How I became the local coffee roaster
by David Bowerman
Coffee roasting was somewhat of foreign concept to me. Towards the end of my college career I started really taking interest in specialty coffee. Like many others, Starbucks started it all off for me. My good friend Marv and I would frequent NMUs café multiple times a week, trying different coffee every chance we could.
Once on a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, we visited the Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters. It was here I saw my first green coffee. I was so intrigued with the many different options of green coffee; I must have asked their roaster Craig a million questions. They allowed me to purchase some green coffee that day and I never looked back.
My goal is to provide as much coffee education as I can.
My roasting started with a two-quart pot, a wire whisk and a colander. At first, I was scared to burn the coffee. I wasn’t using enough heat, then I was using too much heat and smoked myself right out of my kitchen. After a lot of trial and error I actually started to get it down. I surprisingly made some okay coffee with this method.
Fast forward several years. I was living in Portland, Oregon. I used this opportunity to try as many different coffees as I could. We visited every roasting operation that would allow tours. We sampled every coffee we could get our hands on. I had purchased a 500 G, small, but professional coffee roasting machine. I had a pretty makeshift set up in my spare bedroom which became my coffee roasting operation. I bought a 50lb bag of green Colombian Huila and started roasting as much as I could. I consumed all of the information on coffee roasting I could. From books to Youtube to just asking random coffee workers questions everyplace I went.
As I started to burn out of my career as a mortician, I needed a new path. I decided to start applying to coffee shops. I submitted my resume to a ton of shops and received not one call back. Considering I had no formal training in coffee or roasting, the likelihood of being hired was pretty slim. I devised a plan B, I would start my own coffee roasting operation.
The inception of Gallery Coffee began in October of 2018. After months of texts and emails, I moved back to Munising in April of 2019. Construction was completed in September and due to some bureaucratic constraints, roasting didn’t begin until December.
Our roasting operation is pretty simple. We roast, sample (cup the coffees), package, and repeat. Sampling every roast is very important. If it doesn’t fit my standards, we won’t bag it. My goal is to provide as much coffee education as I can to help my customers make more informed decisions on selecting coffee and to realize coffee roasting is just as much of an art as it a science.
I look forward to roasting some coffee for you.