Partner Profile: Brooklyn Roasting Company

T.A. bike Ambassadors distributed more than 100 gallons of iced coffee on national bike to work day.
Image Courtesy Will Ragozzino

Can you tell us about the early days of Brooklyn Roasting Company? Co-Founder Michael Pollack: We started in Jim’s Williamsburg apartment in 2009. He was roasting beans and selling them under the name Brooklyn Roasting to a few wholesale customers. I heard about the company online and reached out to them and expressed my interest. They said they were just about to post an ad for a summer intern, so that’s how I got started alongside Jim and our other partner Emily. That was in May of 2010. That September, we bought a roaster from a company in California. We were roasting about 200 pounds a week. As we approach our fourth birthday this year, we roast about 15,000-18,000 pounds a week and have about 62 people who work with us. It’s been a fantastic trip.

How did you build a relationship with T.A.? When we started, we delivered by bicycle—a cargo bike. We really like the biking community. I’m not even sure anymore where our relationship with T.A. came from. Anyway, at some point they asked us to be part of the Bike Ambassador Program. They wanted to hand out our coffee along with the printed materials encouraging better relationships between drivers and bikers and walkers. Since we cycle and support many things alternative, including transportation, it was a no brainer. From then on, we’ve partnered on some bike lights, contributed coffee to a handful of parties and also to the Bike to Work Day events. We love the work T.A. does, and we love being part of that community.

In front of your café in DUMBO, there’s always a sea of bikes. Is there a connection between coffee and cycling? I think there’s an appreciation. Coffee is in some ways fuel, and people who cycle seem to like that. Perhaps there is also a European cultural element too? Whatever it is, we’ve been begging the DOT for more racks for all the bikes. In the last three months, they added something like 50 new ones and they’re already always full, so we need at least 50 more.