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