- Associated Press - Saturday, October 18, 2014

AMHERST JUNCTION, Wis. (AP) - Walk into Jared Linzmeier’s childhood home, tucked away on a quiet country road in Amherst Junction, and you’ll see evidence of his coffee-roasting business everywhere.

The garage is stacked with pallets of burlap bags filled with coffee beans from Kenya, Nicaragua, Columbia and Costa Rica, leaving little room for vehicles to park. Just off the garage is a small room where his family used to have a hot tub, now converted to a roasting and packaging center.

Walk through the garage door and head down the hall past the kitchen and living room, and you’ll find a room that’s become a makeshift research and testing area. It’s there where Linzmeier tests the purity of his coffee, brews up pots to taste, has a desk for bookwork, and stores various old coffee brewing devices and books on coffee brewing that he has collected over the years.

It’s a quaint setting, but one that’s quickly becoming known as the site of one of the country’s best new coffee-roasting businesses. Linzmeier’s operation, Ruby Coffee Roasters, just was named one of the 15 best new coffee-roasters in the United States, according to Thrillist, a website that reports on travel, food and drink.

Linzmeier left central Wisconsin in 2003 to work in cafes and coffee bars in California and Washington, starting as a dishwasher then working his way up to a regional wholesaler and then director of coffee and buyer. Linzmeier said his goal was to own his own roasting business, and with a growing family - his wife, Deanna, and children Adeline, 3, and Eloise, 4 months - he decided to move home to chase his dream, the Stevens Point Journal Media (https://on.sctimes.com/1w6LhDL ) reported.

“We love it here. It’s a wonderful community to live in,” Linzmeier said. “I also think it’s a great place to have our business, because there is an appreciation for quality craft products.”

In its review of Ruby Coffee Roasters, Thrillist said the company takes “a synesthetic approach to building exciting flavor profiles by thinking in terms of color adjectives. They’re on a first-name basis with their El Salvadorian farmers, who offer beans loaded with dreamy dessert flavors like brownie and dark chocolate, rarities like a Costa Rican cascara, and a monthly subscription service featuring their favorite seasonal offerings.”

Linzmeier said he equates the taste of different beans to colors, using terms like “green acidity” or “syrupy brown body.” From there, the coffee is refined through testing into a product that best shows off its unique flavor. Linzmeier said that while he’s always enjoyed coffee, his passion for it has grown as he has connected with growers around the world and learned more about the process of how raw beans get turned into roasts that delight coffee-drinkers.

“Coffee can really bring people together, and it’s something you can continue to learn more and more about,” Linzmeier said.

Matthew Williams, a friend of Linzmeier’s during his time on the West Coast, recently moved to Wisconsin to help with the business and is living in the family’s home.

“It’s exciting to be on the ground floor and help something grow, and the response so far has been great,” Williams said.

Ruby Coffee Roasters, named for Linzmeier’s grandmother, now sells coffee beans to customers in Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, Texas. The company’s business in Wisconsin also is thriving with customers in Appleton, Waupaca, Door County and Madison.

His roasts might be baffling to the initiate; Colombia Pedregal de Inza de Cauca, for example, is made from beans of almost a dozen producers and its flavor is described as “a warming, bracing quality with flavors of maple syrup and honeydew melon. Additional notes of green apple, dark chocolate, brown sugar, clove.”

Locally, that and other roasts are available at businesses such as the Village Hive in Amherst and the Stevens Point Area Co-op to sell his products.

“There’s a lot of very unique flavors with coffee that people can experience, and we want to bring people some of that with a quality product,” Linzmeier said.

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Information from: Stevens Point Journal Media, https://www.stevenspointjournal.com


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