Jeremy Mason was never much of a coffee drinker until he came upon an espresso place that sourced beans from local farmers. From then on, he was hooked.
"When I find something I like, I look at it from as many angles as I can," says the co-owner of Craft & Mason Roasting Company
, a brand new micro roaster in Lansing. "I started visiting coffee shops that used small roasters and checked out direct trade arrangements for ordering green beans."
Mason bought his first beans from Sweet Maria's
—a home-roasting site that sources beans directly from small farmers. He did his first roasts in a popcorn popper, and when he shared a cup with his friend, Eric Craft, they decided to brew up something bigger.
The two friends purchased several hundred pounds of beans, bought a small roaster, and launched Craft & Mason in a 500-square-foot warehouse. Since December 2013, the two have roasted once a week, filling orders for local restaurants, coffee shops and individuals.
"We feel coffee tastes best when it's fresh," says Mason, who sells online direct and ships within one to two days. "If you can drink coffee within the first two weeks of its roast, it's the best."
Mason believes that enjoying coffee that's fresh roasted from a single origin can be as unique as eating food from a great local farm. His goal, he says, is to honor small coffee farmers by finding the optimal spot in each roast that maximizes the complex flavors of the beans.
"It's a little bit like wine," says Mason of the varieties he sources from El Salvador, Columbia and Sumatra. "All the questions you might ask of a cabernet or pinot wine, you could apply to coffee."
Source: Jeremy Mason, Co-owner, Craft & Mason Roasting Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor