have.”