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JAVA PURA Coffee Roasters featured in Houston's Southwest News
Southwest News | by LINDA B. COOK on JULY 16, 2013

JAVA PURA in Southwest News

Fielding Cocke swirled the dark liquid in his cup. He inhaled. He sipped.

"Medium body, bright notes, hints of chocolate, creamy finish."

He could be describing a fine wine, but this gold-standard liquid is coffee.

This is not your grandpa's cup of joe. Since 2007, JAVA PURA has been raising the bar for Houston coffee lovers.

Tucked into a warehouse complex on Gulfton near Chimney Rock, Cocke and business partner, Richard Colt, create specialty coffees, roasted in small batches to exacting specifications.

"People really taste the difference," Colt said. His coffees are carried exclusively by Central Market and dominate the top sellers there.

Freshness is one of the keys to JAVA PURA's success. Each bag of coffee has a roasted date stamped on it. Unlike wine, coffee does not improve with age.

"To be fresh, coffee needs to be brewed within three weeks of roasting," Colt explained. Raising the bar even more, JAVA PURA beans are left on the store shelves only one week.

Sourcing the best beans in the world is another hallmark of the JAVA PURA experience. The owners pride themselves on "going to source" - seeking out small coffee farmers, mostly in Central and South America, who are paying attention to detail and creating a better bean.

"If you don't put a good bean into that roaster, there's nothing magical you can do to fix it," Colt said. "You can ruin a good bean, but you can't fix a bad bean."

Many coffee companies roast dark to disguise defects in the beans so all the drinker tastes is smoke and char. JAVA PURA flavors are more nuanced and run to light and medium roasts.

The story of JAVA PURA began in 1992 when Colt started the Texas Java Co. The young entrepreneur had been through two Houston boom and bust cycles with jobs in the oil patch and real estate when he decided his love of coffee could help smooth out the bumps. His fledgling company operated six coffee kiosks and carts in Galleria, Downtown, and the University of Houston. He also catered coffee bars.

Things rocked along until 2003 when Colt met Ken Palmer, a master roaster from the Northwest who had trained with Alfred Peet, the original roaster in Seattle for a little upstart called Starbucks. It was a match made in Heaven.

"He (Ken) knew more about coffee than anyone else in Houston at the time," Colt said. The hitch would be raising enough money to get a roaster up and running.

Colt honed his presentation. He planned to make 60 presentations to net 30 small investors to fund his coffee roasting dream. It only took one.

He decided to practice his presentation on Fielding Cocke, long-time friend from St. John's School and UT. That's all it took. Cocke immediately signed on and asked to be the sole investor. Over dinner the partnership was formed and plans made on a napkin.

Now the chief roaster at JAVA PURA, Cocke learned the craft from his mentor, KenPalmer. Roasting coffee is equal parts art, skill, technique, and knowing the machine.

He estimates that Houston is 15 years behind the curve compared to the coffee Mecca in the Pacific Northwest. But we are catching up fast, he said, because so many Houstonians "get it." There's a growing awakening and appreciation of specialty coffees like JAVA PURA devoted to quality, freshness and good taste.

JAVA PURA products are available on their Website, in Houston at their office, 5250 Gulfton, Suite 4-G, at Central Market, and newly minted River Oaks Donuts, 3601 Westheimer.


The coffee berry is a fruit similar to a small cherry and the bean is its seed. When the fruit is red, it's ripe and very sweet. Green fruit is bitter, and so is its seed.

Only ripe berries make good coffee, but they don't all get ripe at the same time. Picking season is November through March. To get the best berries at their peak, farmers have to get their pickers to scour the coffee trees multiple times, only picking the ripe fruit each time. This is an expensive option that JAVA PURA is willing to pay for.

Each coffee tree produces only about one pound of beans each year.

Once picked, the drying process will determine the color and flavor of the bean. The three drying processes are:

  • Washed : skin and all pulp removed; washed and dried in the sun several days
  • Honey : outer skin removed but sweet musilage stayson the seed. Dried in the sun several days absorbing some of the sugars and creating a bean with more fruit notes
  • Natural : the whole fruit is layed out to dry and it concentrates the sugar even more giving it floral notes

JAVA PURA by the Numbers

1 : JAVA PURA's rank among coffee sales at Central Market

26 : Number of pounds of coffee beans that go into the JAVA PURA roaster

20 : Number of pounds of roasted coffee beans that come out of the roaster once moisture is removed

70 : Number of office clients served by the JAVA PURA team

500 : Number of pounds of JAVA PURA coffee sold by Central Market each week (The coffe is available in 7 of 9 stores in Texas.)

15,000 : Number of pounds of beans sourced from one Costa Rican farm (the entire crop)

500,000 : Total pounds of beans roasted at JAVA PURA last year


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JAVA PURA Coffee Catering offers an expansive and portable coffee bar complete with commercial grade espresso machine and grinder allowing the accompanying professional barista to create delicious lattes, mochas, cappuccinos and other specialty coffee drinks for your guests. The service includes a selection of Monin sauces and syrups to enhance the coffee experience.

We also offer several other specialty beverage services including frozen cappuccinos, milkshakes, Italian sodas and a variety of fruit smoothies. Each service can be provided individually or in combination with our original specialty coffee catering service.

Please Contact Us for more information.


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We were in Seattle a while back doing a 'recon' of some of our favorite coffee shops when we noticed many were using a machine they felt was superior to all others. The machine as it turns out was a Synesso and to our taste made fantastic espresso. The baristas we talked to all loved the machine; its ease of use, its industrial art look, but most important to them was the perfect shots it consistently produced.

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