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Athletic Club Adds Coffee Roasting to Repertoire

Walker Evans Walker Evans Athletic Club Adds Coffee Roasting to Repertoire
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The Athletic Club of Columbus is known first and foremost as a fitness facility, pool, event space and social gathering organization that dates back 101 years. And now tucked in the back of their large banquet-hall sized kitchen facility is a small coffee roaster that is servicing members and guests at 136 East Broad Street.

We spoke with Athletic Cub General Manager Paul Kroll Jr. to find out more. Our full interview can be found below:

Q: First, what got the ACC interested in coffee roasting operations?

A: Actually, there were multiple points pulling us into roasting our own coffee. Here are the two biggies that sent us down this path… first, from purely a business perspective, The ACC was struck by the possibility to offer high quality coffee with unlimited versatility at a cost that could only be lower than current price. The other major pull was definitely the Fun Factor. We thought, “wouldn’t it be amazing to serve coffee of the quality of Cafe Brioso, that is roasted at The Athletic Club.”

Q: So how did the process and relationship work with Cafe Brioso?

A: We realized early on that this dream doesn’t work without help from an experienced roaster. As it turns out, that was a hugely understated realization. We’ve seen first-hand why it takes years for someone to roast to a level where you can taste the craftsmanship involved in a simple cup of coffee. As far as the relationship goes, it was simple. We explained to Jeff and JJ that we wanted to make great coffee, roasted from The ACC to serve to our members and guests (many of whom visit from around the country).

As it turned out, Jeff and JJ have the dual passions of roasting brilliant coffee and civic collaboration. They are serious about doing their part in raising  the country’s awareness of Columbus as a world-class coffee town. In describing our motivation, we were very fortunate that our initiative fit within Brioso’s criteria for helping us.

Q: Are you aware of any other similar organizations to the ACC that roasts their own coffee, or do you see what you’re doing as ahead of the curve?

A: Over the past years, I’ve asked around the national club circles and haven’t heard of any private clubs doing this. It looks like we’re the first.

Q: What has the response been so far from ACC members and guests?

A: I’d sum up the response as a realization of the fun factor that hooked us in the first place. Members love it. When they first learned about and tasted our Athletic Club Roasting line of coffee, we saw a patterned response. Members were at first amused and surprised and that morphed into pride.

More information can be found online at www.accolumbus.com.

From February 3rd to February 9th, Columbus Underground is celebrating Coffee Week 2014! Throughout the week, we’ll be taking a look at various coffee shops, roasters, brands, businesses and the people that contribute to this rapidly growing local movement.

Coffee Week 2014 is presented by our friends Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, providing handcrafted coffee to Columbus, OH since 1991. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

Coffee Week supporting sponsorship by Stauf’s Coffee Roasters.

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