Coffee for many people has become a caffeine injection, a tool to plow through the morning. But it can be so much more.
It can be a truly unique culinary experience and a force for good.
The best way to expand your (or your customers’) experience of coffee is to get your hands on coffee roasts from roasters who are driven by two primary things:
- Honoring and uncovering the natural flavor profile of the coffee bean through roasting
- Celebrating the hardworking families and communities around the world that make coffee possible
There are obviously more variables that go into successful roasters. Roasting innovation, customer experience and a reliable coffee ecommerce platform, commitment to traditional methods, and variety are but a few. But we kept it simple. The 70+ roasters we’ve highlighted below get top marks for the two things we think are most important: honoring the bean and celebrating the people.
Here they are.
Best Coffee Roasters 2020
Location: Denver, CO
Coffee is relatively common. Supply chains are pretty self-explanatory. But if you look a little deeper you’ll see the complexity of good coffee. You’ll see the layers and moving pieces in sustainable supply chains. That’s where Novo’s looking. They begin with farmers, they end with coffee drinkers, and every step of the way they’re considering how to build equitable, fair, and meaningful human relationships. That’s what coffee is all about to Novo, and it makes enjoying a cup of Novo coffee—roasted in their Loring air-roaster—a culinary experience and an exercise in promoting positive human connectivity.
Roast pick: Ojo de Agua. 10-year partners with Novo, the growers at Finca Hartmann have brought the unique Panamanian landscape to life with a washed coffee that carries notes of pomegranate and cashew.
Location: Portland, OR
From within the coffee fruit comes the coffee bean. That simple fact is central to Heart’s guiding principle: that a good cup of coffee should highlight its natural and distinctive fruit flavors. Heart pays special attention to securing seasonal green coffees and when each type of bean is optimally picked; they even travel to the origin areas during harvest time to assist with selection and support the harvesting and picking operation.
Roast pick: Guatemala Amate. Grown in an exclusive, high-altitude part of the Villaure estate, the beans have a remarkably clean and refreshing profile.
Location: Cincinnati, OH
There are a lot of terms flying around the third wave coffee scene that communicate equity and sustainability. Responsibly-sourced, sustainably-grown, etc. Deeper Roots goes one step further: they say their coffees are relationally-sourced. That means, first and foremost, that their focus is on the human beings and communities that make our coffee obsessions possible. To Deeper Roots, the relationships that form the coffee supply chain—wholesale partners included—are the magic. That’s not to say they skimp on the craft: their selection and roasting are without equal. It’s just to say that the spirit of the company is based on more than coffee; it’s based on making the world better. What’s more delicious than that?
Roast pick: Alchemy Espresso. A blend from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Guatemala that folds a crisp, refreshing acidity into a sweet and creamy body.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Coffee consciousness is how Ritual describes the shift in the industry that they’ve both stewarded and embraced. Their goal is simple: make the best coffee. That’s it. They accomplish a whole heck of a lot of other stuff along the way, too: building relationships across the globe and generally pioneering a coffee revolution. But they have not strayed from the modest goal of trying to make an excellent cup of coffee. They source from farmers they know, they roast beans to preserve their inherent characteristics, and they taste coffee numerous times before they let it go out the door. The results are elegant, earthy, and proof that sometimes to make a good cup of coffee, you let the bean speak.
Roast pick: Ejo Heza. Sourced from an independent, worker-owned coffee co-op in the Rutsiro District of western Rwanda, where a high-altitude lakeside microclimate and full-washing thrusts forward orange and grapefruit notes.
Location: Boston, MA
There is a wide-eyed curiosity to Gracenote’s approach to coffee. They’re inspired by it, they’re fascinated by it, and they treat the journey from farm to cup as an adventure. And they should! Coffee is a gift meant to be celebrated. That joy is rounded out by a philosophical take on the process. They incorporate a variety of tools and methods that combine old-fashioned tasting and modern analytics to make sure their roasts pass the bar. It’s the perfect combination of inventiveness, passion, and commitment to quality. And it results in careful, skillful roasts that allow every bean from every harvest—unique unto themselves—the platform to express itself perfectly.
