Boardman's Branch Street Coffee gets scientific with roasting pr - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Boardman's Branch Street Coffee gets scientific with roasting process

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Food and Wine Magazine named Branch Street Coffee Roasters, in Boardman, the best coffee in Ohio. The coffee shop's roasting process could be one of the keys behind that honor.

Every coffee at Branch Street in Boardman starts the same way, with coffee beans going into the roaster.

"This is a solid steel drum, and it's got little agitators in there, almost like the inside of the dryer that keeps the clothing moving, so the beans are never touching the outside of the drum too much. They're always bouncing around in there. It's mainly the air introducing the heat into the roasting process," said owner Matt Campbell.

That part's pretty straightforward. The rest of the process is a scientific adventure with a roadmap that they had to come up with. There is a lot of trial and error involved.

"We want to know how it likes to be roasted. Does it like to be heated up quickly early on, or does it like to be coaxed out of its shell?" said Campbell. "Sometimes it'll take us three, four different roasts before we really nail it and find that flavor zone in the coffee."

A computer system monitors the roast, but the majority of this process is still done by hand. The computer makes sure everything is roasted precisely the way they want, right down to the degree and the second.

"We want the roast to finish within about ten seconds of its target, and we want to be off by no more than two to three degrees of our target," said Campbell.

If it sounds like a hyper-detailed process, that's because it is.

"At certain points during the roast we want to kind of either slow down or speed up the amount of air that's coming through the beans themselves," said Campbell.

The coffee roasted on this day is a Costa Rican that will end up as espresso at Nova Coffee in Warren; carefully following those lines on the screen to get it just right.

"In a 12 minute time period, we were off by less than a degree and a half, which is exactly what we're looking for. We want that total quality control all the way through," said Campbell.

All that time, all that focus, going into whatever ends up in your cup. It may be a little on the nerdy side, but they're OK with that.

"We embrace the inner nerd. We're really excited about finding and unlocking the secrets, and the more control that we have over the roasting process itself, the more accurately we're able to replicate and find out why the flavors are different when we do different things," said Campbell.

These are all the steps they take to create what Food and Wine Magazine calls the best coffee in Ohio.

Campbell's roaster sits right at the front of his shop, and he says he enjoys having customers pull up a bucket and chat with him about the roasting process. He calls it one of the industry's mysteries, one that he gladly tries to clear up for anyone interested.

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