MATAWAN – Brandon Castro, the owner of the new Brew Coffee Bar, believes that through coffee and community, his business can become a hotspot at 133a Main St., Matawan.
Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Castro worked at several cafes in Monmouth County. As a result of lockdowns and restrictions associated with the pandemic, the last cafe at which he worked was forced to close.
Instead of waiting for his next opportunity to come along, Castro took the initiative to create an opportunity for himself. Driven by his love of coffee, he decided to pursue certifications that would expand his skillset.
“While in quarantine, I decided to take my love of coffee to the next level and become Specialty Coffee Association certified in the science and preparation of coffee brewing and tasting. I studied online and in-person through Coffee Project New York,” Castro said.
According to its website, “the Specialty Coffee Association is a nonprofit, membership-based organization that represents thousands of coffee professionals, from producers to baristas all over the world. Built on foundations of openness, inclusivity, and the power of shared knowledge, we foster a global coffee community and support activity to make specialty coffee a thriving, equitable, and sustainable activity for the entire value chain.”
Castro opened the Brew Coffee Bar on Dec. 19 and is now incorporating the skills he learned into the coffee he serves.
“Brew Coffee Bar focuses on American style drip coffee and pour-overs. We offer several local coffee blends that are approachable, but sustainably sourced. With offerings from light to dark roasts there is something for everyone. We also carry light pastries and locally blended teas,” he said.
As the owner of a small business, Castro expressed the importance of supporting home-grown businesses by shopping locally. He said the personalized level of service his business can provide to its customers cannot always be found at larger operations.
“It is important to shop local because those businesses are usually the ones most passionate about their craft or service; they offer a level of care and love you won’t find at big-name places … when you can stay in town or right next door, you get to know the owners and the daily workers. That bond to the local products or people is a feeling like no other,” Castro said.
Castro, who is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., attended the local Cliffwood Elementary School and graduated from Matawan Regional High School. He has a passion for creating a local space that serves those around him.
For Castro, the goal of Brew Coffee Bar is “to become a staple of the community” by offering high-quality service, hosting social events and “bringing awareness to what coffee can be.”