Buddy Brew roasts coffee uniquely to create art and culture


Established in 2010, Buddy Brew Coffee seeks to provide Tampa and its visitors with an unparalleled coffee experience. As a single origin roaster entirely in-house roasting, Buddy Brew features the highest quality beans, rather than blending different types of coffee.

“We only buy the highest quality coffee beans, and they come from all over the world. We just got some in today that came from Colombia,” says Roast Master Phil Holstein. “We’ll play with those until we figure out the best temperature to roast them at and how long, and then we go from there.”

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“Roasting in-house is something that most coffee shops don’t do anymore, but it allows us to listen to the customer and really pay attention to what they like and don’t like,” says Buddy Brew Coffee Owner Dave Ward. “We are also able to sample different coffees from around the world and really manipulate them to find which profiles work best for us.”

Buddy Brew is locally recognized for its talented baristas and unique decor. Each barista goes through specific training so they can make every cup of coffee a work of art. Even the coffee accessories are pieces of art.

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Dave Ward and his wife, Susan Ward, are both the founders and owners of Buddy Brew Coffee. Coffee has played a significant role in their relationship since it began, and they turned their love of coffee into a hobby.


“Buddy Brew Coffee was really born out of me and my wife’s passion for coffee,” says Ward. “As a matter of fact, the first thing I ever even bought her was a coffee maker. How romantic is that, right?”

Dave and Susan began roasting coffee beans at home and were shocked to find how much of a difference the freshness made on the taste of the coffee. They began sharing their coffee with family and friends, and soon the word spread and the demand for Buddy Brew Coffee required a full-time employee.

“Susan and I both quit our jobs and began to do this full-time. Four months later, we hired an intern, and he became our first employee and he’s our store manager today. His name is Josh Bonanno, and he’s a great guy. Today we have 40 employees, and that number keeps growing,” says Ward.

“I love working here because the customers are so nice and give so much positive feedback. It’s a great environment to be in, and you really get to build relationships with the people that come in here,” says Barista Gabrielle Hekhuis.

Buddy Brew recently added beer and wine to their menu, and extended their hours of operation. Buddy Brew has also added a “brew truck” that travels to local events and private parties. For more information, visit buddybrew.com.

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Florida voters will finally resolve medical marijuana debate

This election, voters not only have the governor’s race on their minds, but also medical marijuana. Amendment Two is on the ballot and needs a 60 percent supermajority vote to pass. It proposes the legalization of the use of medical marijuana for specific conditions when prescribed by a licensed physician.

“I think that if enough young people come out to vote, it will pass,” says USF student Dillion Stafford.

If the amendment passes, it will allow the use of medical marijuana for debilitating diseases including cancer, HIV, hepatitis, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

However, surveys suggest the amendment will not pass this election. Many voters feel that the amendment needs to be modified to eliminate existing loopholes that would allow the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Attorney John Morgan fight on opposite sides of this controversial amendment. Morgan rallied to put the amendment on the ballot, and Judd fights to make sure it does not pass.

Judd says he is not against medical marijuana, but is against Amendment Two.

Despite arguments against the amendment, some Florida voters still think it should pass.

“It’s a lot of people it can benefit. Anything from people suffering from cancer and having to go through chemotherapy to elderly people who have a number of ailments, I know it can help. I think there probably is some room for the language to be clarified, but I don’t think we should axe any opportunity particularly for those people who need it medically because we’re concerned about the language,” says Florida voter Kathy Morris.

Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. will be voting today to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.


Teaching the dangers of rip currents through interpretive dance

Dr. Charlie Paxton has dedicated his career to raising awareness about the dangers of rip currents. As a Science and Operations Officer for the National Weather Service, he predicts when rip currents will occur. Paxton is currently working on an interpretive dance video project to help raise awareness.

“I like feeling like maybe I’m helping someone. I feel like I’m doing something good,” said young dancer Eliana Vogel.

Paxton’s passion of surfing put him in an environment where he realized there was a problem.  He pursued a Ph.D. in Environment and Planning from the University of South Florida to find a solution. During his studies, Paxton learned that on an average summer day in Florida, eight people drown in rip currents.

“I’ve saved people that have been in panic mode out in the water because they’re being pulled out. It’s important to not panic, to float, to tread water, and to know that if you’re in a rip current, the rip current will eventually let you go,” said Paxton.

“He has a passion for what he studied, and that’s what makes it so easy to work with him,” said USF Professor Dr. Jennifer Collins. “I hope to work with him again in the future.”