Roast pick: Colombia María Ernestina Erazo. At 2,100 meters, the Nariño region imparts a creamy sesame character into an otherwise dark-fruit-forward crop. It’s a one-of-a-kind expression of the land that must be experienced to be believed.
Location: Madison, WI
JBC has four employees. They’re a small, midwestern roasting company with a huge, global heart. They only purchase coffee directly from producers and brokers who commit to the ideal of making coffee, as a commodity, sustainable. Their goal is to highlight producers, tell their story, pay them way more than trade premiums, and provide an inspiring seed-to-cup experience.
Roast pick: La Coipa Peru. After the fresh coffee is washed and sun-dried, JBC uncovers the round, nutty, citrusy flavor of the northern Peruvian highlands.
Location: San Jose, CA
A DIY ethic infuses everything Chromatic does, from hot-stamping and packing their own bags to maintaining their own machines. That’s coupled with a commitment to coffee as an artisanal treasure that is the product of a web of personal relationships. From the producers to the supply chain to the finished product, Chromatic is all about honoring and promoting the voices that make coffee possible. That means sourcing the perfect beans and paying a premium for them. The commitment to fairness trickles down to their quality, which is obvious from the first sip.
Roast pick: Kunjin from Papua New Guinea. It’s got a big, juicy body with bright, sweet tropical notes that reflect the remote lushness of the terroir it’s grown in.
Location: Chicago, IL
Big Shoulders evolved out of the garage-roasting exercise of its founder Tim Coonan. Not unlike Steve Jobs! Though his company is not the result of a clinical business plan, but of a love affair. With coffee. But coffee isn’t the only thing being cultivated on Big Shoulders’ watch: they only source beans from growers they’ve cultivated long-lasting, equitable relationships with. Then they roast those beans to specifically preserve their natural essence and identity, so we can all taste the inherent magic that are thoughtfully-grown and masterfully-selected beans.
Roast pick: Burundi Kibingo. Grown in high-altitude volcanic soil makes this bean’s cultivation environment especially nutrient-dense. The roast is light, which elegantly emphasizes the sweet and delicate spices and jasmine aroma. “Hypnotic” is the best way we can describe it.
Location: New York City, NY
Devoción owns the entire export process for their business: from hand-selecting the 1,000+ farm partners to dry-milling at their own facility in Colombia. Why? Speed. What makes Devoción truly remarkable is their ability to get beans from origin to cup in as little as 10 days. Coffee beans are an agricultural product, after all, and best enjoyed fresh. The fresher the bean, the stronger and more natural the flavor. The way the beans were intended to be experienced.
Roast pick: El Sol. Peach, caramel, and cinnamon notes swirl elegantly in this bright, dreamy roast sourced from high-altitude, micro-lot farms in the Tolima region of Colombia.
Location: Durham, NC
Counter Culture was in the artisanal roasting game from the get-go. And since then they’ve set the tone for social and environmental responsibility in the roasting industry. In 1997, they launched a bird-friendly line of coffee and in 2002 became the first certified-organic roaster in North Carolina.
Central to everything Counter Culture does is building relationships with their growers and their buyers. They’re the hub of an innovative, thoughtful wheel that has turned the coffee industry from utilitarian commodity trading to dynamic, progressive culinary force for good.
Roast pick: Ethiopian Apollo. It’s full of a crisp, floral energy that makes it hard to put down.
Best Coffee Roasters by Region
Best Coffee Roasters in Seattle
Ambitiously, Caffe Ladro opened up in Seattle right next to Starbucks with the intention of syphoning off customers with better brews. They’re now at 16 locations around the Seattle area and running Ladro Roasting, an operation that wins top marks for their consistent, quality sourcing of green coffees and local roasting prowess.
The original Elm location is in Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle, where they still roast on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays in front of large viewing windows. When they’re not sitting at the marble bar cherishing their steaming cuppas, customers can take further advantage of the fresh roasts with cupping and brewing classes.
Herkimer buys premium green coffees only from farms that engage in traditional, old-world cultivation methods. That ensures the coffee they sources is grown sustainably in naturally shaded areas. Then they roast those coffees daily to lock the freshness in.
Best Coffee Roasters in Chicago
Big Shoulders is a labor of love, and the company’s roasts prove it. That’s why they ended up on our national top-10 list above.
In 1995, Intelligentsia began roasting beans in-store with just two things: heirloom equipment and a desire to connect with the local community. As a result, a few decades later, they’ve left a legendary footprint on the Chicago coffee scene and the roasting industry at large. They’re pioneers, and their roasts still deliver the exceptional quality and attention to detail they helped standardize.
Chicagoland’s Conscious Cup focuses on quality not only for quality’s sake, but because quality begets equity at the farm level. Whether that be social, economic, or environmental benefits, using smaller Fair-Trade farms and paying premiums way over the Fair-Trade standard results in some of the highest-quality beans in the Midwest. Those beans are then roasted in Illinois in small batches according to the natural, unique flavors inherent in each of them. Tailoring roasts to the potential of each bean, and expertly navigating the variables of roast level and speed, results in a sublime statement on the power of cherishing and emphasizing each bean’s natural flavor profile.
Best Coffee Roasters NYC
Devoción made our national top-10 list above in large part because of their unique approach to preserving freshness through blinding speed: they can get a bean from origin to cup in as few as 10 days.
There is a charming, laissez-faire attitude behind City of Saints. Sure, they take coffee and everything that comes with it—sourcing, roasting, and brewing—seriously, but they do it with a light-heartedness that reminds us that coffee is meant to be enjoyed. It's not a course we have to study. It's a thing to celebrate, and its presence in our lives should be a positive, uplifting, and liberating one. And they're able to spread this relaxing philosophy one cup a time with locations in Hoboken, the East Village, and Bushwick.
These folks get our nod as the best coffee roaster in Brooklyn. Their DIY, hand-on approach results in roasts as innovative as they are delicious. And, more importantly, as an independently-owned and certified women-owned business, Grumpy is a community-oriented operation focused on social responsibility and sustainability.
Best Coffee Roasters in Portland
Heart found their way into our national top-10 list above on the strength and execution of their fruit-forward selection and roasting focus. Scroll up to read more about ‘em.
It all started with an epic, antique 1974 French-built Samiac roaster. Acquiring such a wonderful device in 2009 allowed Bruce and Matt the chance to showcase their approach to micro-roasting: be genuine stewards of the community, build relationships, and use independent coffee as a force for good. And deliciousness, of course. The result has been a line of roasts from a wide variety of the finest quality coffees roasted and served by a roster of well-compensated, enthusiastic, and industry-savvy employees.
Deadstock prides itself on “snob-free” coffee. That’s immediately clear by the contact email on their homepage: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s also clear by the simplicity of their roast and their price points. Sometimes detailed tasting notes aren’t necessary. Sometimes a description like this, of their Breezy roast, is enough: “It’s that one that you’re about to add cream to … then you don’t.” Wanna enjoy some great coffee, plain and simple? Deadstock is the spot.
Veteran barista and roaster-experimenter Matt summoned Coava out of his garage in 2008. The idea was to roast coffees that would be exciting for baristas to brew and sell. To create the coffee-expert’s coffee, if you will. He hit the books, studied up on every sustainable industry practice, and paid special attention to under-sourced coffee regions. The result is a roasting company with a foundation of solid, equitable partnerships and an execution of craft that comes straight from the founder’s soul.
Best Coffee Roasters in Denver
Huckleberry Roasters, referred to as Huck, is a socially- and environmentally-conscious roasting operation that puts people first. They’re, hands down, one of the best coffee roasters in Colorado. They’re also no strangers to humble beginnings or to the quality that humility imparts on a business—having started in a backyard garage. That’s why they carry that founding legacy forward and only work with small farms and coffee co-ops. And while they put serving their customers at a premium in terms of core values, they also serve their entire supply chain. No matter who is involved and at what part of the process, Huck is focused on improving their wellbeing, happiness, and experience.
Method wants to change the economic impacts of the macro-roasting coffee giants, especially on the far-away producers. Their honestly-sourced coffees are prepared with darn near artistic inspiration, and their service to the community is second only to their attention to detail at the roasting machine. If you’re looking for a home-grown roasting company with heart and talent, look no further.
Novo knocks both of our requirements out of the park. They honor the bean, and they celebrate the people that make coffee possible. That’s why they made our top-10 list above. Scroll up to read a little more about them.
Best Coffee Roaster in Colorado Springs
Switchback has an egalitarian approach to world-class coffee: everyone should be able to access it. And they’re able to deliver because the core of their business is built around solid relationships from farmers to importers and wholesale partners. While they of course believe coffee to be an exquisite jewel of a drink meant to be treasured, Switchback ultimately sees coffee as an expression of global human stories and relationships—of passionate people from all corners of the globe working together to create something beautiful.
Best Coffee Roaster in Boulder
Ampersand is driven to succeed through the success of their wholesale partners, who they set up with all the tools, education, and delicious coffee to run a profitable coffee program. They’ll even customize blends specifically for your clientele and concept and provide your coffee shop with world-class discounted coffee equipment. If you’re looking for top-notch beans along with industry expertise, personalized consulting, and a thoughtful business partner, Ampersand is your spot.
Best Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles
Cognoscenti—Cog Coffee for short—started as a coffee pop-up in New York. If the name Cognoscenti hearkens back to Intelligentsia, it’s for good reason. Yeekai Lim, the founder, was inspired to create the company after having an epic cup of Intelligentsia. Now with a permanent home in Southern California, Cog roasts on a Probat UG15 and dedicates itself to its craft, its community, and inspiring others through coffee like Lim himself was.
LAMill (pronounced luh-mill) has been family-owned since 1991 and has wholesale partners that run the gamut: quaint neighborhood coffee shops and serious Michelin-starred restaurants. What makes them remarkable is their sourcing quality standard: less than 1% of all coffee beans produced are up to snuff for them. That means that literally every LAMill roast is guaranteed to be outstanding.
Reborn Coffee’s business is centered around a patented green coffee washing process known as Reborn Green which results in a product known as Sprouted Coffee. During the process, unroasted green coffee beans have much of their natural complexity and profile restored through an accelerated germination process. This gets the beans as close as possible to their pre-picked vibrancy, which makes for one of the freshest-tasting roasts around. The process is one of the most unique additions to the third-wave coffee scene in years and makes Reborn roasts as memorable as they are delicious.
Best Coffee Roasters in San Francisco
We described Ritual’s dedication to coffee consciousness in the top 10 national roasters above. Check it out. Then check Ritual out.
Okay, they’re across the bay in Oakland, but it’s worth the trip. They focus on sourcing seasonal coffees from co-ops and small farms across the world. Then they roast it in small batches in both blends and single origins. Alex Roberts, roasting extraordinaire since 1996, is into innovation and pushing the envelope, but only if the fundamental craft of traditional roasting is thoroughly mastered. And, oh boy, that he has. Once the roasters at RoastCo are given coffees selected only from growers that adhere to sustainable farming practices, they fire up their Probat UG-22 roaster. Every roast is not meant to showcase the roaster’s brilliance—which is in no short supply—but to most fully express each bean’s natural profile.
3-19 believes every coffee is different. Every harvest unique, every roast different than the one before, and every brew an individual expression of the chain of events and relationships that made it possible. Coffee, then, is an artistic expression. The inherent creativity within coffee is on full display in all of 3-19’s products—be it their coffee bags or their coffee cafes. By supporting and promoting local artists and connecting the art and coffee communities, they present coffee as a creative endeavor. One that, like other great artistic mediums, is mastered over time and inspires us. And through their commitment to the craft of roasting, 3-19 has done just that.
Best Coffee Roasters in San Diego
Dark Horse sets itself apart by developing extremely close relationships with the smallholder farms around the world it sources direct-trade coffees from. For Dark Horse, it’s mostly about two things: relationships and their slogan of “staying rad.” First, independent coffee doesn’t happen without valuing the people in every part of the chain. So from farms to wholesale partners to coffee drinkers, Dark Horse is committed to recognizing and honoring the value of everyone participating. And second, staying rad. That’s important because it means we’re all already rad. And we’ve just gotta keep it going.
