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.”
Amanda Denomme September 1, 2016
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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.