Q+A: Jim Munson of the Brooklyn Roasting Company
Brooklyn Roasting Company is committed to offering the best quality, Fair Trade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified coffees and espressos on the market. All of their coffee is hand roasted each day right here in DUMBO. We sat down with co-owner Jim Munson and general manager Rachel Moldauer to learn more about this beloved, homegrown business.
How was Brooklyn Roasting Company started?
I [Jim] worked as Vice President of the Brooklyn Brewery from 1990-2001 and then became VP for the Dallis Bros Coffee from 2001-08. The idea of making my own coffee started back in 2009 when I was brewing coffee out of my loft in Williamsburg. I then partnered with Michael Pollack in the summer of 2010 to start the company and found a location in DUMBO shortly after.
What is unique about your coffee?
We put a lot of love and time into making quality home-brewed organic coffee that is hand roasted in our new Loring Kestrel 1/2 bag roaster, which is the most advanced small-scale commercial roaster available. We offer more flavors and exotic blends than the typical coffee joint. We’re also pretty serious about being "green" and have worked hard to achieve sustainability by using recycled materials, refurbished equipment, and clean-powered distribution practices. Our packaging facility is also Star K Kosher certified.
How do you decide which coffee to highlight each month?
Unlike beer, most coffee regions are tropical and are not particularly seasonal. However, we do try and match certain coffee flavors during the winter and summer months based on customer feedback. We have a wide selection of coffee types to choose from, so choosing which flavors to highlight can be random at times.
Can you explain your process for deciding which coffee beans to buy?
We select the ingredients from the world’s most renowned coffee growing regions. All of our coffee is Fair Trade certified because we believe farmers should be paid a fair and decent wage. To guarantee truly exemplary cup quality, we rigorously taste all of our coffees before deciding whether or not to buy them, and again before they ship whenever possible.
Why did you choose to open in DUMBO?
We chose DUMBO because of its rich history of coffee making. The building itself used to house operations from Arbuckle Coffee, which by the early 20th century was the largest coffee maker in America! We also really loved the neighborhood and the sense of community that exists. This particular area in DUMBO was not developed much when we first moved in and we saw an opportunity to help the nearby businesses grow.
What is your favorite coffee flavor?
Picking a particular coffee flavor is really hard because we love so many. If we had to choose a bean region, the Ethiopian brands would be our favorite because of the variety of different types and the unique taste of their coffees. Some of their flavored coffee like blueberry are really special.
What do you think contributes to your success?
I think our success is attributed to our focus on sustainable practices, broad selection of quality coffee, and the warm & welcoming environment of our business. We worked hard to provide a truly unique experience that is felt as soon as you walk in the door.
What's your favorite spot in DUMBO?
West Elm is definitely one of our favorite spots in the area.