Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters was born in Virginia in 2007 and remains lovingly cultivated by owners, Celeste and Jo Gucanac.
In her life “before coffee” Celeste was a professional ballet dancer and Jo was in the IT corporate world. They decided to take a chance and make some changes.
"Owning our own business had always been one of our shared dreams and we knew it was important to be passionate about whatever it was we chose to do in life," Celeste says. "We wanted to wake up in the morning knowing that we were working to make a difference in the world. Our morning ritual has always been having our first cup of coffee together…and so it began…in the simplest, quiet moment we shared, our future was born."
Every bag of Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters is meticulously created in the Gloucester, Virginia shop, roasted with care on a San Franciscan.
It remains a family business, with Celeste at the helm, her father helping in the retail store, a dear friend working as the Master Roaster and teenagers helping stock the shelves and greet customers who come to the shop.
“We wanted to tie the things we are passionate about in life to our daily activities, we looked to our own love of the water as a connection in our work.”
Celeste and Jo, along with their three children, have spent many days (Jo especially, who is an avid sportsman and outdoor enthusiast) in the tributary waters that feed the Chesapeake Bay and on the Bay itself. Although, life is busy with traveling the U.S. for work and family, Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters remains focused on living a life that embraces a love for the water, whether fishing with the tides or focusing on other responsibilities.
As a result, Celeste says, “we have taken great interest in the information provided by organizations like the Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Menhaden Matter, Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center about the deteriorating water quality of the Bay.
“While large organizations continue to fight to improve quality through government legislation, we decided to focus on grass roots efforts to impact the Bay and its watershed – a very large area of the east coast,” Celeste says. “We have committed ourselves, our personal time and our money to try to make a difference.”
A portion of every coffee bag sold benefits to Chesapeake Bay Restoration efforts as well as helps to preserve The Historic Cole Diggs House in Yorktown where Mobjack Bay Coffee is located.
Learning more about the coffee industry was and still remains an interesting process for Celeste and Jo. It is fascinating to consider the number of hands that touch coffee before anyone brews a pot; and it became evident that the coffee bean is the cornerstone of life for people, families, and communities in many countries. Our morning cup of coffee just became even more important to us.
Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters is always looking for like-minded businesses and people to join in the efforts.
Contact Celeste if you are interested in getting involved or have helpful suggestions to keep efforts moving along.
The Plantation to Bay Connection
“We realize that it would be self-serving to only think of our front yard, the Bay, without considering our backyard, the source of our beans,” Celeste says. “So we have structured our business as a model that also supports our interests in environmental protection.”
Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters has chosen to sell conventional beans and source certified organic, as long as the beans are grown by socially responsible farms that follow Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance guidelines.
These are two difficult certifications for plantations to attain and maintain.
“At times, we must be understanding of the difficulty and length of time it takes to become certified,” Celeste says. “In these cases, we do our best to learn about the plantation’s processes so we can make our own decisions regarding responsible purchasing. This assures us that we are thinking globally while acting locally.”