Times have changed, We are living in a time where is has never been easier to get good coffee. The internet is a really wonderful thing.
The way we think about coffee is different than they way our parents thought about coffee. Coffee is no longer just an energy boost. Coffee is being specially crafted for its flavors. The world of specialty coffee or third wave coffee or craft coffee, whatever you want to call it, It’s evolving into one that is more like the wine or craft beer industry.
Today, we have access to so many great coffee roasters allowing you to get good coffee.
It goes without saying that every roaster is on this list because they have coffee that will make you happy. After all, that is the final test of a great roaster, does the coffee make you happy. As long as it does then it’s a fine cup.
Coffee is something that is personal and I can in no way tell you which roaster is this best. I believe that each one of the roasters on this list brings something to better the coffee community and industry as a whole. Each one bringing their own touch and way of giving back; from giving to charities to educating. Each coffee roaster has been put on this list because they have a true passion and dedication to coffee.
A great small batch roaster full of big values. Theodore’s coffee was founded on values of high quality while appreciating the beauty in everything. They believe that a profitable business venture (in the right hands) has the biggest opportunity to create positive and lasting change.
I agree with the founder, a Honduran native who before entering the coffee industry directly, worked with a fertilizer company to help coffee farmers obtain better yields for their crops. He really helped farmers grow by refocusing them on quality instead of quantity and changing varieties if need be. Theodore’s Coffee has a personal relationship with each farm by helping 23 growers in Central America produce better tasting coffee.
Theodore’s also gives back to the community through charity, not just knowledge. They are in partnership with the Micah Project, whose goal is to help the neediest and most anguished children in Honduras.
When you support a great small batch roaster like Theodore’s coffee you also are supporting a growing community of farmers and charitable organizations that are working on making the world a better place.
Brighter Days coffee has taken their love for coffee and passion to change the world and molded them into one great business idea. They make sure that each purchase you make from them goes towards making the world a better place. Brighter days was founded by Ward and Arie Farrior who early on realized that the coffee industry was basically encouraging slave labor and decided to take a stand. They spent years travelling to and from third world countries including Cambodia, where they now reside full time. They saw first hand what poverty and hardships the cambodian people were going through and decided to build a business that could financially support programs to help rebuild the nation.
They work with organizations that offer the cambodian people food and education as well as work to meet the needs of the community.
Brighter Days knew that in order to make a big impact they had to start at the source and that’s the farms. Every Coffee that they sell is selected from small, family owned farms in order to empower the community.
All of their coffee is roasted fresh and delivered within a week. Not only do you get fresh coffee but with every bag YOU purchase you put 3 meals on the table for a struggling family in Cambodia.
A new face on the scene of small batch roasting. Lightning Coffee Roasters is a small start up in Lynn, MA. The company was started by Rachel and Andy Bennett, true coffee lovers that wanted to take their passion to the next level. Rachel, one day decided to take the plunge and buy a coffee roaster after her love for the drink grew so large she couldn’t contain it any longer.
She perfects her roasts by drinking coffee throughout the entire day and wrangling her friends and family together to get their opinions. This story is inspiring to anyone who is thinking about roasting coffee, as long as you have a true passion for it anybody can do it. That’s exactly what the people at Lightning Coffee Roasters have, PASSION.
They are dedicated to finding the finest coffee that they can and roasting the beans fresh in small batches so the local north shore bostonians and online coffee lovers alike can enjoy them.
Their social mission is to empower women by sourcing coffee being produced by women in a socially and environmentally responsible way. A great small business on the shores of America that you can support.
This is a great little company! It’s a husband wife combo that has travelled around and had great coffee. But after their travels they would come home to sunny Ft. Lauderdale, FL and realized that there was not a lot of great tasting specialty coffee around them. They one day decided to change that! Manny, their main roaster, started making good coffee as a hobby and decided to get serious about it and took coffee roasting courses from Boot Coffee. They got a great grasp on roasting and started doing that for a living.They have similar beliefs to me; do what makes you happy, teach others and grow your community. They help locals in the community by offering free conversation about all things coffee, from local roasters to their next client they want to educate the community and really grow the world of specialty coffee. This is a really great couple to support, Take a listen to this podcast so that you can get a feel for how great these guys are. You can just hear how much they actually enjoy coffee and conversation with the community.
