Wesley Walton is a young entrepreneur with passion, grit, and determination to bring specialty coffee to the South. He grew up in the nearby city of Hattiesburg, but his experience is spread across the US as he has traveled far and wide to learn the trades of roasting high-grade coffee.
Wesley says, "I would love people to experience and understand the work that goes into the specialty coffee industry. Our team has put in so much work to ensure that the product is perfect for clients to enjoy. Making money isn't our motivator; this industry is critical. It thrives on sustainability and makes sure every person from seed to cup is valued. The more people understand this process, the more they can see that one coffee cup affects change in many people's lives. We want to be a part of that change."
Wesley's coffee experience began as a barista at Cups in Oxford, Mississippi, in 2016. Working with the mechanics of coffee and with people piqued his interest. It was a perfect combination for an outgoing, 20-something, and so he moved to Sacramento, California, where he learned more about the specialty coffee industry. From there, his passion led to South Carolina, where he began roasting coffee for a company. He knew how to evaluate coffee like wine, how to grade coffees for quality and taste. His knowledge landed him a job at Keurig, but COVID-19 changed everything, and soon after, Wesley would have to make the trek home to Hattiesburg.
During that time, Wesley felt inspired to create something of his own. Using the skills he developed and a partnership with the Bell Brothers, owners of The Bird Dog Cafe, and Laura Zumwalt, a Laurel local and marketing guru, they created Manuscript Coffee.
Manuscript Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster based in Laurel, Mississippi. Its name and delicious flavors inspire community and storytelling. Manuscript is about getting back to the original script, creating the purest experience, and rewriting a story for a community of bean harvesters and coffee lovers and all those in-between.
Laura Zumwalt says, "We wanted to offer coffee that is very relationship-based and familial to Mississippi, which is not always a thing I think people know much about in Mississippi. Wes worked on the East Coast, and I worked on the West Coast, and we came together to create this new experience for people here in the South."
Since then, Manuscript has developed seven flavors of Whole Bean coffee. They offer a monthly subscription service, where online customers can receive their coffee every month. Their coffee is also available at the Bird Dog Cafe and in some grocery stores in the area. What is most admirable is how they are not just a coffee roaster that delivers a high-grade product. They are dedicated to telling the story of who grew, picked, and processed their coffee before it ever arrived in Mississippi.
We're rooting for the Manuscript team, and we're excited to see how their story unfolds. Taste and see their delicious blends for yourself!