Holt business brews specialty coffee, community

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Just off Cedar Street in Holt, in a building where Corvettes were once sold, is the Coffee Barrel, a shop whose employees pride themselves on making coffee, from roasting the beans to serving drinks.

“We have a unique process that’s different from 95% of other coffee roasters. We use a fluid air method, which is basically roasting the coffee beans in an air popper.” Dan Seagren, 50, explained. He is one of the main roasters at the Coffee Barrel. “Lots of places use steel drums to roast the beans, but the beans can get burned on the sides. Beans roasted this way have more flavor because the bean is heated evenly from the air.”

Michaela Brenner has been working at the Coffee Barrel for about six years. Her family owns the business. Brenner said, “I feel like I’ve always been pretty knowledgeable about coffee, so working here was natural.” In addition to working as a barista, Brenner also helps with the roasting process and flavoring the beans.

“I really grew up around coffee. I remember being 7 and running around the store.”

Michaela Brenner

The Coffee Barrel makes specialty flavored beans. These are either bagged and sold in store, distributed to other retailers, or used to make drinks. Brenner explained the process. “After the beans are roasted, we put them in a barrel with flavored syrups and roll them to mix in the flavor. It’s kinda like the barrels they use to mix concrete.”

Katie Taylor, 18, has been working at the Coffee Barrel since October. “I’ve learned so much being a barista. I definitely didn’t expect some aspects of the job, but it’s nice talking to customers and getting to know the regulars.” Taylor also helps bag the beans, and although she likes being a barista she appreciates helping in the back because the process feels more hands-on.

She said, “I prefer working in small businesses because it feels like everyone knows you and cares about you. I haven’t been working here long,but being involved in every step of the process makes me feel like I’m really a part of something.”

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