There is nothing quite like fresh coffee and bakery to start the day — especially if the coffee and bakery are prepared locally.

That's the idea behind Aroma Coffee Roastery and Bake Shop, located at 410 Main St. W. in Ashland.

The store is operated by the mother-son partnership of Meg and Kiel Gustafson of Ashland. The two want to provide locally roasted coffee and baked bread and pastries for residents and visitors with discerning palates who want to enjoy a little something extra on their morning java break.

Kiel is the operation's master roaster, and is also the baker.

He said a local roaster can provide the ultimate in high quality coffee, far fresher than anything roasted elsewhere and shipped to the Bay Area. The smell of steaming beans right out of the roaster — and fresh bread from the oven — inspired the store's name.

"For me it's a big thing, because our freshly roasted coffee is single-origin. That means it comes from different countries," Kiel said. "You can get different varieties, coffee from Ethiopia, coffee from Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, whereas if you go to the store and grab a can of Folgers or something along those lines, typically it is just cheap coffee that they get — just random stuff that they can throw together and roast to a single profile to get one specific flavor out of it. With my coffee, with specialty coffee in general, in roasting it I am trying to get the flavors of its origin, where the coffee is grown."

Kiel said his goal is to do justice to the beans. The same holds true for the bread and pastries he bakes.

One of his specialties is real, live culture sourdough bread. He makes several different sourdough loaves and is working on creating a sandwich loaf.

"There really is no end to it," he said.

Aroma's baked goods also include white bread, pastries, cookies, bars, muffins and cupcakes.

The operation started up in December after debuting at the Ashland Farmers Market the previous summer. Currently the store is open from 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Saturday.

"We both have jobs away from the store, so we are operating in the mornings only, although we may expand those hours as business picks up," Meg said.

The store uses the Northland College kitchen lab both to produce baked goods and roast coffee. The facility is available to the public for a rental fee and is used to prepare foods that can be sold to the public.

"It is a shared kitchen concept, so if someone needs to do a small catered event and they need a big commercial kitchen, they have all the bells and whistles at the college kitchen lab so they can rent it out and do what they need," Kiel said.

The duo already is planning for a post-COVID world, with an espresso machine and an espresso grinder coming soon. The shop is open for take-out orders of bakery, coffee beans, custom-ground coffee and teas, but seating and tables are already installed, awaiting the day when the shop will open for on-premises customers.

"Before, you had to go up to Bayfield to get locally roasted coffee," Meg said. "But now we are here, we are local, we are using as much local product as we can."

Customers can call 715-29231878 in advance with special orders. The store also can be reached at aromacoffeellc@gmail.com.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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