High quality Brews for the Birds at Pittsburgh’s Redstart RoastersDaily Espresso Information by Roast Journal
Though the namesake is wandering by nature, Redstart Roasters hopes its first retail cafe can become a year-round home for great coffee in Pittsburgh.
The 4-year-old roaster and bird protection supporter has taken over the recently vacated site of Oregon-based lighting and housewares maker Schoolhouse in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Redstart Roasters owner and chief roasting officer Matt Parmelee told Daily Coffee News that the transition was relatively smooth given the existing living space contrasting mid-century modern and Scandinavian accents with natural elements and the overall industrial feel of Steel City.
Parmelee said, “Almost all of our design decisions revolved around decor and greens to make the previous store our own.”
In the 1,400-square-foot store, Redstart serves drinks made from high-quality beans from some bird-friendly growers, with a portion of the proceeds donated to bird-oriented sustainability organizations like the National Aviary on the North Side of Pittsburgh.
“As a kid I was obsessed with frogs and at some point that switched to birds,” says Parmelee. “Much later, when I was roasting coffee as a hobby, the discovery of coffee certification from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center was an accidental way of uniting several different passions.”
Parmelee sees Bird Friendly certification as one of potentially many tools for more sustainable coffee sourcing. The company strives to source coffees from producers who value ecological diversity and other ecological and social advancements.
“Lately I’ve relied more on my background in data analysis and computer vision to identify growing areas at the intersection of sustainable and ethical practices on key metrics: labor rights, labor logistics, land management, social responsibility, sustainable farming practices, etc. and critical ones Bird habitats, ”said Parmelee. “Operations in these areas are considered ‘high quality’ for our purposes and we try to work with them wherever possible.”
Redstart makes drinks on a red specially painted La Marzocco Linea 2-group espresso machine with manual paddle, using beans roasted by its Ambex YM-15. The bar’s manual coffee program uses Acaia scales, an Acaia dispenser, Chemex brewers, and Chemex Chettle kettles.
Parmelee said, “We plan to introduce other pourover brewing offerings at some point, but as a lifelong Chemex enthusiast there has never been another starting point.”
Redstart first opened the café last September when the COVID-19 pandemic brought a variety of operational challenges.
Parmelee said, “Although after last year it feels strange to have a long-term plan, we will keep our organic expansion and additionally focus on leveraging our technical background for the benefit of both conservation and the coffee industry. and continue to find new ways that a small coffee company can make things better than we found them. “
Redstart Roasters is now open at 224 N Euclid Ave in Pittsburgh.
Howard Bryman is Associate Editor of Roast Magazine’s Daily Coffee News. It is based in Portland, Oregon.