Q&A With Stovetop Roasters

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Roasts Used

Neighborhood Blend

“Imagine strolling through your favorite neighborhood early in the morning. The sun rises, puddles on the sidewalk glisten (it rained the night before), and you wave to people you don’t know. That’s what this blend tastes like.”

This is a blend for everyday drinking. Generous chocolate notes and a more developed roast profile give it a bold, tasty personality.

Current Components

Brazil Vicente de Paulo Pereira (1/2) , Colombia Timaná (1/2)

Peru El Palto

Our first offering from Peru and we are extremely excited to share this beautiful coffee with you. The Asociacion de Productores Cafetaleros Juan Marco El Palto (we’ll just stick with El Palto) is located in the Amazonian Andes in northern Peru. The cooperative has grown since starting with 35 farmers in 2003, to now consisting of 189 active members. All coffee produced is certified organic and Fair Trade, and women represent 40 of the organizations families while also providing continual representation on the Board of Directors. 

This particular lot was produced by Gilber Carranza Barboza and we are tasting rich and sweet notes of caramel, chocolate, and cherry. We recommend enjoying on a rooftop bar while listening to ambient music.

Region : Amazonas
Process : Washed
Variety : Bourbon , Caturra , Pache , Typica
Elevation : 1600 – 1800 masl
Notes : Caramel , Chocolate , Cherry

Sourced from our friends at Olam.

Meet the Roaster

Q: How did you get involved in the coffee business?

Each of us at Stovetop has our own unique story, but most of us began as baristas at high quality specialty coffee shops where we developed a strong fundamental skill set for tasting, brewing, and serving coffee. Steve initially started this on his own in 2015 and moved a small electric roaster into Jared’s (our Brand and Design Director) basement. In 2016, Jared and Steve brought on David Kibler as a co owner and investor, and moved the roastery to Ann Arbor. Mike, Sam, Rachel, and John slowly joined the team for roasting and cafe operations, and now Stovetop is a full-time, 500lb-a-week roastery.

Q: Can you explain your mission a bit?

Our mission is to roast the best coffee we possibly can, and serve people as well as we can. We want to grow the audience of specialty coffee—there are so many coffee drinkers who have yet to be exposed to specialty coffee. We want to continue making specialty coffee a sustainable industry, and the best way to do that is to bring people in. Good coffee doesn’t need to be intimidating. It should be accessible to folks who don’t identify as “coffee people.” That’s why we value playfulness. We want people to feel invited into the specialty coffee world.

Q: Is there a story behind the name?

The idea for the company was born in a college kitchen while Steve was roasting coffee on a stovetop. Also, Steve’s nickname was “Stove,” so there’s that.

Q: What would you say distinguishes your coffee?  

We work very hard to select and source the best tasting coffees we can find, and our importers are a huge part of that process. We work with Olam, and Todd Mackey has been an incredible resource for us. We’re always learning and growing, and our quality control and roasting process is meticulous: we taste and score every batch we roast to ensure quality and improve our process.

Q: How do you decide which beans to source next?

We try to source appropriate volumes of each origin based on freshness and seasonality. Coffees around the globe are all harvesting at different times, and we try to source coffees as soon as we can get them from the farm. We purchase as much as we can sell within 3-6 months. Sometimes we sell out of a coffee in less than 2 months, while others hang on for 6 months. We can never predict how popular they’ll be until we’ve already ordered them and begun roasting and selling them. This is a tough balance to manage, but it means you’re enjoying our coffees when they’re in peak flavor. It’s just like any other produce—freshness is paramount.

Q: Can you share some stories about the farmers you work with, and the families that are impacted by your mission? – Or the specific missions you give back to?

One coffee we had this past year in particular is very inspiring to me.  We had the opportunity to purchase Dinonisio “Don Nicho” Hernandez’s coffee from the San Vicente Mill in Santa Barbara, Honduras. Don Nicho’s coffee has dramatically improved in 3 short years due to the attention and support he recieves from Benjamin Paz, who operates the San Vicente processing mill. Benjamin helps educate producers like Don Nicho concerning best agricultural practices, which means they’re continually improving their coffee and getting better prices for it. This provides Don Nicho with more compensation for his work, and provides us with fantastic coffee. This story is true for many in that area and wouldn’t be possible without Benjamin Paz. These kinds of relationships can develop in unique ways for the roasters and producers. We hope to continue working with producers from this area, supporting each other in ways beyond just buying and selling coffee. We’re eager for the next harvest from Don Nicho and other San Vicente farmers. This video by Cat & Cloud Coffee is a great introduction to these people and their story: https://youtu.be/GUjmp9qjmcY

Q: What do you like best about your line of work?

We’re a small piece of a beautiful industry that impacts the lives of so many people across the globe. We’re truly fortunate to be doing what we do. We hope to make the world a better place to live in, and we believe coffee can be a part of that goal. The work is challenging, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Q: Something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business?

We have never sold coffee that was actually roasted on a stovetop. 😉

Q: What’s next for Stovetop?

Cafes. 🙂


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