The interwoven actions of Thread Coffee Roasters in Baltimore are finding exponentially more space this week with the grand opening of a brand-new production roastery and training lab.
The worker-owned company is planning a Feb. 3 opening for the 2,300-square-foot facility, which includes plenty of elbow room around the company’s Diedrich IR-12 roaster.
“We plan to add a 30-35-kilo roaster when it’s time to scale up,” Thread Coffee Worker-Owner and Co-Founder Nani Ferreira-Mathews told Daily Coffee News.
The new digs also allow for customers to pick up online roasted coffee purchases in person, including refills of reusable 12-ounce coffee tins that save customers 30% through Thread’s ongoing CSC (Community Supported Coffee) refill program.
A professional training lab for wholesale clients at the new site is equipped with a Slayer Steam LP espresso machine, multiple batch and manual brewing devices, Mazzer grinders with and without dosers and a Mahlkönig EK43 grinder, as well as tools such as a Kruve sifter, VST refractometer and apps for learning about TDS, extraction yield and recipe development.
“This new lab provides us the space to convert our core value of education into a tangible service to our clients at no additional cost,” said Ferreira-Mathews. “We want to provide baristas access to coffee tasting and professional development, and since we don’t have cafes of our own, we plan to put all of our educational energy into ensuring our partners and their teams have an ongoing high-level training program for their baristas.”
The other 95% of its greens continue to be sourced through progressive importing coop Cooperative Coffees, to which Thread remains tightly tied.
Nani Ferreira-Mathews is an executive board member and treasurer of Cooperative Coffees. Thread Co-Founder Holly Kent-Payne is on Cooperative Coffees’ sourcing and quality committee, and Nate Klock, who joined Thread in 2021, is on the organization’s impact committee.
Meanwhile, the road to Thread’s current success has had its share of knots. The new space is the roasting company’s fifth home since its foundation in 2012 by Ferreira-Mathews, Kent-Payne and Casey McKeel in McKeel’s backyard in the Waverly neighborhood.
From an art studio then a shared commercial kitchen, Thread eventually settled into the Open Works maker space in 2017, opening a coffee bar. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a temporary production relocation to a facility in Hampden, and now the Thread team plans to stay a while at its location at 1812 Greenmount Ave. (Suite 102) in the Station North district.
In addition to its public expansion, some key internal growth is happening at Thread. Klock is taking steps to become a full worker-owner; the company is planning a new health insurance program, and just recently, by necessity, Thread also drafted its first maternity and parental leave policy, offering a 3-month paid leave.
“While we hope to scale up and sell even more amazing and ethically sourced coffee, we are most excited for the arrival of our head roaster’s first child,” Ferreira-Mathews told DCN. “Holly Kent-Payne is expecting a baby girl in February. There is no federal or state mandate or assistance for small businesses of our size, so we had to draft our own policy based on our desire for equity as worker-owners.”
Starting next month, Thread will be offering public coffee classes and workshops, including the science of pourover brewing, how to dial in espresso and how to steam and pour milk.
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