A Blend to Build Community from Michigan’s Bloom Coffee Roasters and Craft & Mason

Nick Brown | June 1, 2017

The Collaboration for a Cause blend by Bloom Coffee Roasters and Craft and Mason.

While quality-focused micro roasteries in a mid-sized market might naturally be viewed as competitors, two Lansing, Mich.-based coffee companies have contradicted that impression as they have teamed up for a creative collaboration that promotes the city’s craft coffee culture while also supporting a worthy community-driven cause.

Craft & Mason Roasting Co. and Bloom Coffee Roasters both started their respective commercial roasting operations about three years ago, becoming two of the driving forces in Lansing’s specialty coffee scene. Their new “Collaboration for a Cause” blend is being sold in select stores and coffee shops throughout the area, with portions of the proceeds from each bag and beverage sold being collected for the local Refugee Development Center, a nonprofit, grassroots refugee support and empowerment organization.

“We have a shared vision for the community that goes beyond just selling more coffee,” Craft and Mason Co-Founder Jeremy Mason told Daily Coffee News, regarding the collaboration with Bloom. “This project is important to us because it represents a collaborative effort to push our community forward and encourage relationships. The relationship dynamic of coffee is a huge reason we both started roasting about the same time three years ago.”

The blend itself features a honey processed Guatemala Acatenango from the La Esperanza farm that passed through Bloom Co-Founder Jared Field’s Probat L12. Craft and Mason contributed a milk-friendly Brazil natural from Carmo de Minas that the company includes in its signature espresso blend for its heavy base and some light fruit notes.

“We wanted the blend to be versatile — something that could be enjoyed as espresso, in milk drinks and as a drip cup,” said Mason, who works with the company’s San Franciscan SF-6. “That is a bit of a tall order, but we landed on something we liked pretty quickly because we both knew what we were looking for in the coffees we would be blending.”

Mason said the collaborative process itself was enlightening, in that roasting commercially day in and day out tends to lend itself to isolation.

“It represented a bit of a risk and a step out for both of us, and at the end of the day, our shared vision of the community as well as recognizing and raising money for a great local charity is what pushed it forward,” Mason said. “It was a great exercise in finding a common goal and creating something meaningful by taking a chance on something. It was also really fun for each of us to taste the other roaster’s coffee and come up with ideas for the final blend.”

The Collaboration for a Cause blend is available until it runs out at the Bloom caféStrange Matter CoffeeBlue Owl Coffee and Foods For Living.

Nick Brown 
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at publisher@dailycoffeenews.com.

BLOOM COFFEE ROASTERS BREWS IN OLD TOWN

Good coffee is no stranger to Lansing thanks to Paramount Coffee and Biggby Coffee dominating the Michigan coffee scene. Now, Bloom Coffee Roasters in Old Town has been added to the all-star roster since the opening of its café at 1236 Turner St. this past July. CEO and co-founder of Bloom, Jared Field, began the company as a wholesale micro-roaster in April 2014, and after spending a few years learning about the coffee industry and the roasting process, he decided to bring a third wave micro-roaster to Lansing. According to Field, being a coffee roaster is a fulfilling experience because he gets to “connect with customers through the flavor of their souls.”

The connection between Field and his customers seems to be a two-way street, because within the first two weeks of the café’s grand opening, Bloom pulled average sales of $4,500 per week and about $2,000 per week on the wholesale roasting end.

The café offers the standard coffee menu that can be served hot or cold including, pour-over coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos and mochas. In addition to coffee, the company also sells Cascara Tea and soda, beans for retail and baked goods from local stores including Groovy Donuts of Williamston and Glory Bee’s Sweet Treats of Mason. Since opening Bloom’s café, the company has created partnerships with The Cosmos, Old Town General Store, Urban Beat and Ozone’s Brew House, while also providing coffee to ‘Wake-Up Old Town’ on the first Friday of every month.

WHY OLD TOWN

 Described by others as an “old soul,” the Kalamazoo native discovered he wanted to open a location in Lansing after visiting the area with his father, and learning about the deep coffee roots that lie within the city.

“Lansing has always been a well-developed coffee town; with Paramount and the Biggby chain both playing a huge role in creating a coffee culture here,” said Field. “With those two companies creating a strong foundation, I saw the need for a more focused approach to coffee in Lansing, and we feel that we couldn’t have picked a better time.”

When choosing to open his roastery in Old Town, Field found it was the “sense of life and spirit that breathed into Old Town” that made him want to be a part of this area. Also, the artistry elements and history of the town captivated him.

“Old Town is a very artistic community and viewing coffee as our art form makes it incredibly easy to relate to the culture of Old Town,” said Field. “The spirit here definitely fuels our fire to excel and be great at what we do, while trying to stay relevant in a rapidly changing community. To me, Old Town is the best part of Lansing. The energy here is incredible. People are definitely coming to Lansing from all over to see what Old Town has to offer.”

The Old Town Commercial Association also believes the café is making a great impression on Old Town, as they are finding that Bloom is attracting both Old Town residents and visitors from outside the greater Lansing area.

“The café at Bloom has been a tremendous addition to the Old Town neighborhood. As a gathering place for the public, Bloom is epitomizing what Old Town stands for —community interaction,” said Vanessa Shafer, executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association. “It is a place where both our residents and our growing number of visitors can engage with each other while enjoying a product made with Old Town pride.”

