If you drink coffee before riding your bike, and then use that bike to deliver coffee to someone, does that create an endless energy loop? That question can be answered at Backroom Coffee Roasters, which gets its name from the fact that they’re brewing in the back room of the Trek Bicycle Shop located on Lane Avenue. Backroom not only focuses on sustainable coffee sourcing, but also hopes to be a little more energy-efficient with their bike-powered delivery services.
We spoke recently with Chris Bishop of Backroom Coffee Roasters to find out more about his two-year-old roasting business:
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the history of your business?
A: We opened for business in June of 2010 and started selling in July. When the Trek Bicycle Store of Columbus moved into their new location on Lane Avenue, the 1,000 square foot space behind them became available. The two years up until to that point I had been roasting at home because I couldn’t get good fresh roasted coffee where I lived.
Q: So Backroom operates solely as wholesale roastery then?
A: Yes, we are a Wholesale-only roastery that sells our label in speciality grocery and in bulk to select restaurants and cafes, including Huffman’s, The Hills Market, The Andersons, and Northstar Cafe. We also have a fundraising business for school sports, music boosters, churches, Pelotonia and anyone else looking to raise money for their cause. We deliver 90% of our coffee on a specially designed cargo bike that was imported from Denmark. We believe in the bicycle for its many uses and it’s sustainable nature. Coffee has to travel far enough to get to Ohio, so this is just one little thing we can do to lower our footprint.
Q: Where does Backroom source its coffee beans?
A: We roast only very high end Arrabica coffees that are imported from around the world — Indonesia, Africa, Central America and South America. Quality comes first. We have some offerings in Fair Trade and Organic, but won’t do those at the expense of quality.
Q: What do you think about “coffee culture” in Columbus right now?
A: It’s nice that there is such an interest in local coffee. Once people start tasting the difference in fresh roasted coffee they usually keep buying it. The local micro-roasters will only continue to grow and flourish. For a picture of the future of micro-roasting take a look at the path the craft-brewing industry has seen over the past decade.
Q: Lastly, tell us what we can expect when visiting you at the North Market Coffee Roast event this weekend?
A: Zen-like enlightenment and a bunch of buzzed coffee drinkers walking around like zombies!
More information can be found online at www.backroomcoffeeroasters.com.