Bird Rock is one of the most committed to sustainability, and that’s saying a lot in a landscape of third wave coffee roasters that are pretty much all committed to it. They take a proactive approach with their source farms, helping improve the coffee grown there along with the quality of life of the farmers. They pay a premium based on the quality, which is always at least 50% above the Fair Trade contract price. And they work with the same farmers for years, which establishes a consistency and security that makes both coffee and people happy.
Mostra is Italian for exhibition and speaks to the roasters’ desire to showcase and present. Present what, exactly? The unique roasts and brews they expertly craft. Central to Mostra is the act of celebrating coffee—especially what makes each individual harvest, roast, and brew special. They source beans from a lesser-known coffee region in the Philippines and are industry leaders in empowering the people their company touches: the farming communities they give back to and the employees they provide with empowering coffee-industry education and training.
Boston's Best Coffee Roasters
In 1996, the Mahoney family started Atomic as a cafe on Boston’s North Shore. That gives them the valuable perspective of a coffee buyer. Now they roast (out of their roastery in Salem), grind, and brew everything on their own. The transition from a simple cafe to a coffee company that owns every aspect of their supply and operation required the Mahoneys to dig deep into their well of enthusiasm for coffee. And thankfully they came up with full arms. Their enthusiasm for the simplicity of a cup of excellent coffee has only grown, and now, as roasters, they can turn the screw slowly to perfect every roast and every brew.
A passion for the coffee, a joy for the adventure and the journey, and a zeroed-in, technical approach to making the best product possible. That’s Gracenote, and that’s why they made our top 10 national list above. You can read more about them up there.
Having been founded in 1993 makes Barrington Coffee Roasting Company one of the older players on the independent roasting scene. The company began as the fulfillment of one of the founders’ nagging obsessions. During college, he roasted for a local coffee house. As he built his career, he kept roasting. Clearly roasting wasn’t going away. So he leaned into it. Today, the company uses three words to describe its relationship with coffee: devotion, commitment, and fanaticism. The owners, Gregg and Barth, basically live to discover inspirational seasonal coffees and roast to perfection. It’s their passion and you can taste it.
Best Coffee Roasters in Atlanta
Importing coffee is honestly not that tricky. What makes it special is finding farmers who have a passion for growing it. The quality of the coffee from sources like that is truly noticeable. And that’s how Atlanta Coffee Roasters approaches sourcing and importing. Couple that with a scientific roasting process, and baristas who are well-supported and dedicated to the industry, and you’ve got a downright special coffee operation.
Late last year East Pole made Food & Wine’s list of the 100 best coffee shops in America. Last summer, East Pole hosted the U.S. Coffee Championships preliminary round. What does this all mean? It means that this place is serious flipping business. In the coffee world, East Pole not only gets top marks but they are deeply involved and respected in the specialty coffee scene. After three years as a brewer, they began roasting and they’ve gone from neighborhood goody to city-wide gem. As a wholesaler, they not only provide their roasts, they provide their expertise. They’ll give their partners a fresh, experienced set of eyes on their coffee program to make sure it’s as successful as possible. It’s consultative wholesale, and it’s fabulous.
We’ve made it. We are officially past the third wave. Three Heart Coffee Roastery refers to themselves, tongue-in-cheek, as “post third wave” to make a point. There is a set of expectations and standards around third wave coffee. They want to make it clear that they haven’t set out to meet those, they’ve set out to exceed and redefine those. They’re a collective of friends who are out to push the limits, keep improving, and roast coffees that reflect themselves: evolving, unique, idiosyncratic, and charming.
Best Coffee Roasters in Cincinnati
Every cup of coffee Awakenings purchases is sampled, roasted, and cupped on-premise. They tinker and toil until the result is darn near perfection. It’s an iterative approach that brings out a bit of their obsession but also the best qualities of every coffee they source. They cultivate an array of relationships with importers and single-source farms and use only Fair Trade, organic, and responsible growers. They take a page from bartender's handbook and empower their baristas to become coffee mixologists (dripologists?), letting them experiment with brewing techniques and combinations until something sublime is uncovered. And it often is.
