While quality-focused micro roasteries in a mid-sized market might naturally be viewed as competitors, two Lansing, Mich.-based coffee companies have contradicted that impression as they have teamed up for a creative collaboration that promotes the city’s craft coffee culture while also supporting a worthy community-driven cause.
Craft & Mason Roasting Co. and Bloom Coffee Roasters both started their respective commercial roasting operations about three years ago, becoming two of the driving forces in Lansing’s specialty coffee scene. Their new “Collaboration for a Cause” blend is being sold in select stores and coffee shops throughout the area, with portions of the proceeds from each bag and beverage sold being collected for the local Refugee Development Center, a nonprofit, grassroots refugee support and empowerment organization.
“We have a shared vision for the community that goes beyond just selling more coffee,” Craft and Mason Co-Founder Jeremy Mason told Daily Coffee News, regarding the collaboration with Bloom. “This project is important to us because it represents a collaborative effort to push our community forward and encourage relationships. The relationship dynamic of coffee is a huge reason we both started roasting about the same time three years ago.”
The blend itself features a honey processed Guatemala Acatenango from the La Esperanza farm that passed through Bloom Co-Founder Jared Field’s Probat L12. Craft and Mason contributed a milk-friendly Brazil natural from Carmo de Minas that the company includes in its signature espresso blend for its heavy base and some light fruit notes.
“We wanted the blend to be versatile — something that could be enjoyed as espresso, in milk drinks and as a drip cup,” said Mason, who works with the company’s San Franciscan SF-6. “That is a bit of a tall order, but we landed on something we liked pretty quickly because we both knew what we were looking for in the coffees we would be blending.”
Mason said the collaborative process itself was enlightening, in that roasting commercially day in and day out tends to lend itself to isolation.
“It represented a bit of a risk and a step out for both of us, and at the end of the day, our shared vision of the community as well as recognizing and raising money for a great local charity is what pushed it forward,” Mason said. “It was a great exercise in finding a common goal and creating something meaningful by taking a chance on something. It was also really fun for each of us to taste the other roaster’s coffee and come up with ideas for the final blend.”