In the central Ohio village of Mechanicsburg, Hemisphere Coffee Roasters has made the short migration from Main Street to a new facility on the edge of town.
“This region is a growing hub for great coffee, and our small town of Mechanicsburg has a discerning taste,” Hemisphere owner Paul Kurtz told Daily Coffee News. “Two major State Routes intersect here, and traffic is good for great coffee.”
The new, larger space contains the company’s warehousing, roasting, packaging and shipping equipment, as well as a retail area being referred to as the Tasting Room. And, while the relocation has taken Hemisphere out of the downtown area, the upside is a loading dock and large turnaround space for shipments — ample room for the company to expand its sphere, as it were, of coffee influence.
“With our move off Main Street, we are assisting a new shop to open in a historical building in the center of town, as a full-line coffee shop,” said Kurtz.
Meanwhile, in its own space, Hemisphere is scaling back its retail plan to put the focus more squarely on its top-quality coffees, prepared with precision and out of respect for the producers. Said Kurtz, “We have greatly cut back on the menu to include only coffee and drinks we think do justice to the beans we import and market.”
The coffee bar in the new space offers espresso-based drinks prepared on a white La Marzocco Linea Mini, as well as brewed coffee from a white Curtis Seraphim duo.
“The Seraphim does a fantastic job of preparing programmed recipes and individually setup for each coffee,” said Kurtz. “Currently we are importing two to three containers from the Gloria and Diego Chavarria family in Matagalpa, Nicaragua — high grown and classic Nicaragua coffee. This is our flagship coffee with great citrus and chocolate notes. We also import out of the small Ahka village of Doi Chang, in northern Thailand and the Lake Atitlin region in Guatemala.”
Situated next to the warehouse is the roasting area, forming a large U-shape for the coffee to move from the roasting area to production, through packaging, and to the shipping dock.
“Hemisphere roasts and ships close to 4,000 pounds per week,” said Kurtz. “This new facility allows us to do this with great efficiency.”
Paul and Grace Kurtz started Hemisphere in 2002 out of their home. The couple began roasting on a small Sivetz fluid bed roaster, primarily to get familiar with the process and to understand quality, before purchasing a 33-pound Sivetz roaster in 2006, around the time they moved in to the space on Main Street. In 2012, Hemisphere added a Dietrich IR-12, and it is now utilizing both machines in its daily roasting.
“I was working for a Church Agency when we opened, primarily traveling to Central America, East Africa and South East Asia,” said Kurtz. “Our desire from the beginning was to do community development through the creation of single origin, farmer-specific brands. We began direct trade in 2006 with our first container out of the Matagalpa region in Nicaragua.”
Paul is a licensed Q-Grader through the Coffee Quality Institute and engages the local community with cuppings on the weekends. Kurtz added, “Our goal is to educate and raise appreciation for great coffee among our customers.”
Hemisphere Coffee Roasters is now open at 275 E. Sandusky Street in Mechanicsburg.
Lily Kubota is the digital content manager of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. She is based in Southern California.