Deeper Roots is redefining what it means to be socially responsible, even for third wave coffee roasters. It’s admirable. And the end product is magical. They made our top-10 national roasters, and you can scroll up to read why.
Lookout Joe wants everyone to enjoy coffee, from the expert grader to the casual Dunkin-addict. They roast their coffee right in the front window for everyone to see. There are bigger roasters, yes. There are roasters that throw tasting terms around like sommeliers, yes. Lookout Joe is not one of them. They maintain the same, even better, quality than those roasters, but that doesn’t define them. What they care about is giving the best coffee to everyone—whether you can compose a sonnet about its fragrances and structure or not.
Best DC Coffee Roaster
CWJ isn’t just a roaster. They’re one of the leading tech-focused third wave coffee companies. That means they offer full-service kegged beverage programs to retailers all over the place: DC, NYC, Philly, and Baltimore. They’ve even got kegerator vending machines available. All of that is informed by over 14 years of good, old-fashioned roasting experience. Their mission is to take the timeworn tradition of roasting and imbue it with the possibilities of the latest technology. So far, they’re doing just that.
Right smack-dab in the heart of historic Georgetown sits an assuming white-and-black facade by the waterfront. Here, on this sleepy side street, arguably the most impressive roasting in the DC metro area takes place. The coffees are ethically-sourced and delivered with a chill-yet-elegant DIY aesthetic that makes each bag of each roast a unique representation of what makes Grace Street so special.
Every day Harrar be roastin’. That’s so they can maintain their variety. They’ve got light roasts to match the more adventurous folks out there, and dark roasts for the more meditative. Coffee, to Harrar, is not only a reflection of its drinker’s personality, but of the coffee bean itself. In that sense, Harrar is a matchmaker artfully placing coffee drinkers with their ideal beans and ideal roasts. Untold amounts of love have been created out of thin air with this approach. Feel it!
Best Coffee Roasters in CT
Based out of West Hartford, J. René’s business philosophy begins and ends with respect. Respecting the people who cultivate coffee. Respecting the history behind the craft of roasting. Respecting the businesses who buy their beans and depend on the quality. And, lastly, respect for the relationships that make coffee special, whether that be the supply chain or two people sharing a cup and a conversation. The coffee itself is spectacular, and the sincerity of the approach makes it even better.
Death before decaf. Deathly delicious. These are the mantras of Perkatory. The stakes seem pretty high for coffee, but it’s all in fun. The operation has a punk rock aesthetic and the roasts carry the counterculture vibe all the way to the cup. The flavors are as unique as the music the owners’ blared through their Walkmans in the 80s. It’s the refined, elegant coffee experience that’s so common in third wave coffee spots completely flipped on its head. Henry Rollins once said punk rock is questioning anything and everything. That’s what Perkatory did, and it rules. It’s refreshing and memorable, just like one of their expertly-roasted, masterfully-dripped brews.
Taste! That is where the journey for Daybreak ends. And what a journey it is. It starts with a demanding coffee selection process where organic, Free Trade, and single-estate coffees are sourced by only the most knowing and critical eyes. They take that fresh coffee and craft roast the heck out of it, using their own proprietary technique. Every decision, every single level pulled during the entire supply process, is brought to bear on the simple sensation of taste. That single-minded dedication has made Daybreak the creator of some of the most memorable roasts in recent memory.
Best Coffee Roasters in Minneapolis
Up is completely aware that coffee-drinkers are being influenced by the craft movements in other beverage verticals. Wine drinkers, beer drinkers, cider drinkers, they’re all keenly aware and interested in the provenance of the object of their obsessions. Coffee drinkers are no different. That’s why Up provides the public and its wholesale partners with coffee that tells the story of the passion, personalities, and regions that make each roast possible. The result isn’t just a shared recipe (of something delicious, no less), but a shared experience. That’s what people want, and Up delivers.
