New rural-urban business partnership formed to advance specialty coffee in Iowa
Ross Street Roasting Co., located in Tama, recently sold a stake of their company to Cedar Rapids-based Brewhemia, a Specialty/Third Wave coffee shop. Ross Street Roasting had been supplying Brewhemia with a percentage of its coffee since early 2016, and the idea for deeper partnership was brought up late in the year.
Brian Gumm, founder of Ross Street Roasting, stated, "2016 was my first full year operating the business on my own, and I was very close to maxing out my capacity to both run the business and continue to grow it. So when I was approached with the idea of bringing one of the best Third Wave cafes in the state on as a partner, I was thrilled at the opportunities it would open up for the company, its growth potential, and advancing Specialty Coffee in Iowa."
Ross Street Roasting Company owner Brian Gumm (left) explains his operation to Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and State Rep. Dean Fisher during a tour in July, 2016. Gumm has announced an expansion of the business with a partnership deal.
-News-Herald file photo/John Speer
Steve Shriver, co-owner of Brewhemia, says "Ross Street Roasting is a great fit for us. Brian's roasting style and his business philosophy are well aligned with ours."
The expanded team at Ross Street Roasting will work together to increase distribution to retail stores and cafes across Iowa, while continuing to ship fresh-roasted, Specialty Coffee directly to customers anywhere in the US through its website and other online avenues.
Specialty Coffee is a rapidly growing market within the global coffee trade. It is based on a quality scoring system developed by the international trade group, the Specialty Coffee Association (http://sca.coffee). Third Wave Coffee is a movement that uses Specialty-grade coffees as a starting point, and applies quality-centric roasting and brewing methods that best bring out the stunning array of flavors present in Specialty-grade coffees.
Ross Street Roasting Co.'s product line includes both single origin coffees and blends intended for drip brewers or espresso machines. Coffee is sourced through a Specialty Coffee importer in the region, and they also maintain a Direct Trade relationship with a grower and processor in Nicaragua, Gold Mountain Coffee Growers.
"I've taken a lot of inspiration from what Iowa craft beer brewers have done in a very short period of time," says Gumm. "We're aiming to push the envelope in a similar way with coffee: To grow the industry around quality and craft measures, but do it at scale."