Our Story

Mama Mocha's Coffee Emporium

Our Story

      Sarah Barnett Gill opened Mama Mocha's Coffee Roastery in the back of Gnu's Room Bookstore in February of 2010. She had been working in the coffee industry since 2004 and had experience in multiple coffee shops across the state of Alabama, independent and corporate alike. Her dream of owning a roasting company transpired at the SCAA big event (SCAA) in Atlanta in 2009. There she met roasters, importers, packaging specialist and coffee nerds of all varieties that enabled her to dream as big as she could. She bought her roaster and a few bags of green coffee from Cafe Imports. On a 3 kilo roaster, it's difficult to push out a ton of coffee efficiently in the beginning of a roasting career, but very easy to learn quickly what good and bad profiling looks like. Its estimated that she roasted 20 - 30 batches per day in the beginning of the company, which is an extraordinarily large amount of coffee for a rookie roaster to start out with. It was this experience and HOURS of research into thermodynamics and organic chemistry of coffee beans that she developed a technique for dark roasts without being completely burned and light roasts without being sour. The roasters now are in a continual search for a dynamic full spectrum of roast levels and origin. The quest for the perfect cup of coffee shouldn't stop at one origin or one roast level. It's a journey down a rabbit hole that has no certain ending. This season of the roasting company was successful enough to expand the company further in 2012.

The Gnu's Room Bookstore (Gnu's Room) had a small espresso bar in the front of the building that had a small volume with a lot of opportunity. Sarah purchased the espresso bar and moved it into the roastery in late 2012. Soon after book sales declined and Gnu's Room moved to 8th Street in downtown Opelika behind Heritage Gifts and Gourmet Foods. They sadly closed their doors in 2017. Tina Tatum, the Gnus Room founder, still operates in Lee County's Literacy Awareness Program and continuously helps others. 

       Mama Mocha's took over the entire store lease and opened a larger cafe and venue space. It currently holds the roasting facility with a new 12 kilo roaster from US Roaster Corp and also has the espresso bar/Cafe. We serve cans of craft beer and also bake on site. 


   +++++++++++++We are opening a new cafe and moving the roast production to Opelika, Alabama in winter of 2017. It will serve as a coffee laboratory and event space as well. We're looking into carrying draft beer. 

Our wholesale volume is increasing and we're ironing out more every day in our production. If you're interested in carrying Mama Mocha's, PLEASE don't hesitate to reach out to us. 

MochaMamaSarah@gmail.com is my direct e-mail. 




-Sarah Barnett Gill,

Mama Mocha