A Passionate Coffee Ambassador

Why He's a Tastemaker: There's that stereotype of the snooty coffee shop barista, the hipster who looks down his or her nose at anyone who doesn't know the difference between a cappuccino and a macchiato. Well, Matthew Evans turns that stereotype on its ear. Known to everyone as Mick, he's made it his mission to spread a genuine love of coffee, gladly teaching anyone who will listen about the processes of coffee growing, roasting and brewing the perfect cup.

Drawn to the Coffee Business: The Dayton native started his career as a photographer and found himself working at Boston Stoker Coffee Co. while building his own business. “The hustle-bustle nature of a coffee shop was really exciting,” he says. “I fell in love with that dynamic energy and took a part-time barista gig to supplement my photography.” In March of 2013, he was working as a barista in Columbus and developing plans for his own shop. He applied to work at the new One Line Coffee in the Short North and was on the verge of signing a lease on his own space when One Line owners Mark and Dave Forman indicated they were still willing to hire him. “That influenced me,” Evans says. “They made it clear there's a level of trust in the coffee community.” The Formans furthered their level of trust by offering Evans part ownership of the company when they hired him in late 2013.

The Coffee Collab: You won't only find One Line's coffee in its shops; its roasts are featured at restaurants, shops and breweries as diverse as Cherbourg Bakery, Lineage Brewing, Red Velvet Café, Over The Counter and Highline Coffee Co. One Line has enjoyed a steady collaboration with Wolf's Ridge Brewing, where its coffee is put to use not only alongside brunch but in beers like Clear Sky Daybreak. “Mick is the most enthusiastic and passionate person I've met in the coffee business,” says Chris Davison, head brewer at Wolf's Ridge (and 2017 Tastemaker). “He's always eager to describe every detail of a new coffee when I order it and has been instrumental in helping us to find the right beans for our coffee beers.”

The Coffee Business is a People Business: Over the years, Evans and other managers at One Line not only educated their own baristas but developed training modules for coffee shop owners who use One Line roasts. One Line also hosts regular cuppings at its Short North store; the tastings are open to the public and offer the chance for coffee drinkers to develop their palates. Evans' goal is to further expand One Line's retail operations—the company just announced it will add a flagship location in Franklinton—and to add what he calls a “slow bar,” a coffee service featuring highly curated menus focused as much on presentation as on flavor.

Evans knows, however, that the coffee business is built on relationships. “More than anything, [what] I do is deal with people,” he says. And the people, both his employees and the public, are responding. One Line recently upgraded to a bigger roasting facility outside Heath, Ohio, and aims to open a third coffee shop in Columbus. “Our intention is to be Ohio's premier specialty coffee roaster,” Evans says, “to know all our customers, to deliver world-class coffee service from our cute, little hometown of Columbus, Ohio.”