Cambridge’s First Coffee Roaster Is Headed for Kirkland Street
A hobbyist-turned-certified roaster and a former Pavement program director are teaming up to open Broadsheet Coffee Roasters & Café.
A new coffee shop is headed for a busy block in Cambridge. Broadsheet Coffee Roasters—poised to be the first in Cambridge to roast its own beans, according to owner Aaron MacDougall—is currently under construction next door to Savenor’s Butcher, and across Kirkland Street from Tony Maws’s Tap & Trotter.
Broadsheet Coffee Roasters is the first restaurant venture for MacDougall, a former Wall Street analyst who began roasting wild coffee about five years ago, as a hobby while he was living in Hawaii. When the Harvard alum moved back to the Boston area with his wife, he started the certification process to become a Q Arabica (Specialty) grader, a qualification he has since obtained. He has attended many tastings and other professional development seminars at the Counter Culture Coffee Training Center in Somerville, where he met Wolf Marnell.
Marnell, who started his coffee career as a barista at Espresso Royale, was most recently director of coffee for that company’s rebrand, Pavement Coffeehouse. Marnell is Broadsheet’s beverage director and retail manager. As a longtime Inman/Union Square dweller, he says he’s pleased to be building the type of coffeeshop he has long wanted to see in his neighborhood.
“Union Square has moved forward so much over the past five years. In this area, you have eateries open in the evening, but there’s really no place to go for lunch, a coffee, and breakfast. We’re hoping to add to that community,” MacDougall says.
Nearby Harvard University was home to the young colonies’ first printing press, so the company name is in homage to that.
“The broadsheet was a way of getting news out there, distinguished from a tabloid, and it’s a way of communicating quality content,” MacDougall explains. Part of the name means the duo hopes their café will become a place where people come together to exchange ideas, “but the subtext is we’re focused on quality,” he says.
“We’re vertically integrated to that effect,” MacDougall says. “We’re going to be buying green coffee, carefully curating what we purchase, roasting very carefully, then doing the extraction, brewing the coffee, getting feedback from customers, and connecting the loop back to the roasting and sourcing side.”
Expect to see beans from Central America, East Africa, and Asia as part of a full espresso program, as well as batched hot coffee for commuters, and pour-over options. There will also be cold coffee, likely on draft; the team is currently experimenting with the execution. There will also be a selection of teas, and casual breakfast and lunch offerings like pastries, sandwiches, and salads, which will come together more once Broadsheet hires an executive chef, MacDougall says. He wants to offer allergy-friendly and gluten-free options, too.
“In that neighborhood, there’s such a diversity of people, we want to be accommodating to a wide range,” MacDougall says.
The Cambridge Planning Board recently granted its approval for the café to accomodate 40 people, and an inspectional services officer confirmed MacDougall’s research that Broadsheet will be Cambridge’s first roaster, he says.
Before it debuts, the team still needs to build out the space, nail down a license to serve food, and pass inspections. MacDougall is hopeful the team will be roasting coffee in Cambridge by the holidays.
Broadsheet Coffee Roasters, coming late 2016 to 100 Kirkland St., Cambridge.