Philadelphia-based coffee chain Saxbys has launched a roasting operation in a brand new, 7,000-square-foot production headquarters in South Philly.
The company has been developing the roasting program for more than a year, appointing vice president of coffee David Amos to direct a sourcing operation.
Those coffees are now making their way to the Point Breeze neighborhood, where a century-old former ice house is now home to two Loring production roasters, with 15-kilo and 70-kilo capacities. Gregg Roberson, formerly the head roaster for the New York City-based chain Gregory’s Coffee, is leading the roasting operation.
The company has launched with four core blends: an approachable blend currently consisting of a combination of washed-process and natural-process coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala called Pep Talk; a darker roast of three fully-washed-process Latin American coffees called Liquid Courage; an espresso-oriented blend with four coffees, including an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe; and a decaf coffee originating from Colombia’s Tolima region. The company says it plans to roll out a number of single-origin coffees soon to complement the range of blends.
The roastery will be supplying each of Saxbys’ retail shops throughout the East Coast, with the highest concentration in the greater Philadelphia area. Many of those shops are part of Saxbys’ Experiential Learning Program, through which the company partners with colleges and universities for campus cafes.
The roasting operation represents a major milestone for the nearly 15-year-old brand that has not been without its share of tumult.
Nick Bayer founded an original Saxbys location in Atlanta in 2005 with little more than a credit card and aspirations to franchise. Four years later, the company filed for bankruptcy while facing litigation from 18 former franchisees or investors in six states and the District of Colombia, according to court records.
In 2012, the company was revived through a majority sale to the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based investment firm MVP Capital Partners. In the period that followed into today, the company began buying back franchises and operating its own cafes. There are currently approximately 24 branded Saxbys shops.