One Line Coffee has a steady presence in Columbus, with their Short North and downtown shops (plus a third on the way to Franklinton), and also by supplying many different shops and restaurants (Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Highline Coffee, Red Velvet Cafe, Lineage Brewing, for starters). Their operations have expanded enough that they upgraded to a new roasting facility in Heath, Ohio.
Earlier this year I had the great opportunity to hang out with Mick Evans, Director of Retail Ops for One Line, at their facility. (Side note: I also had the good fortune of interviewing Mick for Columbus Monthly, where he was named one of the 2018 Tastemakers.) Mick showed me around their facility and brewed up some coffee for us.
One Line has developed direct relationships with coffee growers around the world. Their name indicates the single, direct line they’re trying to create from grower to roaster to consumer.
Their small warehouse toward the back of the space holds shelf after shelf of green beans in bags, arriving from all over the world.
Of course, before we really got going on the tour, Mick brewed us some coffee. It’s an honor having Mick personally make you a cup of coffee.
Especially using fresh beans at their roastery.
The day I visited the roastery was humming with activity. Owner Dave Forman was busy at their primary roaster.
The warm, smoky smell of coffee roasting is wonderful, especially on a cooler day.
There is an art and a science to roasting coffee. Roasters will test each bean in smaller batches to find the perfect timing and temperature for them. Surrounding Dave and the roaster are binders and notes listing different roast profiles.
There’s a certain elegance to a coffee roaster, from the bright, reflective metal surfaces, to the various components that move the coffee from place to place, to the polished wooden trier, a small handle that can be removed to examine the progress of the roasting beans.
A hopper loaded with green coffee beans is vacuumed up into the roasting drum.
And the finished product comes out looking beautiful like this.
During the roasting process, a large drum collects the chaff, the papery husks that fall off the beans.
This chaff has to be collected and removed, as a buildup of it can result in a fire hazard, much like a lint screen on a dryer.
The roasting facility was also busy with two employees bagging roasted coffees for retail and wholesale clients.
Another giant hopper shakes beans down the tray. They can adjust the hopper to dispense the right amount of beans for each bag.
One Line serves many accounts, and has a large presence northeast of Columbus around Granville, Heath, and Newark. They supply all the coffee to nearby Denision University, for instance.
I’m already impressed by the skill it takes for baristas to properly brew a cup of coffee or cappuccino, but then add the skill of the growers and the roaster’s work of carefully treating the beans to bring out their best qualities. It’s a great experience to see this first-hand.
Thanks to Mick for the tour!