There's a saying in conservative American politics that one should “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” the idea being that self-reliance was the key to elevating one's status. It's also, as a matter of fact, an impossible physical feet (to speak nothing of the implications on self-reliance).
Politics aside, the idea of success through hard work is one familiar to the coffee world. Many companies come from humble beginnings only to find a footing and become a thriving part of their local community. One such company is the aptly-named Bootstrap Coffee Roasters in Minnesota. Starting as a small, roaster-only operation in 2014, Bootstrap has outgrown their 500-square-foot facility and is moving into their new roastery/offices/coffee bar on St. Paul's West Side. It's a familiar success story, one we love telling here on Sprudge. And it shows that, maybe with enough coffee, you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
As told to Sprudge by Micah Svejda.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Bootstrap Coffee Roasters was founded as a wholesale and online roasting company by industry veteran Micah Svejda in 2014. At the heart of the vision was a focus on offering delicious, seasonal, and approachable coffees and fantastic wholesale support. The company started with just Micah and no partners or employees in a 500-square-foot production room. It started to grow slowly but steadily right away.
As the team grew, more space was needed and we built out our space on the West Side and moved our roasting there this spring. In addition to more space for production and offices, we wanted to open a coffee bar as a showcase for the brand and as a source of inspiration for our wholesale customers.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our new roastery and coffee bar is located on the West Side of St. Paul—a historic, diverse, and beautiful neighborhood just across the river from downtown. Our building was built as a post office in 1956 and retains a lot of that mid-century feel. We designed the space so that our roasting operations are featured front and center in the space and just steps from our coffee bar, separated only by a railing from the seating area. We wanted it to be open and engaging—a place where customers can see the process, ask questions, and learn more.
The space also has an education/cupping room. We are developing education courses for both wholesale customers and coffee bar customers and plan to roll those out soon.
We also have a huge wooded side yard. It's especially popular on the weekends with families. Folks will bring blankets and hang out picnic-style. Since we started as a wholesale and online company, we've built up a community over the last five years. It's our goal to be both a destination space for that community and a local gathering spot for our new neighbors on the West Side!
What’s your approach to coffee?
We offer delicious, seasonal coffees roasted with balance and complexity in mind. We work with a network of importers and growers to offer an intentional, ever-evolving menu of coffees—both single-origin and blends. Relationships are crucial to us at every stage from growers to importers to wholesale customers to coffee bar customers!
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
We have a FETCO CBS-2132XTS for batch brew. We offer most of our offerings brewed to order on three-cup Chemexes brewed via a Curtis Gold Cup. We have a two-group La Marzocco Linea PB and both a Mahlkönig K30 Air and a K30 Twin. We offer two cold brew options on tap. We also have a 20-kilo Mill City roaster, which we're excited about!
How is your project considering sustainability?
Being a building with such history, several architectural pieces (a barn door and a piece of the original window with hand-painted signage) were salvaged during the buildout. All of our cups and other to-go items are compostable. We compost much of our waste from chaff to used grounds. We see sustainability as a spectrum and strive to always be moving to producing less waste and achieving greater efficiency!
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We opened June 13, 2019.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Thank you so much. We're very excited about this next chapter in our company's story!
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