They also stand behind that coffee is a very personal experience, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy coffee and I strongly believe that too.
Argyle, like Lightning coffee Roasters, is an inspiring story for anybody thinking about getting their roasting career going!
Bean box is a monthly coffee subscription service that rounds up 20 of Seattle’s best coffee roasters. They guarantee that your coffee will be shipped within 48 hours of roasting, making sure you get the freshest coffee possible. You can choose to get a 12oz bag of their coffee of the month which delivers freshly roasted coffee from a new roaster every month. If you want to try even more new coffees, every month they also offer a sampler box. This box takes you on a tour of four different coffee houses in Seattle. You will get four different coffees roasted fresh from different roasters and sent right to your door.You can expect to see single origin roasts and blends of coffee. In every order you will receive Fresh roasted whole bean coffee tasting notes, roaster profiles, brewing tips, and an artisan treat.
Craft Coffee is another coffee subscription service with a claim to be “more selective than harvard!” I love it! They will bring you freshly roasted, great tasting, hand selected coffee every month at grocery store prices. Craft coffee offers you a very unique buying process. If you would like to purchase a single bag of coffee from them they ask you what your favorite coffee to drink at home is. With that info they will recommend a coffee to you and offer you a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
If you don’t choose to get the recommended coffee you can still choose whatever you would like, for instance their 3 pack sampler. These guys test coffee all day everyday. Every month they sample over 50 coffees and only select the best to send to you every month. All of these coffees are from different roasters and blindly tested. For this reason they will feature lots of well known roasters but also lots of small start ups which is a really great thing to build the small batch roasting community.
The story behind the name of the company is over 300 years old, Blue bottle was said to be Central Europe’s first ever coffee shop, The shop opened was opened because of splendors of war. Turks had invaded the city of Vienna but were later forced out in a hurry, leaving behind everything that they had brought, including coffee.
Fast forward 300 years and Blue bottle is one of the larger names on this list. Now based in Oakland, California. they guarantee all of their coffee fresh, never serving coffee that is more than 48 hours old. And for all you coffee nerds out there they only roast on loring roasters. That may make a difference to some!
Not only do they take pride in roasting their coffee but they also partner up with select farms, working together with them to bring you better coffee. They definitely understand all of the flavors that coffee has to offer. If you would like you can take their 9 question quiz and they will recommend a coffee that suits your flavor.
Blue Bottle, like most other roasters also offer a rotating subscription so that you can try lots of different coffees. You can choose between blends, espresso or single origin rotating coffees.
This is one of my favorite coffee sites. Angel’s Cup is tasty, fun and informative. With them you can try up to 208 different coffees throughout the whole year .Angel’s Cup is fun because they offer you a blind tasting flight. You get to blind taste test each coffee that is sent to you. You receive 4 sample size bags that are marked by a number, There are separate cards labeled with each number that include the roaster, the origin and tasting notes. No cheating, don’t look at them before hand! That takes all the fun away.
This service actually helps you develop your coffee flavor palate[link my article]. You document what you taste by using their app(available on android and apple), It’s fun to walk through the tasting process just like the pros. You can compare what you taste to what the roaster has developed. After the whole process you get to meet the roaster so if you find a coffee that you really love you will know right where you can order it from.
You will get great coffee from an ever expanding roasters list. Every tasting flight will bring you coffee from at least 2-3 roasters every month.
Crema Co coffee is another site that brings a community of small batch coffee roasters together. They are on a mission to empower everybody in the coffee chain, from the growers to the roasters to the drinkers. They have powerful story telling about the farmers and the roasters right on their website so that you can really get to know each farmer and roaster. This way you can choose to support specific farms and roasters that you think bring the most to the community and provide the best quality.
They also have something called the brew log
“The Brew Log utilizes the latest sensory science research and machine learning techniques to discover your coffee palate’s fundamental attributes, and our recommendation engine then delivers personalized suggestions to you based on those characteristics”
This will log every coffee experience that you have had with them and learn what you like to taste over time.
