The Dozer roastery and cafe is part of the craft-production-focused HOMES Campus, which opened last December in the Jackson Plaza industrial complex near Jackson and Wagner on Ann Arbor’s far west side.
Occupying two long buildings flanking a central courtyard, the campus houses Dozer’s operations; HOMES’ main beer production facilities; the HOMES Can Shop and Smooj Lab, the latter being HOMES’ “hard smoothies” brand; and an art gallery space.
“The space started as an industrial warehouse park, and has been transformed into a collaborative space for the community,” Dozer/HOMES Brewery Operations Director Al Lauzon recently told DCN.
HOMES, whose name is an acronym representing the five Great Lakes, purchased the industrial property after opening its original brewpub near Vet’s park in 2017. The coffee component began to pick up steam through a serendipitous meeting in 2018 with Adam Rizzo, who who happened to be meeting friends at the brewpub.
Rizzo, the former director of coffee for California’s Portola Coffee Roasters, is now the head roaster at Dozer, overseeing a Loring S15 Falcon roaster alongside a 1-kilo Mill City Roasters machine that’s used for sample roasting.
Approximately half of the coffees passing through those machines are the result of direct-trade relationships with coffee producers that have been cultivated over several years. The other half comes from spot offerings and core coffees sourced through importers such as Falcon Coffees and North Carolina-based Honduras specialist De La Finca.
“I like to take into consideration a variety of interests from our customer base,” Rizzo told DCN. “I have learned that a lot of folks are into balanced, level roasted coffees, so I like to choose coffees that can be roasted with a wide range of perfection. For example, I love Peruvian coffee because you can roast light and highlight the beautiful citrus acidity, but just a couple degrees darker, or maybe a minute or so more in the total roast time, and you have a very different coffee with tons of chocolate and toffee, but scores just as high.”
Under the watch of Dozer Cafe Manager Kyle Klobucar, those coffees make their way to a manual pourover bar or to a Curtis G4 Twin batch brewer supported by a Mahlkönig EK43.
Cold coffee offerings follow flash chilling and nitrogen treatment. A 3-group Linea PB AV machine flanked by Mazzer Robur S and Kony S grinders support the espresso-based menu.
Alongside coffees, guests are offered rotating popup and experimental food menus reflecting the efforts of HOMES Campus Head Chef Nick Muscato, Head Pastry Chef Jennifer Zimmer and Pastry Sous Chef Dante Kemble. The day’s donut offerings are given a glamorous reflective glass display at the counter.
Dozer will continue to benefit from HOMES’ ongoing food-focused projects, according to Lauzon, which like coffee and beer, highlight the elements of production.
“One of our main goals is to foster community involvement, so we are turning some focus to our local food pop-up ‘incubator’ which will provide an outlet for local chefs — including our own team — to test out new food and drink concepts out of our commissary space,” Lauzon said. “We also plan to begin hosting some public classes and workshops in the near future, providing an ongoing opportunity for our community to learn more about the things we all love.”