Producer partnerships are the backbone of Spyhouse. They put the energy they do into their business so they can best support the folks who work on the farms. By providing an environment focused on equality, living wages, empowerment, and meaning, Spyhouse not only grows the quality of the beans they acquire, but they grow the overall wellbeing of the industry. To that end, they don’t want to be seen as an exclusive, inaccessible cafe. Relationships are relationships, whether with producers, wholesale partners, or coffee drinkers. And Spyhouse is dedicated to opening up and being a welcoming, conscientious partner to every soul that crosses their path.
Dogwood’s coffee is for others. That is their guiding principle. Coffee is a huge industry with supply chains that touch millions of people. It may seem like a cup of coffee is small potatoes, but the industry as a whole can be a massive force for good. That’s why Dogwood believes coffee is for others. Because responsible stewardship of that industry can improve countless lives. From farmers to drivers to wholesale partners to baristas and beyond. The people, families, and communities that make coffee possible are invaluable. So when Dogwood selects the right coffee from growers, roasts it immaculately, and impresses the pants off anyone who tastes it, it feels good, and it’s a nice business model. But it’s ultimately with human betterment in mind.
Best Coffee Roasters in Nashville
Crema started from scratch. Like, literally, from scratch. The founders, Rachel and Ben, built their first coffee shop on their own. They ripped out cement blocks, carved wood, painted, and personally acquired every single piece of equipment needed. Eventually after opening, they began roasting. They traveled to far-flung places, met humble, passionate people, and found themselves in the middle of something much larger than them: an interconnected web of stories, families, and communities that simmer beneath every world-class cup of coffee they serve. That’s why their coffee isn’t just an exercise in sourcing and roasting expertise, but a celebration of every beautiful human being that played a part in completing the farm-to-cup journey. Every cup of coffee they serve honors that interconnectedness and serves as a reminder that we are in it together.
8th & Roast roast. That’s what they do. They do it daily with coffee sourced from vetted growers. Then they sell it to the public steaming in cups, deliver to folks through a coffee subscription service, or ship it out wholesale (if you're interested, you can read more about how to start a coffee subscription business). But they’re not just roasters. They offer wholesale purchasers a partnership: you’ll get coffee, staff training, equipment consultation and training, and an actionable timeline. Leave it to them, and you’ll have a successful and profitable coffee program up and running. They can even work directly with contractors during construction to assist with layout and placement to enhance workflow efficiencies.
So few things in the world are cut-and-dry. And, according to Steadfast, the coffee industry is stuck on one particular binary delusion: dark and light roasts. Why only two? Their roast philosophy aims to move away from the limited categories of dark and light and explore more refined shades of roast. If a roaster is roasting properly, the flavors and experience of coffee cannot neatly fit into the old categories. So Steadfast is committed to bringing to the surface that complexity in a way that lets us appreciate the subtlety and beauty of every seed, bean, roast, and brew. They take origin trips to source, cup, and quality-rate all the coffees they import right at the farms themselves. The results are a litany of equitable, long-lasting relationships with passionate industry partners and the finest-quality coffee around.
Best Coffee Roasters in Dallas
Summer Moon uses a totally unique brick roaster and roasts their beans over an open flame. The result is a distinctive, smooth roast with the subtle, comforting essence of Texas oak. Summer Moon folds in classic Texas hospitality to make their family-run business the home for a diverse roster of roasters, baristas, and coffee enthusiasts. “It’s the wood that makes it good,” they say. And they’ve been saying that for 20 years. Thankfully, everyone who tries it agrees. It’s fantastic, and it’s unlike any other coffee.
Full City Rooster is a roasting studio. It’s a fitting name because their roaster makes each individual coffee sing. Every taste profile from every coffee is purposefully cajoled and nurtured until it’s exactly the way it was meant to be. Some harvests demand a roast that puts their bright and fruity sides forward, and others excel as more subtle and mysterious brews. Either way, the individuality and complexity of every coffee is preserved, enhanced, and showcased.
