By Amanda Joerndt
Where some areas of Youngstown are still climbing out of the “Rust Belt reputation” status, others are thriving from the large increase of local businesses that are bringing publicity and attraction to the city now more than ever.
Branch Street Coffee Roasters, located off of route 224 in Boardman, put its name on the map and gained national recognition for its accomplishments when Food and Wine Magazine rated it as the best coffee shop in Ohio.
Branch Street Coffee Roasters started its journey in 2015 and created its scientific method behind roasting coffee beans that enables them to serve the perfect cup of coffee.
Matthew Campbell, co-owner of Branch Street Coffee Roasters, said he and his wife started their passion for specialty coffees while they were living in New Jersey.
“I learned how to roast it, how to serve it and the proper way to find what we needed and we built a company out here,” he said.
According to Campbell, creating a scientific formula when roasting coffee beans requires an understanding of the factors involved in the roasting process.
“We have lots of thermal couples and feed outs that are giving a constant graph and feedback cycle during the roasting process,” he said. “We get a constant feedback, which gives us things like temperature change, and we’re constantly keeping an eye on that because it’s going to determine the final flavor in the cup.”
Branch Street Coffee Roasters uses all local dairy products in its coffee and has local baked goods stocked in their shop.
“There’s this great dairy farmer out of Southern Ohio that we get all of our dairy from,” he said. “It’s really thick and creamy awesome milk, and it really compliments the coffee really well.”
Campbell said the award from Food and Wine Magazine was unexpected and humbling for their whole team and he believes the award brought recognition to the area not just with Branch Street Coffee Roasters, but to Culture House Coffee Company in Youngstown.
“It’s really cool to have Youngstown put on the map for specialty coffee,” he said. “We’re excited for the community because they’re the ones that have come out day after day to allow us to do this.”
David Landsel, Food and Wine Magazine writer, described Campbell’s coffee shop in the article as a modest-looking operation.
“This isn’t about being charitable, not in the least — Campbell’s work speaks loudly for itself, as does his appreciation for the community that has kept him in business,” Landsel said.
Landsel said suspicions of a Youngstown shop are currently buzzing in the coffee culture.
“While recent plans to open a Youngstown proper shop have been scrubbed, there are rumors of good things coming in 2019. For now, at this modest shop out in the suburbs, there’s plenty to smile about,” he said.
Sam Giambroni, manager at Branch Street Coffee Roasters, has worked there for three years and was interested in the business because of its specialty coffee products.
Giambroni said the customers are what make working at Branch Street special to him.
“It’s crazy how many people we’ve gotten to know and would have never been friends with if it wasn’t for this place,” he said. “It’s a very great community atmosphere here and we love everyone who walks in the door especially the nerds who we get to nerd out with about coffee and all that so it’s fun.”
According to Giambroni, the teamwork behind the coffee bar is what made the award possible.
“It’s our team members who are here with us and they really kill it every day. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think we would have ever gotten this award,” he said. “We were just beside ourselves and could not believe it was even possible.”
Christine Weber, a Youngstown State University alumna, said she takes a few days out of her week to stop in Branch Street and order her favorite coffee.
“What we love about this place is they have the best quality coffee in our area, and they also have the best customer service,” she said. “We’re always pleased with everyone that we talk to. They’re our friends now and they even came to our wedding.”
Weber said the atmosphere and generous employees at Branch Street are what make the experience memorable.
“We love to even just sit outside during this time of year,” she said. “All the employees are so helpful if you have any questions with their products.”