There is just one woman hand-bottling, hand-brewing and hand-labeling everything.
Jenny Bonchak, the owner of Slingshot Coffee Company in Raleigh, works hard to keep her business open.
“It’s a lot of work,” Bonchak said. “It’s a lot, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
Bonchak started tinkering with coffee about six years ago, when she began cold brewing. She said she took her time figuring out different components and different ways to brew.
“I love all things coffee,” Bonchak said. “This is just one of those things where I was never able to find one that was done really well, so I knew that it could be done a lot better than how it was being done. That was kind of the thing, or the emphasis, that made me want to do it.”
Still shocked, Bonchak said the love for her product might be hard to comprehend.
“It makes me so happy to know that something that I’m doing, something I’m crafting with my own two hands, is something that people love,” Bonchak said. “Obviously I wanted that to happen, but just the incredible amount of love, feedback and support provided has been phenomenal. It keeps me going.”
Bonchak found inspiration for the company’s name from her husband’s job as a barista.
“One thing that really stuck with me is how he would come home,” Bonchak said. “Being a baristas is an exhausting job. You’re interacting with customers all day, and you’re perfecting espresso all day. I just remember him coming home and saying, ‘Okay, another 10 hours down slinging espresso.’”
Bonchak utilized Market Restaurant's kitchen facility before opening Slingshot Coffee. According to Bonchak, when the restaurant was closed, she spent all night working to launch the company.
“I would go in at 11 p.m. and then work through the night, basically as long as I could keep my eyes open,” Bonchak said. “I would just work through the night until I got to a stopping point where I felt I could leave for the night. I would go home and then get up to go to my normal regular job.”
Turns out those late nights paid off, because Slingshot Coffee can be found in Whole Foods across the Southeast as well as many different independent shops across the Southeast.
“I also got picked up by Terrain, which is a garden arm of anthropology,” Bonchak said. “It’s a store in Philadelphia and it should be starting one in Connecticut pretty soon. I really wanted to have it in great shops that I had learned and heard about.”
Currently, Slingshot Coffee Company has a three-part product line: the original ready-to-drink cold brew Slingshot Coffee, concentrate coffee Slingshot Coffee, as well as the newest addition, cold brewed Cascara Tea.
“Cascara Tea, I just launched a few months ago,” Bonchak said. “Cascara is the dried husk of a coffee cherry. Coffee beans are actually the seed of a cherry, which a lot of people don’t know. Inside of that cherry is a seed and that seed is a coffee bean.”
Depending on the season, Bonchak’s coffee supply changes to keep her products fresh.
“Coffee is an agriculture product. It’s a fresh product just like fruits and vegetables,” Bonchak said. “The lid sticker [on the bottle] will tell you what season the product is and the flavor profiles of this particular coffee.”
With a firm belief in not taking on more than she can handle, Bonchak wants to make sure Slingshot maintains its spot as her top priority.
“I firmly believe that it’s hard to do a lot of things well,” Bonchak said. “This is something that I just want people to realize is different. I want to work hard to make sure it is always fresh, that it is always the best. I’m just really committed to making sure that the quality aspect of it never falls to the wayside. I think that if you have too many irons in the fire it’s hard to manage those things.”
According to Bonchak, the horizon is full of possibilities she couldn’t be happier about.
“Hopefully it will continue to grow and people are going to continue to try it and love it,” Bonchak said. “I’m just so proud of it.”