Matt Toomey Wants You to Appreciate Your Daily Caffeine

Photos by Molly Dunn
Matt Toomey roasts his own beans at Boomtown with this roaster.
There's something special about enjoying a cup of coffee made from house-roasted beans sourced from small farms or plantations around the world.

Matt Toomey, owner and roaster at Boomtown Coffee, cares deeply about all the work and labor it takes to produce a single serving of coffee. He values the work it takes to make an espresso-based drink, or even simple drip coffee, and understands that it doesn't begin with a barista. It begins with the farmers.

No matter which coffee you drink at Boomtown, you can taste the thought and care put into every single drop. Toomey spends much of his time looking for incredible beans from farms around the world to serve each customer the best cup of coffee. In fact, the espresso used at Boomtown is made from four different types of beans. The goal: a coffee that sustains its flavor and holds up in milk.

We sat down with Toomey to chat about his love for coffee and his role at Boomtown, and received a lesson in the Kalita Wave slow-brew method -- we even have a video of the demonstration.

Boomtown Coffee is a fun, casual and relaxing coffee shop in the Heights.
What is your role at Boomtown?
I founded Boomtown, so I'm an owner, operator and I roast most of the coffee here, and occasionally work behind the bar now.

How long have you been making coffee/being a barista?
My first job in coffee would have been in 1996. It was a place [called] Toopees Coffee, across the street from West Alabama Ice House. Now it's a little Italian joint, but Toopees Coffee was where I got it, and then I went to Cafe Artiste after that and spent a lot of time there; just bounced around.

When did you open Boomtown?
2011. And then we have been in this space almost two years.

Where were you originally?
I started downtown at Cafe Luz. Now it's a brewery incubator, but it was the retail front for the Kitchen Incubator.

What is your favorite part about making coffee drinks?
Gosh.I don't know where to ... I don't know a favorite part ... I really like so many facets of it, I don't know that I could break it down. For me, it's more of like the bigger-picture thing being able to connect the green coffee and the story behind those farmers, and like what they are striving to do and all the efforts they're making to ensure the quality of their coffees. And then when I hand someone a drink and they taste it, and you get that reaction of, "Oh that is the best" whatever, or "That's what I needed," then you tie all of that together. I know that's not a very poignant answer, but for me it is more big-picture, and I'm kind of an energy guy ... like if I have to be deliberate with something, it's usually energy-based.

I just love knowing the customers, and everything has a story behind it, everyone has their own thing going on in life, and back it up all the way to these farmers, they all have little things going on in their life, too, and a lot of that goes untold. So, I like to bring some of that story to the front.

Where do you get your beans from?
I work a lot with InterAmerican Coffee. They have a local office and they also have offices in port cities all around the country, so they have coffee everywhere. But, a couple of importers as well. Sometimes I buy directly from a farmer, whenever possible. Costa Rice, Guatemala, Ethiopia, so just all over the place.

The story continues on the next page.

Location Info

Boomtown Coffee

242 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: General

West Alabama Ice House

1919 W. Alabama, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Cafe Artiste

1601 W. Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cafe Luz - CLOSED

907 Franklin, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kitchen Incubator - CLOSED

907 Franklin St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Revival Market

550 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Southside Espresso

904 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: General

Catalina Coffee

2201 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: General

Blacksmith Coffee Bar

1022 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

Boomtown is excellent and not just the coffee, the food as well.


I certainly enjoy having Boomtown around. The only problem is too many other people do as well and it's getting like the old Yogi Berra joke!


For wine bars, do you say they want us to appreciate our daily alcohol?

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