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Rising Tide Roast Collaborative Ready to Lift All Comers in Austin

Rising Tide Roasting Collaborative Austin 3

Rising Tide Roast Collaborative and Sightseer Coffee Co-Founders Sara Gibson (left) and Kimberly Zash at the headquarters in South Austin. All images courtesy of RTRC.

Roasters starting and scaling up in the heart of the Lone Star State needn’t go it alone now that Rising Tide Roast Collaborative (RTRC) has officially set sail in Austin.

Inside a 2,000-square-foot South Austin warehouse space, coffee roasting professionals of any experience level can access Ikawa and Aillio sample roasters, a Loring S35 Kestrel production roaster, a Weigh Right weigh-and-fill machine and other production, packaging and sealing equipment.

Tools and space are available brewing, espresso preparation and cuppings, while members and managers are encouraged to communicate and share ideas.

“Rising Tide is open to anyone, from coffee professionals to the newcomer who walks in interested in starting their own coffee business,” RTRC Co-Founder Kimberly Zash told Daily Coffee News. “We can train anyone on how to roast, how to scale up, and anything in between.”

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Rising Tide was founded this year by Zash and co-founder Sara Gibson. The two are also behind the queer and woman-owned roasting company Sightseer Coffee, which they launched late last year. The duo met as coworkers at Roast Magazine 2021 Micro Roaster of the Year award winner Greater Goods Coffee Roasting.

“We’re both big advocates of knowledge-sharing and creating opportunities for people, especially people who historically haven’t had easy access to such things,” Gibson told DCN. “There are some challenging barriers to entry when it comes to coffee roasting. Equipment expense is a big one, and it can be hard to acquire the knowledge and skills without a lot of time, resources, connections, and cash. We want to bring those barriers down.”

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Sightseer is one of the four initial member companies in the RTRC, joining fellow Austin businesses Dear Diary Coffee, Mercado sin Nombre, and Radio Coffee & Beer.

Gibson said that while the co-roastery is designed for professional roasting, hobbyists are also encouraged to check out the space or join in cuppings and events.

“There’s no gatekeeping here,” Gibson told DCN. “This is a welcoming space for everyone.”

Plans call for adding another roaster to the equipment lineup, most likely with a capacity of 10-12 kilograms. A green coffee sample library will also be developed, and workshops, classes, and events will debut soon.

“We created Rising Tide because it was the thing we wanted but couldn’t find near us — a space dedicated to and owned by local roasters,” said Gibson. “Someplace anyone who wants to grow in coffee can feel at home, and where collaboration and shared growth are valued over secrecy and competition.”

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In addition to roasting, the collaborative founders hope to facilitate collaborations on green coffee purchases, while also finding avenues to share costs related to shipping and logistics.

“When I got into the coffee industry, I realized how incredibly difficult and expensive it is to pursue any kind of professional coffee education. The idea of starting my own roasting business was even more outside of the realm of possibility,” said Zash. “In addition to that, learning how to roast was something I had to earn and prove I was worthy of, and I think that era of coffee needs to be over.”

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