Muddy Dog Roasting Company had a humble start in the garage of Jim and Debbie Pellegrini.
Roasting coffee began as a hobby for her husband, Jim, said Debbie Pellegrini.
“He bought a single one-pound roaster off eBay and refurbished it,” she said. “He just wanted to figure out how to make fresh coffee.”
Dabbling in different varieties led to a surplus and shelves full of coffee.
“We started giving it away to friends and family, and they encouraged us to think about opening a business,” she said.
That was in 2007. Now, the Morrisville family-run business, housed in a modest storefront off Aviation Parkway, is about to undergo a major expansion. The Pellegrinis bought the space next door and are awaiting permits before moving the roasting equipment. The existing space will have a larger retail floor and, eventually, a cafe.
Muddy Dog coffee currently is sold locally at the Western Wake Farmers’ Market and Triangle Wine Company in Morrisville and Cary, among other outlets. It is also on the menu at Peak City Grill in Apex and The Mayton Inn in Cary, where a blend specially chosen by the owners is served.
About 50 percent of Muddy Dog’s coffee is sold via its website.
“Our coffee is shipped all over the country,” Pellegrini said.
“When we first started, there weren’t that many roasters around and we had to find our niche,” she said. “Some of the other roasters did only wholesale or did exclusively fair trade or organic. We had to figure out where we fit in.”
They started selling at farmers’ markets where they could get immediate feedback from their customers.
“They told us what they wanted and we expanded from there,” she said. “It has grown on its own and taken on its own dimension. We take a lot of suggestions and we run with it. Whatever people want, we try to give them.”
The business has become a full-time job for Pellegrini, who runs things on her own with an occasional hand from her husband and adult twin daughters.
And while she doesn’t drink coffee herself, she can roast 25 pounds of coffee in 15 minutes flat, which she does several times a week with their all-electric roaster.
“I pretty much do everything,” she said. “It has grown more than we thought it would from the beginning. Mostly by word of mouth.”
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About Muddy Dog Roasting Company
Location: 3000-110 Bearcat Way, Morrisville
Contact: 919-371-2818, firstname.lastname@example.org
Online: muddydogcoffee.com or facebook.com/MuddyDogCoffee
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday and Friday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday; 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday; customers are welcome whenever the owner is on site.