Cultivar’s self-stated job is to maximize the potential of each coffee they source. They roast and cup every coffee as a celebration of the coffee producers that made it all possible. To maximize the potential, they confess, they nerd out. But their nerdiness is all in service of the farmers and customers they ultimately serve. They achieve unheard-of levels of attention to detail and care during their selection and roasting processes. By producing the best possible coffee, their success is shared with everyone in the supply chain. If they didn’t nerd out, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.
Best Coffee Roasters in Philadelphia
The perpetual pursuit of perfection is what gets Elixir up in the morning. They continually evolve and tweak their sourcing, roasting, preparation, and brewing to get to the most delicious coffee possible. The iterative process has served them well, too: they’ve got 8 recognitions in roasting and coffee-related national competitions and were ranked as the best cold brew in America.
Passero’s been slingin’ cups since 1990. That’s old school. And for those 30 years, they’ve been doing it as a family-run business. In 2013, the founder of Passero’s teamed up with a master roaster to open a roasting facility in North Philadelphia. Five years later, they were selected as one of Philly’s top-three coffee roasters. Today, Passero’s has a cafe embedded right in the roastery, where they wholesale their beans from. It’s been a long, continuous process of improvement for Passero’s, and they’ve used the timescale to perfectly come into their own as a purveyor of quality roasts and a Philly institution. Here’s to another 30, Passero’s!
Pilgrim’s core value is service. Whether it’s a journey to a farm, the journey of a business from inception to success, or the journey of an individual through life, every journey demands solidarity with one’s fellow travelers. And that solidarity is a commitment to serve them, and thus, the greater good. Great service and great coffee coexist to Pilgrim. Not only that, they synergize together to create a unique environment where people can journey along joyously together. They also carefully roast beans in small batches that are ethically and diligently sourced. Can’t forget that.
Best Coffee Roasters in Austin
This is Austin’s first on-premise coffee roaster, and they’re still setting the tone for third wave coffee in the city. That says something. They’ve spent the last 25 years perfecting their craft—from bean selection to the finished product—and they now offer the largest selection of hand-picked and expertly roasted coffees in the Austin area.
Civil Goat are three things: proud hospitality advocates, creative souls, and, perhaps most importantly, dyed-in-the-wool coffee addicts. Having started in a plucky, artistic neighborhood of Austin, Civil Goat has carried that identity through. Their shop became a space that encourages the development and exchange of new ideas, creativity, and, again perhaps most importantly, very, very good coffee.
Here’s a formula for any aspiring coffee roaster: get the best beans, roast them with love in your heart, then give back what you can. Seems easy, right? It’s not. The first part’s hard, you can’t fake the second part, and the third part requires some level of success. Greater Goods pulls it off, though. And they got voted the best coffee in Texas by Food & Wine to prove it.
Best Coffee Roasters in North Carolina
Coffee should be simple, as the name Black and White suggests. Some roasters on this list eschew the simple approach, opting to locate a coffee’s character along a series of sliding scales. Do those roasters triangulate on just the right flavor? They may! Is it that necessary to get the most out of coffee? It isn’t. Find great beans, roast them like a champ, and knock everyone’s socks off. That’s what Black and White does every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. To add to the elegant simplicity of it all, they specialize in single-origin roasts that emphasize honest terroir over ambitious experimentation.
Blackbeard coffee gets its name from owner and intrepid coffee leader Mike Fox. From behind his beard, he issues forth warm smiles and copious amounts of enthusiasm that fuel for the Blackbeard Coffee engine. He started roasting, saw a need for a proper roaster in eastern North Carolina, and started a small-batch roastery. Then he brought in the big guns: Matt Sterling, head roaster and walking coffee beast. Together, they create fresh-brewed sorcery of a kind difficult to imagine. Thankfully, you needn’t imagine it, only order it. You won’t be sorry.
Manage an office? Run a restaurant or a hotel? Cumberland’s goal is to bring coffee shop quality wherever they can. That means being a wholesale partner par-excellence by providing quality roasts at remarkable price points. They even offer a variety of coffee-related fundraising programs for organizations to sell Cumberland coffee and raise their own funds.
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