It’s not particularly surprising that in a full calendar year across the wide United States, there are quite a few coffee shops that open, given the café’s status as a staple in the U.S. commercial retail landscape. What is inspiring, though, is the sheer number of new, independent and forward-thinking roasting companies that continue springing up to supply them.
Freshness, quality, transparency, localness, and all the other hallmarks of specialty coffee continue to arise anew in cities and suburbs big and small, as well as some inspiringly remote little towns and rural areas, practically at a rate so fast we’re unable to report on them all.
Of particular note is the increasing frequency of fully vertically integrated companies that are either comprised of producers themselves, or in other ways go beyond the traditional crop-to-crop, producer/importer/buyer relationship in favor of more equitable, permanent, equal-footing partnerships and collaborations between farms and roasteries.
Listed chronologically by our dates of coverage, here’s a fond and optimistic patchwork of 30 of the newly fired-up roasteries we covered in 2016.
Recently we reported on the Arkansas-based coffee company Coffee.Org that acquired the internet domain CoffeeRoaster.com, with the possible intent of compiling a nationwide directory of independent roasteries. If that list starts local and works its way out, a likely candidate for early inclusion would be Red Light Roastery, a fellow Arkansas roaster that just got rolling over the summer of 2015.
The state of coffee in Galway drove him to roast his own. When the chilly Irish climate proved preventative for an outdoor popcorn popper method, he sprang for a Gene Café. The more O’Rourke learned of the science and craft of roasting, the more certain he became that a future in the coffee business was inevitable. From Ireland, through phone calls and emails, O’Rourke researched and eventually ordered a US Roaster Corp 12-kilo machine in advance of his return to the States.
In March of last year, Paul Massard sent his University of Miami buddy and fraternity brother Chris Nolte a ‘happy birthday’ text. From there, the old friends exchanged more texts and talks until a business idea began to bloom — one that is now fully realized in Per’La Specialty Roasters, the newest coffee roasting outfit in the emerging South Florida specialty scene.
Good Folks Coffee Company has officially unveiled its inaugural lineup of wholesale and online retail offerings, a few months after having turned on new lights in a fully rehabilitated building at 1151 S. Shelby St. in the Shelby Park neighborhood of Louisville, Ky.
Few cities can claim as celebrated a spirit of manufacturing as Detroit. The Motor City is for makers, where craft and production are the cathode and the anode whose interaction welds society together. A new roastery and apparel shop downtown at 1555 Broadway called ASHE Supply Co. taps into that culture with its well-wrought coffee experience alongside its line of in-house designed clothing and accessories.
At the center of the expansion is a brand new Diedrich IR12 custom painted in vivid purple, to match McMullin’s hair.
After finding early success with their first flagship multiroaster café, Methodical Coffee in Greenville, S.C., is planning to launch roasting operations and a cold brewery, with an eye toward regional and national wholesale development.
Global Coffee Trading, a new coffee importing and consulting business, is putting the finishing touches on its San Diego headquarters, which, when fully furnished, will include a green coffee trading floor, quality control and training labs, a roastery, a cold brewery, and a consumer-facing retail bar.
After seven years in business and with two retail shops now running, the acclaimed Philadelphia company Ultimo Coffee has embarked upon the journey of bringing roasting in house. A 1992 Probat L12 now hums away in an industrial space just a couple blocks from the original Ultimo retail location, and the company rolled out its first in-house roast last week, excited to grow the program from there.
Two near neighbors who have more than three decades of combined roasting experience have teamed up to launch Goodman Coffee Roasters in the historic St. Elmo district of Chattanooga, Tenn.
The only thing missing from the equation has been a more wholesale-focused roaster to supply additional new cafes and help existing shops raise quality as well, without any competing retail ambitions of its own. The just-launched Plume Coffee & Roastery has arrived to answer that demand.
A new collaborative roasting facility called The Lab is currently in soft-opening to pros and the public alike in Tampa, Fla. It is the latest in a series of openings of such establishments across the United States and beyond.
If a new company in Redondo Beach, Calif. called The Fika Company Coffee Roastery is any indication, the newfound love and adaptation of this tradition has also extended beyond the U.S. even to coffee-growing countries, although it’s the scene here that seems to be the magnet for its celebration.
