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Stauf’s Roasting Local Coffee For Over 20 Years

Walker Evans Walker Evans Stauf’s Roasting Local Coffee For Over 20 Years
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Over the past two weeks, we’ve been showcasing local coffee roasters, a lot of which have just gotten started within the past few years. If those guys are the “new kids on the block” that makes Stauf’s a old timer. Founded in 1988, Stauf’s has been brewing long before it was trendy.

We spoke recently with Mark Swanson, President of Stauf’s, to find out more about his roastery and what we can expect at the North Market Coffee Roast event this Saturday.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the history of your business?

A: Stauf’s Coffee Roasters opened a small storefront and coffee roastery on Grandview Avenue in 1988. Twenty-three years later we have nine locations (across our Stauf’s, Cup o’ Joe and MoJoe Lounge brands) and our roastery supplies over three hundred and fifty cafes, restaurants, specialty stores and offices.

Q: What types of coffee business services does Stauf’s provide?

A: We supply roasted and green coffee, commercial equipment, allied products and retail hardware. We also provide training, layout, design and business coaching. With nine locations of our own we are happy to share our challenges and successes with our customers. We can help our customers with site selection, lease negotiation, operations, quality assurance standards and market trends. We believe in the entrepreneur and their vision. We want to help with the rest. Our core wholesale customer is just like us: passionate, independent and focused on quality.

Q: What can you tell us about the sourcing of your coffee beans and other products?

A: We have a simple rule for evaluating coffee: Does it taste great? Since coffee is traded as a commodity, sourcing amazing coffee can be challenging. Outstanding coffee requires expertize and care at origin. Importing these wonderful coffees requires diligence, great relationships and some flexibility on our part. We purchase specialty grade green coffee from traditional brokers, Fair Trade importers, through farm relationships as well as highly specialized importers.

For us, proof is still in the cup. Tommy Goetz and Rich Benson (our Coffee Roasters) are careful and deliberate about each coffee. Some coffees are quite flexible and exhibit amazing flavor profiles across many roast styles. Some coffees require some serious editing. With profile roasting and our Agtron spectrophotometer for quality control, we can dial into each coffees best flavor. Last year we submitted a couple of coffees to Coffee Review and did pretty well. In August 2011, our Nicaragua blend of Matagalpa and Jinotega received the highest score of 94; in September 2011 our Kenya AA received a 91. We are thrilled about this recognition but we know we must continue to learn. Our roast philosophy remains flexible. Because new roasting ideas and expressions of a particular coffee happen often.

Q: Stauf’s and Cup O Joe carry a lot of other food products. Do you source any of those locally?

A: Our stores throughout Columbus offer locally made treats from Jeni’s Ice Creams, Pattycake Bakery, Zuppa, Simple Sweets, Cookie Cravings, Sweet Tooth Cottage, Elaina Christina and Bretzel. We are working on adding more local suppliers every day.

Q: How do you train your baristas to ensure that the drinks they prepare are of the highest quality?

A: Every team member goes through an intensive service and coffee training program. We evolve and innovate as much as possible. We generally follow Specialty Coffee Association of America guidelines however we look to our team and the rest of the coffee community for innovative techniques and ideas that result in great drinks. We also focus heavily on guest service. Great coffee is important but we want our guests to feel welcome. I really think our job is to be nice. So many people work very hard and have busy schedules; we want them to feel comfortable and happy when they visit us.

Q: Do you think that approach has led to a better appreciation of locally roasted coffee?

A: Well, there will always be a group of people that believe that wine tastes best in France. I agree but probably not for the same reason. I truly believe we have a great coffee community. When we opened, specialty coffee was very new to our town. Fresh coffee was almost unheard of. In the early days just about everyone purchased institutional grade coffees that were stale. In the last fifteen years, I think things have greatly improved. We have some really fine roasters and more on the way. We have shops exploring different brew methods, roast styles and working hard to share their passion with the community. That’s pretty encouraging to me.

Q: What do you think we can expect from the North Market Coffee Roast event on Saturday?

A: It will be a great review of the passionate coffee people in Columbus. I really hope that all of the folks that visit us enjoy the event and see a group of coffee professionals working together to put the spotlight on beautiful coffee.

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

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