Our Town Tama-Toledo: Ross Street Roasting Company

Published: Jun. 19, 2018 at 8:13 PM CDT
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All Summer, KCRG-TV9 will be visiting towns across eastern Iowa to showcase what makes them unique places to live, work and play as part of the KCRG-TV9 Our Town series.

The best cup of coffee in Our Town Tama Toledo comes from Ross Street Roasting Company, made from coffee beans brought by burlap bags from around the world.

"Gold mountain coffee growers in Nicaragua, I buy coffee directly from that producer," said owner Brian Gumm.

His operation is a high tech lab run by a one man band.

Gumm used to work in gigabites, he's traded computer coding for coffee.

"When I started the business here I decided to be the top with the craft, quality level stuff, and build my whole business around that model," he said.

He's a micro roaster who's a bit obsessive about numbers.

"it's an 84 which is a light-medium roast."

He times the beans, 11 minutes for a lighter roast, 14 for darker.

His business has been growing for three years. He got the name from his first home in Toledo, on Ross Street, where he'd roast in his garage.

"And here's how it all started," he said, showing an air popcorn popper. It was his first roaster, making enough coffee for just one cup.

Now he's working out of a bigger space in Tama, which was a longtime feed store. And his most popular coffee bears its name, Jack's Feed Store.

"People local in Tama/Toledo know that, and when they see it at the grocery store, it sells out once a week, and I have to continuously restock it," Brian said.

"It's kind of nice to have those finer things that don't cost a lot, and you can enjoy daily, and it's nice to have it local," said DalLynn Hotchkiss-McEltree.

She and her husband, Bruce, are converts to Ross Street Roasting -- even admitting being coffee snobs after experiencing his brand of quality.

"It just makes me, I get goosebumps, it makes me feel so good and that that's in our town and know Brian personally," DalLyn said.

Introducing regular coffee drinkers in small town Iowa to really high quality coffee, and that most people had never tried before, and seeing peoples' faces lighting up, "Oh my goodness, this is the best coffee I've ever had."

You can find Ross Street Roasting coffee beans in a specialty beer at Lionbridge in Cedar Rapids, in coffee at Brewhemia in New Bo, and on the shelves of select grocery stores in eastern Iowa. Plus, you can

, or stop in for a free cup.