After more than a decade behind the controls of large commercial coffee roasters, Brian Protsman is venturing forth with his own coffee roastery and retail bar in South Florida. Protsman and his wife and business partner, Miriam Protsman, opened the doors to Switchbox Roasters this morning, joining the growing specialty coffee community from their flagship in Oakland Park.
In rural Upper Peninsula Michigan, a new company called Contrast Coffee is a counterweight and a balancing act unto itself. Its titular contrast is quality — in a world of generally bad coffee, Contrast is the opposite.
The small city of Benson, Ariz., located about 45 miles outside Tucson, is not only a desert in the climatological sense. It’s also a bit of a coffee desert as far as specialty goes. Recently, one couple has broken ground to change that with their new roasting company, Mo Coffee Roasters.
The newly established Spokane, Wash.-based roaster started its wholesale business in January of this year, and early last month opened its first retail café downtown. Built into its business model is a dedication of 10 percent of its proceeds earmarked for micro-loans. As their roasting and retail business grows, so does the amount available to finance improvements on the ground at origin.
More than a year in the making, the roastery expansion essentially represents a new era in business for the company, founded five years ago as a single retail location in Mission Beach by John Vallas. Upgrading from a 3-kilo electric roaster to a 35-kilo Loring roaster, with room to add another, the Swell team has also added a destoner, a new sample roaster, and will soon be adding a six-bottle line for a new bottled cold brew.
When engineer Joel Clark head to Guatemala several years ago for work on a silver, lead and zinc mine, little did he know that it was gold he’d actually strike. Coffee gold that is, in the form of partnership with brothers David and Eddie Solano.
For tech industry folks, a good coffee shop is truly an asset, and as a new roasting and retail company in downtown Fresno, Calif., has learned, sometimes that’s almost literally the case.
Big businesses generally start small. Rarely does it happen the other way around, although when a roaster gets her start at Starbucks, helps the company grow into its largest production plants in the United States and then uses that knowledge and experience to launch her own suburban Pennsylvania startup with a Probat P12, you could say it’s a small business that started big.
In the coastal Massachusetts town of Ipswich, a new local roaster has moved into its permanent roastery café home with mobility also built into the design. Little Wolf Coffee, which opened its doors to the public early last month, has production centered on a Probat P12/2 at one end of the space, and a full yet modular espresso and brewing bar on the other.
For local economies as well as the human spirit, nothing revitalizes like good, fresh coffee, and post-industrial Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is currently getting a sip.
The daughter and granddaughter of coffee farmers in the Colombian district Quindio, Maria Palacio grew up witnessing the struggles of smallholder coffee farmers, year after year, until she left for greener pastures, so to speak, in the United States.
About five months ago in Midland, Mich., whole bean and wholesale roaster Heirloom Coffee Company launched in this spirit: Providers of a classic yet well-crafted staple, ready to fit the hands to which it’s passed.
Living full-time in Portland, Ore., for six years before returning to his home turf in Lincoln, Neb., four years ago, Mike Bratty was a curious consumer and home roaster during what was arguably American specialty coffee roasting’s biggest boom period in its biggest boomtown. It was not lost on him.
When your beloved local bakery serves lackluster coffee, you could just keep quiet about it, enjoy the pastries and look elsewhere for a satisfying cup. Or you could convince the owners to raise their coffee to the level of their baked goods, fly with them to the Diedrich factory in Idaho to learn to roast, and spearhead an in-house roasting program that elevates the coffee there to the upper echelon of quality.
Though Coffee Culture founders Paul and Lisa Tostberg, along with roastmaster Garrett Esary, began roasting in-house four years ago to support CC’s retail brand, they said they relished the opportunity to develop a new brand that could stand alone from the retail operation, offering opportunities in grocery sales and wholesale roasting throughout the Willamette Valley and beyond.
A pilcrow is the typographical symbol used by editors to indicate where a paragraph break occurs. It’s also the name of a new coffee roaster and retailer in Milwaukee, Wisc., whose fresh brick-and-mortar tasting room at 1739 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood represents an important pivot on coffee’s path from farm to consumer.
Great Circle Coffee — founded in Miami last year by Guatemala-born Sergio Boppel — depends on Loring’s circular flow for their high-quality product, though that’s actually not the circle reflected by their name. The company is even more concerned with the flow of goods from origin being returned in the form of wealth, of just compensation for a quality supply.