Family keeps old school roasting business running in Highland Park

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Nick and Dean Becharas like to do things the old way. Specifically, the way their family has been doing it for more than 100 years. 

"Coffee is in our blood. It's what we do. It's what we know," Dean Becharas said.

The Becharas Brothers Coffee Company was founded in Chicago 1914 by the brothers' uncles, Nick and George. But they quickly noticed that there was an influx of immigrants moving to Detroit, who were in need of a good pot of coffee for their families and restaurants. So the company was moved to a plant off Vernor Highway, and eventually to Highland Park. Since then, generations of roasters and taste testers have been bred. 

"Morning coffee has a little different meaning for us. If the table could talk, it's got a lot of history," Nick Becharas said. 

The table he's referring to has been in the family since the start of the business. They use it for coffee cupping, or tasting. 

"It's the lifeblood of our family, and our business," Dean Becharas said. 

The brothers learned how to pull the tastes out of coffee at a young age, and how to note subtle differences in the levels of integrity in the brews -- which are skills they use to roast the perfect batch. 

The brothers roast 50 private labels, including Detroit Bold. They also supply several restaurant, like Big Boy. 

"Fundamentally, it's an old-school business. You can't stick coffee in a computer and have the computer tell you if it's good or not," Dean Becharas said. 

About the Author: