Filling in the gaps of specialty coffee in Albany, Oregon, is Margin Coffee Roasters, which is celebrating the grand opening of its new roastery cafe this month.
Having just finished seasoning the company’s new Cropster-linked 10-kilo Mill City Roasters machine a few weeks ago, Margin Coffee Head Roaster David Hurley has started roasting production batches for the company inside a 3,000-square-foot building near I-5 that previously housed a carpet and flooring business.
The roastery and the bar’s shiny La Marzocco espresso machine are now dual focal points for guests entering what constitutes the company’s second retail cafe.
Margin Coffee Roasters Owner Gabriel Anderson told Daily Coffee News that while the new cafe’s design represents an aesthetic departure from the coffee company’s original cafe — the latter boasting an arched ceiling and vintage windows in a 120-year-old building — the focus on coffee quality extends to both cafes.
“I very intentionally laid out the bar and roasting area to highlight the craft and science of coffee itself,” Anderson told DCN. “I wanted the equipment to be set up for the curious and aficionados alike.”
Working within the limitations of the 1980s-era construction, including the building’s drop ceiling, Anderson set out to create a bright, modern atmosphere that exists in harmony with the industrial nature of the production roastery.
“The finished aesthetic is my own twist of industrial modern with a little Southwestern flare,” said Anderson. “Wood slat walls, pops of green, matte finishes, and some cacti [are] a fun contrast to the jungle foliage at our original shop. My hobby, woodworking, and the construction skills of the roastery’s new manager and long-time family friend, Emma Vassar, made it all come to life over the last month and a half.”
The original Margin Coffee shop opened in 2018, serving coffee that was roasted by Corvallis-based Bespoken Coffee Roasters plus some guest roasters. By the end of 2020, a house roasting program came to fruition under that watch of Hurley, who transitioned out of his career as a professor of chemistry and started renting time on Bespoken’s 15-kilo Proaster machine.
“A lot of what I loved about teaching science I find in coffee roasting, as well,” Hurley, who learned the craft in part through the tutelage of Bespoken Owner Collin Schnieder, told Daily Coffee News. “Science can feel unapproachable to a lot of students. It’s a great joy to be able to help students bridge that gap. Likewise, coffee has its own language and way of speaking that can feel unapproachable. The thing I love most is being a part of people exploring beyond what they know coffee to be.”
Roughly half of the newly remodeled building is devoted to the roastery, while the other half contains storage space, the retail cafe and a full kitchen from which the company will be able to produce baked goods and other menu items for both cafes.
“The heart of Margin Coffee Roasters has always been community,” said Anderson. “We value community over competition; we value rest over rush; we value curiosity over pretension; we value quality over commodity. So moving forward, we want to engage with our local customers and wholesale relationships to that end. We aren’t about building an empire, just a community. As our community grows, so will we.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.