Folks Cafe has been tucked away on the corner of 12th and Princess in Historic Downtown Wilmington since 1999. As Juan and Tammy Pacini took over the business, they wanted to ensure a quality cup of coffee by taking on the task of roasting their own fair-trade, organic coffee beans. They still stand as the only in-house coffee roasters in Wilmington, NC. As a barista and self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, I was stoked to find a local roaster here in Wilmington, and they surely did not disappoint.  

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McKenna Nelson

The Beans

During my visit, Juan showed me where he starts his unique roasting process. He ships in green, organic, fair-trade coffee beans, which are the pit of the fruit that coffee plants yield. 

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McKenna Nelson

Pictured above are organic Puerto Rican beans. Juan explained that roasting these beans lightly brings out the best flavor of this particular bean. Some beans taste better as light or dark, depending on their origin and the methods used to process the bean before arriving to Folks. 

#SpoonTip: The lighter the roast, the more caffeine it yields. Darker roasts tend to have a more robust flavor, while light roasts are sweet and mild. 

The Folks Cafe Way

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McKenna Nelson

Juan places the beans in his humble roaster which only allows him to roast small quantities at a time. The machine blows hot air onto the beans beans from below, allowing them to float up and around to get an even toasting on all sides. This slow, but worthwhile process sets Folks Cafe apart from all of the other coffee shops in Wilmington.

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McKenna Nelson

After the beans are roasted to their peak flavor, they are ground and steeped in hot water, creating every college student's best friend: coffee. Folks' Puerto Rican coffee has notes of citrus, and electrified my taste buds. I normally take my coffee with cream and sugar, but there's no need with a roast so pure and light. I could taste a significant difference between Folks' coffee and pre-roasted beans. 

Folks has More to Offer Than Coffee

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McKenna Nelson

Don't love the taste of coffee? You have got to try Folks' special hot chocolate: it's loaded with spices like cloves and chili and steamed with premium dark chocolate. This drink warms your insides, perfectly aligning with the family-oriented, cozy atmosphere of the cafe itself. 

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McKenna Nelson

Folks also serves a homemade breakfast and lunch menu complete with classic Argentinian flavors from the Pacini's personal cookbook. If you're in search of something smaller, they offer an array of sweet and savory pastries, and a soup of the day.

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McKenna Nelson

So what are you waiting for? Go check out the freshest coffee you'll find in Downtown Wilmington! Always remember, shop local.