Honeybee expands in Farragut

Norris Hill, owner of Honeybee Coffee in South Knoxville, and Josh Steedley, co-owner of SPERO Coffee and Tea in Farragut, have partnered to open a second Honeybee Coffee Shop in Knox County, this one in Farragut.

“We plan to open in about

three weeks,” Hill said Thursday, Jan. 19.

“We have very similar values and thoughts about how to care for people and our love for specialty coffees,” Hill said. “Our primary goal is take the best possible care, from picking the beans to the barista. The end goal is about people and trying to take the best care of them.”

Hill said he and Steedley have partnered up and after opening the first Honeybee Coffee three weeks ago in the McMurray Building, 700 Sevier Ave. in South Knoxville, construction now is under way for another Honeybee Coffee, scheduled to open in February at 10716 Kingston Pike, between Sonic Drive-In and Matlock Tire.

“We will be doing specialty coffees, homemade doughnuts and craft beers,” he said. “My hope is that the way we care for people, it will be such a welcoming environment.

“All the coffees will be specialty coffees, which means they are rated at 80 or higher by Specialty Coffee Association,” Hill said. “Our beans usually range from a rating of 87 to 93.”

The layout of the 3,000-square-foot building provides for customer interaction. For example, a bar will accommodate 25 seats, and there will be an outdoor patio.

“It’s really important to have a relationship with customers and talk about coffee,” Hill said.

SPERO Coffee and Tea is merging with Honeybee Coffee, he said. The SPERO brand essentially will end and the partnership will be consolidated under the Honeybee brand.

“We are getting ready to move SPERO Coffee and Tea to this location,” Hill said. His son, Aaron Hill, will manage the Farragut shop.

“SPERO is not going away; it’s just getting better,” Hill said. “The same quality and care will be offered at Honeybee.”

A passion for coffee lured Norris, managing director of Provision Foundation, a philanthropic organization, to the coffee business. “As we traveled to different places around the world, we got more and more interested in agriculture and we helped start a coffee company in Haiti,” Hill said. “There really is good coffee in Haiti if processed correctly.”

He said he discovered the people who work the hardest get paid the least, so he took the coffee processing plants to the people.

“We exported 500 pounds of green coffee this year out of Haiti,” Hill said. “Our desire is to help the people do what they do.”

The coffee shops evolved from a food truck-type business in which Hill worked out of an Airstream trailer and served coffee at weddings, festivals and concerts. The shop was named after his wife, Melissa, which in Greek means “honeybee.”

“Then I met Josh, and he roasts his own coffee,” Hill said. “That’s what I wanted to do. [Josh] started roasting [coffee beans] for us and he’s a wonderful roaster.”

Hill said he and Steedley decided to do a couple brick-and-mortar shops together and opened the first Honeybee Coffee shop three weeks ago at 700 Sevier Ave. in South Knoxville,

Hours will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.

For more information about Honeybee Coffee, call 865-200-5799, e-mail to honeybeecoffeecompany@gmail.com or visit honeybeecoffeeco.com/.