FIGURING THAT “day-trading my stock portfolio was not the best use of my time,” former banker Aaron MacDougall ’94 chose instead to open Broadsheet Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee house in Cambridge that aims to educate as it caffeinates.
MacDougall “curates” the raw green beans—mostly from growers in Ethiopia, Peru, and Guatemala—and convection-roasts them in the gleaming and efficient Loring S-15 that sits behind a rope like a museum piece in the Kirkland Street café. It perfectly browns coffee that’s sold in bags or brewed for customers (using water thrice filtered and re-mineralized in the basement) by discerning baristas. “What we’re really fighting here is the fast-food mentality of the United States,” says MacDougall. “Across the country, coffee equals ‘caffeine-delivery mechanism’ for the working person. We’ve been trained to just dump in the cream and sugar and not even taste the coffee.” He’s trying to communicate the “value proposition” of fine coffee: to help consumers think differently and not waste their “caffeine capacity on something that’s inferior.”