Coffee Lovers Have New Place to Charge Up in Boardman

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Heather Baumgartner, owner of Boardman Bean Roasters, discussses her new coffee business on May 29, 2024 at her home in Boardman. (Photo by Yasser Marte/East Oregonian)

Coffee lovers have a new option for locally roasted beans as of June 1.

Heather Baumgartner, owner of Jumpstart Java, has taken over Home Town Coffee Roasters and rebranded it as Boardman Bean Roasters.

Her business will sell, as Home Town did, at local grocery stores and delis as well as directly to customers, offering 0.5-pound, 1-pound and 5-pound bags. It will also continue stocking the supply at Jumpstart Java, where Baumgartner said her customers have become attached to the flavor profiles of this roasting process.

“If I wasn’t roasting my own coffee beans, I would have to go to a different coffee roaster,” she said, “and have you seen the price of the other coffee roaster’s beans?”

Entering the bean business

Boardman Bean Roasters will sell coffee beans for $10 per pound. Browne House Coffee Co. in Heppner, another local roastery in the county, sells beans for $16 per pound.

“It just made sense to buy the coffee roasting business that I’m already buying coffee from and just roast it myself,” she added. “And I bought everything (the previous owner had used). I bought the coffee grinders, the inventory, the roaster, all the buckets.”

She then did a three-hour crash course with the former owner, Tami Williamson, to learn the ins and outs of the roasting process, such as the temperature each kind of bean requires for a perfect roast or the way to keep track of the roasting process every thirty seconds.

One batch takes about 10 minutes to roast, and Baumgartner said she’ll usually be roasting about 15 batches at a time, once a week. That process takes three to six hours, she said, and will amount to nearly 100 pounds of coffee roasted per week.

She expects the business will more or less break even, not bring a profit, she said, and that’s really what she wants. She works full time at the Boardman Chamber of Commerce as the chief operations officer so she doesn’t have to focus too much on profiting off Jumpstart Java and this new venture.

“I hate raising my prices, I hate it with a passion,” she said. “Every time I have to raise my prices, I’m like, ‘I am so sorry.’ But minimum wage is going up again July 1st, another 50 cents an hour. Last year it went up 70 cents an hour, and that’s a huge hit on a small business, it really is.”

Preparing to open

All the clients from Williamson will transfer to her, and although the roasts will have new names, they’ll have the same process and taste profile.

When you get used to a particular coffee, you don’t want to switch,” Baumgartner said.

Plus, she likes that she gets to be directly involved with the materials Jumpstart Java uses.

“I like to know what’s in things,” she said, adding that she also makes her own soap and canned food, too.

Baumgartner and her husband, Tom, spend the month of May getting their garage set up to support the business.

“Right now, it’s just been a whirlwind of getting the space ready,” she said, “because when we got the news, this was my husband’s garage.”

Tom helped convert it into a space that would meet the requirements of a business handling food processing.

“He has been instrumental in the success of this transition,” Baumgartner said of Tom. “We have worked long hours to get the space ready, and I could not have accomplished it without his help. He is my heavy lifter and fix-it guy for all things business-related, while I handle everything else.”

Despite this being one of many projects Baumgartner has pursued, and that the takeover and rebrand has gone smoothly, she said it can still be nerve wracking to start something new.

“You have that internal terror where you’re like, ‘Oh God, what am I doing?’ And then you do your little pep talk,” she said, gesturing to her printed spreadsheets and binder full of the roasting plans. “‘You can do this. You’re smart. You’ve got this. Just take your detailed notes.’ Hence, my notes. This is my coping mechanism.”

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