BRINGING THE THIRD WAVE OF COFFEE TO LANSING

 Third wave coffee is considered an art form, much like wine and microbrews. The process of creating a third wave of coffee involves many stages from production and processing to building strong relationships between growers, traders and roasters. All of these stages must be completed precisely in order to provide high quality coffee to its customers. At Bloom Coffee Roasters, Field sources the coffee beans through two companies – Café Imports in Minneapolis, Minn. and Bodhi Leaf in Oakland, Calif. Using a Victory roaster, the roasting process takes between 11 to 15 minutes per batch. The team can roast a maximum of four pounds at a time, where beans vary between 400 and 420 degrees at their end temperature. Field estimates they roast about 200 pounds each week.

 

PURGING COFFEE STEREOTYPES

 Today, no longer are we seeing the ‘hipster’ stereotypes associated with coffee drinkers. Field also has experienced this market shift with his café customers; finding that he cannot specify just one type of customer at Bloom as they are connecting with a very diverse market each day.

“We deal with all walks of life. The other day, a little girl, probably no older than five years old, walked in by herself while her parents waited outside. She ordered a hot chocolate and had questions to ask about other drinks on our menu,” said Field. “It was awesome that we could connect with someone of that age who was seriously interested in what we are doing. Our menu is simple but it’s also very diverse, and that’s what is bringing people to our café.”

With the evolution of the coffee scene, Field knows that it is important to market accordingly, and with coffee always trending through social platforms, he knew capturing the online scene was the correct way to go about their marketing strategy.

The hashtags, #KnowYourRoaster and #KnowYourBarista are added to every social media post from Bloom Coffee Roasters; where the idea behind these hashtags are to get customers talking, and for them to feel a part of the third wave coffee movement.

“We want to make everyone who comes into our café feel comfortable when asking questions about coffee, or to tell us about their day or some significant event taking place in their lives,” said Field. “These hashtags do just that, and we really want to connect with people on a higher level than your average café.”

LOCATION AND CAFÉ HOURS

Bloom Coffee Roasters is located in Old Town at 1236 Turner St. The café is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., and is closed on Mondays for roasting. According to Field, menu item favorites include any of the pour-overs and the lavender latte. Bloom cycles through its coffees each week, offering two single origins, one blend and one decaf, so that customers will always find something different and will be able to inquire and connect with their coffee tastes.

“We know that if we can accomplish a deep connection with our customers, we can help establish a better quality of life,” said Field. “Not only for people in our community, but in coffee farming communities all over the world.”

 

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Amanda Denomme  September 1, 2016

NewsSeptember 2016

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AMANDA DENOMME

Amanda has been a freelance writer for the past 5 years, covering arts and entertainment in West Michigan and Lansing. Describing herself as a shoe & fashion enthusiast, Amanda loves attending Broadway shows, dancing, and keeping up with the latest reality T.V.

Bloom Coffee Roasters Opening Flagship Roastery Café in Lansing, Mich.

Two-year-old Lansing, Mich., company Bloom Coffee Roasters is currently opening its first retail café. Having relocated its 2-kilo-capacity Victory roasting machine out of their former REO Town warehouse production space and into the new retail space in Old Town, production will now occur in full view of coffeehouse patrons, inviting them into the process.

“We hope we get a lot of questions on the roasting process, and how that plays a role in the cup,” BCR founder and co-owner Jared Field told Daily Coffee News. “We’re really focusing on the educational aspect and getting that out there, because we don’t want to roast something dark and oily for somebody just because they want it. We want our customers to know why the coffee tastes so good, and why the way we roast impacts the flavor of the cup.”

Field takes the stance that if a coffee needed to be roasted darkly to bring out its best flavors, then that’s what they’d do, although he rarely finds that to be the case. “We usually stick to between 405 and 430, but we did have a Mexico that went to 432,” said Field of the typical temperatures at which he finishes his roasts, which are generally kept on the lighter side to highlight each origin’s distinct characteristics.

 

Jared Field at the helm of the Victory roaster.

The new café will eventually be the site of educational public cuppings, food pairings, and other classes and activities, possibly to include some kind of basic roasting workshop.

“I don’t know how to really make it basic for people yet, without giving away too much information and creating a lot of heavy competition for ourselves,” said Field, partly in jest.

The drink prep and service counter at Bloom’s 1,000-square-foot flagship consists of a 2-group Rancilio Classe 7 for espresso, and Chemex and V60 manual brews. Greens reach the roastery by way of Café Imports and Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, although the company is interested in pursuing more direct trade relationships.

“We’ve established a relationship with two brothers, one of them is out of Grand Rapids and the other one lives in Guatemala, with relationships on farms in Guatemala and Honduras,” Field said. “We’ve been talking pretty seriously about establishing direct trade relationships through them.”

Field, who studied journalism in college and has skills and interest also in music and the arts, first entered the coffee industry in 2012 to make ends meet. He landed a barista job at Water Street Coffee Roaster in Kalamazoo, Mich., although a sudden and unexpected shuffling of personnel there resulted in him being moved onto production roasting. That’s when the coffee bug really chomped in, and a couple short years later, after moving to Lansing to be closer to family, he partnered with his brother-in-law Cameron Russell to start the commercial roastery.

 

Inside the Bloom retail space, set to open July 5.

Today, Bloom Coffee Roasters is ready to offer their single-origin coffee brews and drinks, cascara teas, local donuts and other sweets to the Lansing community, with an eye towards expanding and upgrading their production equipment within six months to a year.

“We really want to expand our wholesale end as well,” said Field, adding that the extended plan is to have additional cafés in Michigan if not also within Lansing, depending on the need, with roasteries attached to each future café.

The first one soft-opens this July 1 at 1236 Turner Street, Suite B, in Lansing. The grand opening is scheduled for July 5.

Howard Bryman 
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.

 

Tags: Bloom Coffee RoastersBodhi LeafCafe ImportsCameron RussellChemexHario v60Jared FieldLansingMichiganRancilio Classe 7VictoryWater Street Coffee