The three finalists for Roast magazine’s 18th Annual Roaster of the Year awards have been announced in the Micro Roaster category. Winners for each category will be announced on Monday, Oct. 18.
Roast recognizes winners from two categories: Micro Roaster of the Year, for companies roasting fewer than 100,000 pounds of coffee each year; and Macro Roaster of the Year, for companies roasting more than 100,000 pounds annually.
The three finalists in the Micro Roaster category are listed below in no particular order, with information obtained from the company’s award application. [Click here to view the 2022 Macro Roaster of the Year finalists.]
The Roaster of the Year awards recognize companies that roast coffees of superior quality, exemplify a dedication to sustainability, promote employee and community education, demonstrate strong involvement in the coffee industry, and a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity, among other criteria. To view the application and criteria, click here.
Micro Roaster of the Year Finalists
Big Island Coffee Roasters
Founded in 2010 by co-owners Kelleigh Stewart and Brandon Damitz, Mountain View, Hawaii-based Big Island Coffee Roasters has been working for over a decade to make authentic Hawaiian coffee a special experience. With a total of eight employees, the company has roasted over 68,000 pounds in the past year and has developed over 40 rural, local coffee farmers to add value to little-known coffee growing regions in Hawaii.
Big Island, according to its Roaster of the Year application, is “renewing the experience of Hawaiian coffee from being a gimmicky, poorly roasted blend, to a fresh, regional, specialty experience.” The company aims to “ensure coffee farming in Hawaii is economically sustainable for farmers, and can sit on a global stage next to top tier coffees from around the world.”
Little Waves Coffee Roasters
Little Waves Coffee Roasters was founded in 2010 by co-owners Areli Barrera Grodski and Leon Grodski Barrera, with the roastery established in 2017. With 34 full-time and part-time employees, the company operates a roasting facility and three cafes in Durham, North Carolina. Little Waves roasted over 58,000 pounds in the past year.
The company, according to its Roaster of the Year application, is “an impact-driven group of thinkers, dreamers, and doers who delight in the enduring power of coffee as a shared experience. By making small, determined reverberations through sourcing, roasting, and brewing, we add our open-hearted energy to the tides that reveal and uphold the beauty of coffee and life.”
A Latina majority-owned and women-forward company, Little Waves is composed of people of different cultures, genders, languages, faiths and beliefs, who operate with a focus on quality and service.
Rabbit Hole Roasters
Rabbit Hole Roasters, based in Delson, Quebec, Canada, was founded in 2019 by co-owners David Lalonde and Sophie Moreau. The company’s mission is to go “beyond coffee” and engage with the coffee industry in a way that reflects what the business is all about, asking the question, “why do we deserve to take up space in this industry?”
Rabbit Hole believes that the coffee industry needs to evolve in order to address issues such as climate change and farmers’ sustainability. The company relies heavily on Forward Contracts—committing to coffees before or during the harvest to make sure farmers can be assured that volume is secured. Not only that, but the company commits to “working with the same farmers, for the same lots, year after year, even if quality fluctuates,” according to its Roaster of the Year application.