Quantum Bean Coffee named best in state

Sam Bonasso knew for years he wanted to bring good coffee to the Morgantown area.
When he was not able to get traditional financing from a financial institution, Bonasso used five credit cards and a lot of sweat equity to start Quantum Bean Coffee on Kingwood Street.
His business opened in May 2018 and so far, Bonasso — Quantum’s roaster and barista — is going full steam ahead. (Food & Wine magazine recently lauded Quantum Bean for having the best coffee in West Virginia.)
During an interview in his cozy South Park shop, Bonasso, who graduated from West Virginia University in 2005 with a degree in communication studies, said it was a trip to San Diego to visit his brother Daniel that led to his discovery of specialty coffee.
After working in the IT field for several years, Bonasso moved back to West Virginia, got married and started a family.
But, he couldn’t shake the coffee bug.
“In 2013, there was not very much specialty coffee around,” he said.
Bonasso, 35, said it was around this time he began roasting his own coffee in his kitchen and experimenting with flavors while continuing to work full time in IT.
“My big break came in 2014 when I began selling at the Bridgeport Farmers Market,” said Bonasso, who limits himself to two cups of coffee a day, and nothing after 3 p.m.
“But, I sip all day,” he said.
Quantum Bean — a name Bonasso took from his love of science — proved to a popular coffee, so much so, it was time to find a location where he could have a coffee shop and enough room to roast, store and package his coffee for sale. His passion appeared to be well on its way to becoming a viable business.
After looking throughout the Morgantown and Bridgeport areas, Bonasso said he found what he was looking for. The South Park Market on Kingwood Street had just closed. Bonasso bought the building, which came with a garage in the back, in 2017.
Renovations took longer than expected, he said.
“I think they were frustrated because I kept saying we were getting closer to opening,” he said.
It was worth it, especially since the business is in the black. Bonasso said business has been steady, even in the summer when school is not in session.
“Around 90 percent of my clientele are regulars,” he said.
On a recent midweek morning, music was playing softly in the background and a handful of people were sitting around discussing the shelf life of a Twinkie and whether a cream-filled doughnut could be considered a sandwich or a calzone.
“We have a nice, consistent customer base” Bonasso said. “I would not trade it for the world.”
Bonasso said he is roasting around a dozen different coffees, including four blends from El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico and Ethiopia. He gets his beans, delivered in large, burlap bags, which he transfers into plastic containers before roasting. That process takes 11 to 13 minutes for a seven-pound batch of beans.
Bonasso’s retail clients include Table 9 in Morgantown and Terra Cafe in Star City. His coffee sells for $10 a half pound and comes with a 72-hour freshness guarantee.
“It’s our farm-to-cup approach,” he said.
“We’ve built a menu that Morgantown loves.”
In addition to coffee and bottled drinks, Quantum Bean sells high-end coffee makers, kettles and filters. He also has mugs and T-shirts with the Quantum Bean logo.
“Equipment that you cannot get locally,” he said.
One item Quantum Bean does not yet sell is food. Bonasso said he will probably eventually offer items like pastries, and possibly a second location.
“That’s being discussed.”

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