For years, James Evans sold his Moon Mountain coffee at farmers markets — he owned the Costa Rican farm where the coffee beans came from, after all.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic restrictions easing, Evans is taking the next step and opening a coffee shop — appropriately named Moon Mountain Coffee — on Second Street in Belmont Shore.
What has become the popular first stop for many farmers Market shoppers will soon be available at 5277 E. Second St., across LaVerne from Simmzy’s and where the Pie Hole was previously located (or Fromex, for old timers).
Evans has not announced an official opening date. He and his team are busy setting up equipment, including his Ferrari expresso machine, and making sure that every cup of java has the same consistent flavor.
“We might just put the open sign up when we are ready and have a soft opening,” he grinned.
Jessie Artigue, Belmont Shore Business Association (BSBA) director, said, “Moon Mountain is going to be an incredible addition to the offerings here on Second Street. I love the story behind their brand and am thrilled to have new BSBA members and a new place to stay caffeinated.”
“I started backwards in the coffee business,” he said. “Most people start with a shop and go from there. My story is different. I met my wife, who grew up on coffee farm in Costa Rica and we bought a little ranch. As time went on, someone offered me a coffee farm. I decided to buy farm to help the family — and no good deed goes unpunished. I had no idea how hard (you have to work) to run a coffee farm.”
Despite the work, Evans said he considered his coffee farm as a retirement job. He paid for infrastructure there with money he earned from his career in the mortgage business. He made a major investment in equipment and 250 acres of rain forest on his property remain untouched. He also has planted 50,000 trees to help with reforestation.
“Our cultivating services, which we call, Microganic farming, involves the collection of organic matter from the Costa Rican rain forest,” Evans explained. “This material contains disease-fighting microbes, fungi, nematodes and bacteria. We use a natural spray to help protect the coffee plants and keep them disease-free.
“It is a beautiful place — and my goal became to produce world class coffee.”
And that he did.
Fresh Cup magazine chose Moon Mountain Coffee’s product, “Laurina Naturally — Queen of Cups” as a 2019 Golden Bean award winner. The award is comparable to winning an Emmy, and one of the highest awards given in the coffee industry.
“As more people get back to work, I am excited to see our local economy getting restarted too with great small businesses like this one,” Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price said. “Belmont Shore continues to be one of the best places for small businesses to grow and succeed. We see this all the time with fantastic new businesses coming here to make Belmont Shore their home.”
Moon Mountain coffee will be selling classic coffee drinks as well as some of their own recipes.
“Coffee is most consumed beverage in the world,” Evans concluded. “Coffee came over with The Mayflower, and after the Boston Tea Party it was unpatriotic to drink tea. It was replaced with coffee. The Declaration of Independence was signed over coffee. There are more varieties of coffee than wine.”