In the final week of our Meet the Roasters blog series, we feature an interview with Josh Langenheim, owner of Stone Fruit Coffee Company, with locations in Boardman, YSU campus, Cornersburg and Columbiana. With many investments in the Youngstown area, Josh can be described as nothing other than Youngstown Proud. Read on to learn more about Josh and Stone Fruit!
Hobby Gone Wild
Josh has always been a coffee enthusiast, with mornings spent roasting on his humble 0.5 machine and constantly experimenting with new flavors. But, at what point did his roasting hobby turn into a full-blown career?
Q. Why did you enter the coffee business?
A. This is a hobby that has gone wildly out of control. Before Stone Fruit, I was in marketing and it was a nonstop sort of thing; I was always traveling to North Carolina and everywhere in between. But, on Sundays I had time to myself and would spend a few hours in the morning roasting on my tiny little 0.5 roasting machine (it could only roast 1.1lbs at a time). My company’s Ohio location ended up closing and I decided to start something new by opening Stone Fruit. I was pretty good at marketing and I had a passion for coffee, so I thought why not market coffee?
Roasting the Stigmas
In the coffee world, ordering a simple cup of joe can get complicated pretty fast. Listening to someone in front of you order a “venti, half-sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato with soy milk” can make your head spin. But, at Stone Fruit, visitors don’t have to worry about the coffee lingo or judgment, because over the years Josh and his team have worked hard to remove the negative stigmas surrounding artisan coffee shops by ensuring that everyone is welcome.
Q. What do you think makes Stone Fruit unique?
A. One of the main things we try to focus on is the negative connotations that are wrapped around third wave, artisan coffee. It can be a very pretentious and intimidating situation if you walk into a shop without knowing the difference between a latte and a cappuccino. At Stone Fruit we have removed that stigma. We have uniquely named all of our coffees (ex. “javachino”), putting everyone on equal playing ground. You can’t come in here and act like you know something more than someone else. Ultimately, there are no negative connotations or stigma.
Q. Can you describe your typical customer?
A. We get everybody from 14 to 400. Honestly, I think it’s because of the negative stigma that we have removed. We are just creating a nice, special environment where everyone can hang out.
Q. How does Stone Fruit contribute to the hospitality of Youngstown?
A. I think that if you put positivity out, positivity will come back. If you look at any of our social media, it is 99% positivity. We want everyone to feel welcome and I think that really improves the hospitality of Youngstown.
Even MORE Joe for YO
As we sat down with Josh, our interview was occasionally interrupted by the sounds of hammers and the smell of sawdust. Stone Fruit was a temporary “war zone” (as Josh put it) due to the shop’s latest development.
Q. Do you have any plans for Stone Fruit in the near future?
A. We are getting a 45 kilo coffee roaster to hopefully support many more Stone Fruit locations. We look to start providing coffee for other local businesses as well. Right now, we are serving coffee at the Springfield Grille and we have been in negotiations with a lot of other high-end restaurants.
Whether old or young, coffee expert or beginner, Stone Fruit welcomes you to any of their locations! Stop in to visit Josh and enjoy a cup of “javachino.” To travel the Joe in the YO Coffee Trail, visit this page for your passport and a list of participating locations. To learn more about places to go and things to see in the Youngstown area, check out the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau website and follow @YoungstownLive on social media!
Stone Fruit Website: https://stonefruitcoffee.com/
Stone Fruit Insta: @stonefruit_coffee
Stone Fruit Facebook: @Stonefruitcoffee