WILLIAMSBURG — Jason Parkhouse blends his passion for coffee with his love for music.
Right before a phone interview, he had been in the middle of listening to Dave Matthews and brewing a cup.
“I’m a big music fan. I don’t play it, but I’m very good at playing the radio,” he said.
His love for blues, soul, jazz and rock music was the inspiration behind the name for Soulful Coffee Roasters, Parkhouse’s Williamsburg-based coffee roastery.
A business that specializes primarily in wholesale roasting, Soulful Coffee Roasters provides coffee to cafes, restaurants and other local businesses in Williamsburg.
Soulful Coffee Roasters has only been in business for roughly three years, but Parkhouse has been roasting for over 20 years.
After retiring from the Navy in 2015, Parkhouse chased his passion for coffee roasting.
“I always wondered what it would be like to have my own roasting business,” he said.
While his prime job is in nuclear logistics at the Newport News shipyard, Parkhouse hopes to grow his startup business.
The roastery and lab sit at 1592-A Penniman Rd, the former location of Williamsburg Coffee & Tea Company.
“When [owner] Todd Arnette closed down his business, he had everything here. I bought a roaster he was selling,” Parkhouse said. “I was walking into this, and he was walking out of it. It was very symbiotic.”
Often mistaken for a coffee shop by people looking for somewhere to stop on road trips, Parkhouse will still welcome anyone who comes in looking for a cup of coffee.
“I’m right off of 64, and people will come in and ask “This is a coffee house?’ And I’m like ‘No, this is a coffee roastery.’ And then I end up making a cup off coffee and giving them a to-go cup, and they take off,” he laughed. “It’s been fun to meet people and tell them what I do.”
Describing coffee as “the perfect blend of arts and sciences,” Parkhouse offers specialty coffee blends with unique names.
“I tend to name them after my favorite musicians who passed away,” he said. “I’m working on one right now for Nanci Griffith, who passed away a few months ago, because I love her music.
Parkhouse said that he enjoys introducing the area to more international flavors.
“Most people, when it comes to coffee, they know what they like, but they don’t know what they could like,” he said. “There’s so many origins and wonders that different origins provide. Like right now I’m drinking a great yellow honey processed coffee from Honduras, but how many people know that coffee comes from Honduras?”
“It’s not just from one company and it’s not just from one country,” he added.
In the new year, Parkhouse hopes to start hosting thematic coffee cuppings, or cup tastings, for small parties at his roastery and coffee lab.
“It would be regional, like here’s African coffees, here’s Latin American coffees,” he said. “People can come in and experience the world of coffee.”
Parkhouse is looking to expand and hopes to provide wholesale roasting to more local businesses.
“Even though I don’t have a storefront, I always have coffee,” he said.