For Erin Erdman, coffee is more than just a morning routine.
“From one roast to another, I can taste the subtle differences that might have occurred during the process. Others might not notice, but I can taste it.”
That control over each and every aspect of the process that provides fresh, local coffee to places like Art Mart, Common Ground Food Coop, the Bread Company, Hopscotch Bakery + Market, and Bossa Nova is a direct connection most don’t have with what they consume. By drinking local coffee from Page Roasting Company, you can get close as a coffee fanatic, making it a popular product all over the greater Champaign County area.
“Each single shot of espresso is about 20-40 beans that were more often than not picked by hand,” Erin says. She sat down with VCC Communications Manager Taylor Bauer to talk about the roasting process, and her woman founded, owned, and operated business, Page Roasting Company. Started in 2017, Erin shares a space with Flying Machine Avionics, a café where you can find her coffee. For most, heading to grab a cup of coffee is an event that can be measured in minutes, or sometimes hours. It’s a little different for Erdman.
“I’m 100% from the start of the process until it is all over. A lot of people think the beans are just gathered and then made into coffee, but they have to be roasted.”
The process of gathering beans on a farm is just the start, followed by a process of ridding the picked beans of stones or twigs. There’s a lot to the coffee roasting process that doesn’t cross our minds when we consume coffee, but a lot has to happen for those grounds to end up in a brewer or French press. Erin learned all about the process working at Columbia Street Roastery, another local operation. She started her own business seeing just how many people in the area cared about local coffee.
“The third wave movement in coffee is enticing a lot of people back into drinking local. There is definitely a hole in the market, and even with our small scale operation we can serve a lot of businesses and communities.”
The aforementioned locations are just a few of the places Page Roasting Company coffee can be found, as well as many Market at/in the Square events in Urbana. Page coffee can also be found in Cultivate CU boxes, a subscription service that sends a collection of women owned products and crafts quarterly to subscribers.
“That’s a really great collaboration for me, because as a woman owned company, we want to support others doing the same thing. The more women supporting these businesses and their products, the more women who go on to start their own business.”
It’s a cyclical process of supporting locally made, women owned products that has built such a strong network in the greater Champaign County area. Erin has noted in the two years of her operation just how devoted the community is to that cause.
“The community wants to see and support women in a professional sense, and it gives a lot of motivation to those who own a business, or are looking to start one.”
Page Roasting Company is looking to begin a bean subscription service where a set amount of coffee can be shipped or picked up in house at a rate chosen by the subscriber. The new service should launch sometime near the summer. For now, visitors and residents in the greater Champaign County area can try Erin’s roasts at a number of local businesses, where they can be purchased in a single brewed cup or beans to take home.
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