PB&J, Hall and Oates, Turner and Hooch. Some things just work better together than they do on their own. Increasingly, craft coffee and craft beer are attaining that kind of inseparability, as production and retail spaces increasingly are being designed to accommodate both.
The latest example of this phenomenon comes from Kansas City, Missouri-based Rochester Brewing and Roasting Co., which has soft-opened its coffee component for morning service in the Crossroads district. The beer brewery and taproom side of the equation is slated to be tapped soon.
Philip Enloe, head coffee roaster for RB&R, is keeping his eye on the Diedrich IR5 machine painted smartly in tones of light and chocolate brown with purple pinstripes. The drum roaster, which is a substantial departure from the Coffee Crafters fluid-bed machine Enloe learned on as a hobbyist, is installed alongside a matching destoner in the 1,200-square-foot cafe and taproom that seats about 50.
“Going from a fluid bed to a drum took a little bit of time, for sure,” Enloe told Daily Coffee News, adding that in both coffee and beer, the road to success is paved by the pure love of craft. “Passion is huge in coffee and beer, and if you do not have passion for the craft, you will not succeed. That passion is then passed on to your customer who can tell if there is care and thought behind the service and preparation.”
Coffee preparation behind the 60-foot-long bar made from 100-year-old repurposed wood occurs on a two-group La Marzocco Linea AV espresso machine, a Bunn Dual DBC batch brewer and a Curtis Gold Cup Single Cup Brewer. The rest of the 5,500-square-foot facility includes packaging space, an area for private events and, of course, plenty of space for the brewing of beer, cider, mead and wines.
“My hope is to give each bean I roast integrity, a story, and to make it taste the way it supposed to taste,” Enloe said of his treatment of greens sourced through importers such as Anthem, Ally and Genuine Origin. “Obviously I will be manipulating the bean through heat, but I believe each origin has distinct notes that need to be accented.”
Another parallel the company highlights between the worlds of beer and coffee is how both beverages bring varied groups of people together in good cheer.
“We had to marry the look and feel of a cafe with a brewery, which are similar and different at the same time,” Enloe said of the location’s warm-but-industrial design. “My favorite part is having the roaster sitting out in the cafe where you can see the action and the vent pipe looks really neat going out our 18-foot ceilings.”
Canning and kegging of cold brew coffee may eventually launch, although the focus at the moment is building direct connections with customers in the shop.
“We believe the local taproom/cafe is where coffee, and beer especially, is going,” said Enloe. “We want to focus on relationships and help build a better KC.”
Rochester Brewing and Roasting Co. is located at 2129 Washington St. in Kansas City, Missouri.