Of beer, beans and cycling

Five questions with the bean man at Dutchman Coffee Roasters

David Smock knows that there is something brewing in North Kansas City. The owner of Dutchman Coffee Roasters just hopes it is his brew that fuels the local food boom.

Dutchman began selling its beans and coffee at the North Kansas City Farmers Market this August and had a tap of cold brew coffee at the Cinder Block Brewery. With the farmers market ending this past Friday, Dutchman has turned its attention to dialing in a new roaster and building a dedicated space. We exchanged e-mails with Smock to learn a bit about the coffee that is carried at Cinder Block and Nature’s Own Market.

1. Why did you launch Dutchman Coffee?

Dutchman Coffee Roasters was launched simply from a love of coffee and the coffee experience. Roasting coffee has been a passionate hobby of mine for the last few years and growing that into a business was a natural progression for me. I focused on the North Kansas City community as one that I can impact through good locally roasted coffee. The name Dutchman came from our Dutch heritage. If there are a couple of things Dutch people are passionate about its cycling and coffee, and so are we.

2. With Second Best and Velo also embracing cycling, is there a natural connection between cycling and coffee or is just a coincidence? 

When it comes to cycling, and more importantly cyclists, I think we all have a certain holy trinity — bikes, beans and beer. If I could schedule a perfect day I think it would be something along the lines of: 7a.m. Wake up. 7:30 a.m. to 3p.m. Ride bikes. 3 p.m. Drink beer.

3. Could you talk about your new roaster and roasting philosophy? 

Deciding to launch a coffee roasting company is a huge investment of both time and money. When we sat down to map out a goal for Dutchman we knew we wanted to start small and grow a customer base both locally and through the Internet. We also knew we wanted to focus on frequent roasting and small batches which allows us to really fine tune the flavor profile of each of our coffees.

We elected to start with three-kilogram roaster to meet those needs. As far as roasting philosophy, I’ll break it down to say our goal is to have great fun making great tasting coffee. I’m not going to say we have a set roast profile, because we roast each of our coffees until we find a flavor that we think brings out the best of each origin. We do focus on single origin, organic, mostly direct trade and small lot coffees. We try to use only local Kansas City-based importers, and over time build a relationship with them.

4. What’s the latest with the space next to Cinder Block? 

My relationship with the owners of Cinder Block Brewery goes back years. When I wanted to launch Dutchman as a business I knew I was going to need warehouse space. It was convenient that Cinder Block happened to be expanding at the same time. This is great for the both of us; it allows me a workspace and roasting space and it allows us to have an ongoing relationship with bringing together coffee and beer. We hope to grow this space in one form or another, but time will tell exactly what that is.

5. Can you talk a bit about how your cold brew ended up on tap at Cinder Block? 

Cold brew has really become a summer drink of choice over the last few years. I used to live in Austin, Texas, and with it being the hottest and sweatiest place known to man (that may or may not be a fact) cold brew was a very popular drink down there.

If there is one blend or brew from Dutchman that has a goal of being consistent, it’s the Cauberg Cold Brew, named after one of the very few hills in the Netherlands. We actually brew it two different ways while using the same blend of coffee, one is lighter that we serve on ice and has a more subtle flavor profile. I often refer to it as a strongly brewed iced tea. The other we brew darker, longer and intentionally with more body. That one happens to be better, in our opinion, when infused with nitrogen and put on tap. We consider it a summer drink so we haven’t had it available at the brewery for some time now, but we will probably launch it again in the spring and depending on the response.

— Jonathan Bender writes about food trends for KCPT’s Flatland, and is the founder of Recommended Daily.

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