Crema also donates to food 4 farmers every time you make a purchase. Their goal is to provide lasting food security through collaboration. Another thing to feel good about besides just getting the finest coffee.
If you work in an office building and have the power to suggest the type of coffee you owuld like to see at work you can pitch the idea of crema easily. They have an office coffee subscription that is really neat. It integrates with a slack channel so that the office can democratically select the next coffee they will receive. A super cool idea that I haven’t seen before.
This is another big name on the list. Counter culture was founded back in 1995 and has continued to grow ever since. They were the first organic certified roaster in their home state of North Carolina. Counter culture has great values that I think any coffee lover would want to support. They are on a relentless pursuit of coffee perfection, dedicated to environmental and social sustainability.
They have multiple ways of educating the consumer and teaching coffee to anyone who is serious about learning. In 2004 they took a trip to Nicaragua, this trip was a precursor to what is now their origin field lab. They take annual trips to different farms, in March 2017 they took a trip to Honduras. These classes cover how the coffee is cultivated and processed. It also helps build community.
Counter culture has certified Direct trade deals with many coffee farmers, this ensures that they are paid a fair wage and both parts(farmers and roasters) work towards the same goal, and that’s great coffee.
They have 13 different training centers all across the United States. If they are this dedicated to teaching and growing the community, just imagine what their coffee tastes like!
This little coffee house and roastery had an odd beginning, being started by a professional photographer and his need for good coffee. Started in 1993 in Topeka, Kansas they have grown over 20 years and built relationships with their coffee farmers that they also call friends. Rated as macro roaster of the year in 2009 by Roast Magazine, PT’s coffee is a growing community of coffee lovers. 80% of their coffee is acquired through direct trade deals that they have with their farmers. These deals and partnerships are born out of being socially responsible and environmentally conscious.
Pt’s Coffee is driven by a never ending passion to find and drink the best coffee possible. They realized that a great cup of coffee comes from coffee that has been grown and cared for with love.
One Village, another amazing roaster.They work hard every step of the way, from working with the farmers directly, ensuring they are paid a fair wage though their fair trade agreement.They have a licensed Q grader and meticulous roasters on staff. Their taste testing process never stops. They are always testing to make sure their coffee meets their very high standards. As they put it: “We constantly chart, graph , cup, taste, tweak, roast and cup again!”
Not only are they expert roasters bringing great coffee to us lovers, but they are also connecting the community. Their goal is to bring the coffee drinker, the roaster and the farmer all closer together.
The group at One Village took a trip to West Africa and Honduras in the early 2000s that really molded the company into what it stand for today. They saw the power of a village, they recognized that a community of people working together to better themselves is the way to make this world a better place. That’s how One Village Coffee was born.
Debatably, the biggest name on this list Stumptown Coffee Roasters and for a good reason. They take every step of coffee very serious. Well, serious might be the wrong word, they like to have fun but they know what they are talking about. They know that every coffee bean will roast different and they know that an extra 15 seconds in the roaster may make or break a coffee.
They also have their very own team called “the green team” that go to coffee farms and enjoy the great food and rituals of the country they are visiting. Not only are they loving life but they are also building relationships with farmers.
They educate farmers on how to better grow coffee as well as process it. Stumptown has the farmers in mind when investing in their farms, they want the farmers to grow their community and become sustainable . Stumptown, just like PT’s Coffee, knows that a great cup of coffee comes from an excellent bean.
Every Coffee roaster is different yet similar. All of the roasters on this list have the same goal; provide excellent coffee. Each of them put their own personal touch on roasting and the mark that they bring to the community. Coffee, being the second most traded item worldwide behind oil, has a huge potential to impact the world. With every dollar you spend you are actually casting a vote. By choosing roasters that understand this and want to bring a positive change to the world you are doing your part in helping make this world a better place for everybody.
Please help out the community, get good coffee and share this post! By doing so you are helping spread the words of good coffee and positive change for the roasters, farmers and the world’s people.