Much like two of its three co-owners, a military-themed New Kent coffee roaster is making moves as it seeks a wider audience for its beans.
The owners of Bugle Call Coffee, which launched three years ago, recently spun off a coffee trailer concept and introduced three new coffee blends to its existing line of blended and single-origin coffee varieties.
Operating out of a 1,000-square-foot roastery and tasting room at 3300 New Kent Highway in the western part of the county, Bugle Call is owned by Helen Montgomery, her husband, Jack, and master roaster Seth Westerman.
The Montgomerys currently live at an Army base in Missouri, where Jack is stationed as an active-duty soldier. Westerman is locally based and runs day-to-day operations. While the military life keeps the Montgomerys constantly on the move, Helen regularly returns to the local area.
The co-owner trio first met as students at Henrico High School, and founded Bugle Call in 2019. Helen Montgomery said distance and constant movement hasn’t hindered the company’s growth.
“Bugle Call is just over 3 years old, and in that time my husband and I have done three moves in that time,” Montgomery said. “It’s wild to think how much we’ve grown the business while moving around so much.”
Montgomery said bags of Bugle Call coffee can be found for sale in more than 25 locations in Central Virginia, including Stella’s Grocery stores, Ellwood Thompson’s and Green Top Sporting Goods. Its coffee is served at Up All Night Bakery in Lakeside and New Kent-based The Daily Fix. The company also sells coffee on its website.
The Montgomerys’ Double Time Coffee Co. mobile trailer launched in October as a new avenue for sales and to establish a brand to potentially franchise, said Montgomery. Double Time falls under the Bugle Call umbrella and is owned by the married couple. The trailer operates at the Army base the couple calls home and serves Bugle Call coffee.
“That’s been fun because a cafe is something we’ve already toyed with, but given how much we move around, it wasn’t feasible to offer a cafe in the Quinton space,” Montgomery said of the trailer.
Bugle Call also recently added a new, larger 35-pound roaster in New Kent as an update and accompaniment to the company’s original 5-pound machine.
As for the new Bugle Call blends, Montgomery said they’re aimed at introducing the brand to new customers and to fill out the range of its offerings.
A coffee blend mixes beans from different sources, such as various countries for flavor or some other effect. A single-origin coffee is one type of bean sourced from a particular farm or specific country.
Introduced in November, the three new blends are breakfast-style blend Richmond Mornings; Morning Grog, which is a dark roast; and Blue Ridge Mornings, another breakfast blend. Bugle Call sells 12-ounce bags of the new blends for $14 on its website.
“The initial thought was that blends are a little more user-friendly for people. They may not know they like coffee from South America but they can tell you they like a light roast or a dark roast,” she said.
The bags feature commissioned artwork, and the design choice is intended to help the blends be approachable and eye catching, Montgomery said.
Richmond-based artist Madison Pollard created the image for the Richmond Mornings blend, while Jeff Guinn, co-owner of Mark-It in Harrisonburg, designed the Blue Ridge-themed bag. Benny Peterson, an Army engineer the Montgomerys know, designed the Morning Grog bag.
“We thought what better way to tell the story of our hometown and our coffee than partnering with local artists,” she said. “Having a really attractive bag is fun and a little unique. Maybe you’re an Army engineer and the (Morning Grog) bag speaks to you, or you have a kid at UVA.”
The new blends are expected to be permanent fixtures of the company’s year-round offerings and bring its total number of year-round blend options to six varieties, Montgomery said.
Back in Richmond, another local roaster, Reviresco Coffee Co., is working on a new location in the Museum District.