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It’s easy to forget how much goes into a good cup of coffee. Here at the Hound, we love to keep you in the loop as much as possible about the farms, distribution, and in-house process.

And of course, you can see your barista behind the counter working their magic––and you can even see the roasters in the back of the Bloomington Hound, tinkering with a machine that looks more like a steam engine than a roaster. But there is so much that goes into roasting the perfect bean. More important than the specific terminology, process, and machinery, are the people who bring it all together. It’s no easy task becoming a top-notch roaster, and it takes some special folks to turn a green coffee bean into liquid gold.

Which brings us to…

Steve Fritzen

Steve Fritzen is the co-owner of the Coffee Hound along with wife, April. The shop has been open for twelve years and Steve has been

Steve Roasting

roasting coffee for seven. Through a devoted love for coffee and a keen eye for detail, Steve has mastered the difficult art of roasting. Steve is also a talented musician and an accomplished athlete (competing in everything from soccer to cycling to kettlebell). He loves cupping new roasts and experimenting with each coffee to optimize the flavor profile.

Steve Fritzen Trivia:

Steve is an accomplished competitive barista––with a 5th place national finish under his belt––and is considering getting back into competition this year at the Regional US Coffee Championship.

And Trace Armstrong

Trace RoastingTrace Armstrong has been working at the Hound for four years and has been roasting coffee for the last year. Maybe the nicest guy you will meet on a given day, Trace has been a customer favorite since he started. His quiet work ethic, excellent taste in music, and sharp sense of humor make him a blast to work with. He is a native of the Bloomington-Normal area, has played in several local bands, and possesses a wisdom and wit beyond his years.

Trace Armstrong Trivia:

Trace and a few other Coffee Hound baristas took a “coffee exploration” roadtrip this summer, traveling around the Midwest to swap coffee, make friends, and bring back scores of specialty coffee for the rest of the staff to sample.

So next time you stop in, remember to thank your roaster! A lot more goes into getting that coffee into your cup than most people realize. And behind every cup of Hound coffee is a little army of employees, baristas, and roasters working hard to ensure your coffee tastes extraordinary!