A former factory in North Mantua in Kent is being converted into a mixed-use building which will house a coffee roaster, offices and other uses.
The Kent Planning Commission has recently approved a conditional use permit and site plan for the renovation of a building at 716 N. Mantua Street, corner of Mantua Street and Cuyahoga Avenue , which will become a mixed-use building with multiple tenants. One such tenant is Bent Tree Coffee, which plans to move its retail and wholesale roasting operations into the building.
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The building, owned by architects Peter Paino and Ben Koberna, measures 17,645 square feet. The owners plan a variety of uses for it, including offices and “light manufacturing”, such as roasting. Paino also plans to use part of the building for storage related to his architecture business.
Paino said 14,135 square feet of the building will be used for light manufacturing, with 2,200 square feet reserved for non-commercial commercial use, such as offices. There are no immediate plans for the remaining 1,310 square feet of the building.
KCommunity development director Bridget Susel said that because a conditional use permit governs the use of the building, owners will need to come back for approval if the ratio of uses in the building changes. However, it will not need approval if the tenants themselves change.
Ryan Brannon, owner of Bent Tree Coffee Roasters, said he plans to move his company’s wholesale roasting operation into the structure. The roastery now shares space with the Madcap Brewing Co. on Mogadore Road in Kent, but the brewery plans to expand and it will eventually have to move.
Brannon said he had been in space for about six years. Bent Tree also owns a cafe at 313 N. Water St. and roasts coffee for the store, while the larger roastery is used to package beans for wholesale and for sale to 65 food retailers, including Heinens. , Whole Foods, Giant Eagle and Acme. Some Kent businesses, including Wild Goats coffee, are also customers, and Kent retailers get their coffee delivered free of charge.
Its space in the North Mantua Street building will be 1,900 square feet, slightly larger than the space it currently occupies.
Coffee beans are shipped raw to roasters around the world and can be stored in that state for a year or more. Once roasted, however, they must be vacuum sealed in bags, a process in which oxygen is removed and a burst of nitrogen is added. Once sealed, roasted beans can be stored for about four months.
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The roast is certified organic by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the Federal Food and Drug Association. A small amount of non-organic grain is stored separately. Since organic certification requires an inspection, Brannon plans to continue operating his existing roastery until inspections of the new space are complete.
Roasting uses a computer screen to measure the consistency of the roast, ensuring that each batch is roasted at the same temperature. This is essential, especially when selling beans in retail stores, where customers expect their beans to taste the same when they buy them again.
“Consistency is really important in the roasting process,” he said. “We take our roasting very seriously.”
“Green beans” are measured and roasted in 18-pound batches, then bagged and packaged for sale.
“We’re a small roaster, and we think that adds to our quality,” he said.
The company began shipping to outlets just before the COVID-19 pandemic, and retail production increased during the pandemic. He thanks his staff for not missing a delivery during the pandemic.
Brannon said he and his staff are careful not to over-roast their beans.
“We’re not really gloomy about anything,” he said, describing the bins of coffee beans in grocery stores. “We never roast anything to get that dark because once you get that dark you kill all the flavor of the coffee and you’re left with a burnt taste.”
Journalist Diane Smith can be reached at 330-298-1139 or [email protected]