Getting academic in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is hardly anything new; the home to both Harvard University and MIT, Cambridge is home to some pretty big brains. But applying this sort of intellectual rigor to coffee may not be as much of a given. Enter Broadsheet Coffee Roasters, Cambridge's newest coffee roaster, and one that some with some serious credentials. Owner Aaron MacDougall won Genuine Origin's Roast and GO competition and made the finals at this year's US Cup Tasters Championship; Pastry Chef Darine Hazboun is an award-winning graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts; and Front of House and Beverage Manager Wolf Marnell is a seasoned US Barista Championship competitor and winner of Populace Coffee's Flight of Fancy competition (I'm still not over it). That's a lot of intellectual horsepower for a brand-new cafe.
The result is a beautiful cafe just across the Charles River from Boston. So let's take a look inside the new Broadsheet Coffee Roasters, shall we?
As told to Sprudge by Wolf Marnell.
For those who aren't familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Broadsheet Coffee Roasters is a new roastery/coffee shop/restaurant. We're located in a dense residential neighborhood just a few minutes walk from Harvard Yard. Owner/Roaster Aaron MacDougall has been roasting since 2011 and is a certified Q grader. In the past year, he won Genuine Origin‘s Roast and GO competition and placed 5th in the US Cup Tasters Championship. Chef Darine Hazboun earned her Professional Pastry degree from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts with honors and a LeNotre award. She's put together an incredible menu of Mediterranean- and Middle Eastern-inspired breakfast, lunch, and brunch dishes—and, of course, delicious pastries. I became friends with Aaron when I was running the coffee program for Pavement Coffeehouse, a local multi-unit coffee retailer in Boston. When Aaron asked me to join Broadsheet, I decided to take the leap! Now that we're open, I manage the front of house and the beverage program.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Our new space used to be a convenience store, and the build-out was a total overhaul. Lots of new windows make the space super bright. The design is somewhat minimal, but with plenty of fun details with color and texture.
We have a lot going on in our space, with the cafe, galley kitchen, and roasting room on the main floor and our cupping/training lab, green coffee storage, and bakery/prep kitchen in the basement.
What's your approach to coffee?
Aaron tends to roast relatively light, so we love super-clean, sparkly coffees that do well with that profile. On the brewing side, we are focused on serving awesome batch coffee and espresso drinks, so we put a lot of effort into keeping those on point. Since our roasting area is just a few feet away from our counter, our baristas taste and exchange feedback with Aaron frequently—so we're always working on improving our roasting and brewing. We try to involve our baristas as much as possible in cupping, QC, and developing new beverages.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Aaron roasts all of our coffee on a 15kg Loring. On our espresso bar, we've got a La Marzocco Linea PB ABR (love the drip tray scales!), a Mahlkönig PEAK for our house espresso (always a single origin), and an EK43 for decaf and our “featured espresso.”
Our batch brew setup is hidden from view, but it's the part that I'm most excited about. We've got an old, used FETCO 2032 with the old school shower plates, and a Grindmaster grinder. It's a pretty ugly setup—but it's exactly what we wanted, and we've put a lot of love into those machines!
We have an awesome nitro iced coffee setup that the beer geeks at Modern Draught designed and installed for us.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We soft opened July 1, and our grand opening was Wednesday, July 5.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We worked with Hovercraft Studio on our branding, and they crushed it. Our designer/architect/GC Anthony Sparandara from ASK Design/Build did an amazing job, and was hands-on every step of the way. Chef Darine was an interior designer for 10 years, and a lot of the design details are her work. My friend Julie Ciollo did some beautiful photography for us, including the shots I've passed along here. Marty Walsh, the founder of an awesome local bike frame builder called Geekhouse Bikes, fabricated the gate around our roasting area. So many people were involved and supported this build-out, it would be difficult to name everyone!