I fully understand the fine art of the small batch roast but in searching for a roaster for a coffeehouse I will need a bigger and more reliable roaster. We have been ordering coffee from The Steaming Bean for our home use for a number of years. My husband loves the Velvet Hammer as much for it's name as for it's taste. I have enjoyed it as well as their Dark Sumatra and several others. Has anyone else ever had coffee roasted by Steaming Bean? How do you feel it compares to Dillanos and Dancing Goats, and others? Please note I'm in TN (about 4 hrs N of Atlanta) not the the NW. I'm looking for a supplier(s) who can provide great coffee for brewing and for espresso.

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Denise -

The best option would be to get coffee from all the roasters you are considering and taste the coffee to make your own decision:

Dillanos and Dancing Goats (Batdorf&Bronson) are fine suppliers.
You may also wish to consider:

Stone Cup
Thomas Hammer
Barefoot Coffee
Thanksgiving Coffee Co.
Urban City
Paradise Roasters
Coffee Klatch

There are many, many more top-tier coffee roasters who should be happy to sell specialty coffee to you.
Of all those you mentioned I only know Dillanos, Dancing Goats and Zoka. We enjoyed Chaos Coffee as much for it's attitude as for the flavor. I've tried Park Side but was not impressed... it could have been that their beans were a bit old by the time we had a chance to sample them. We were only able to run taste tests on brewed coffees as we do not own nor have access to an espresso machine right now (thus my questions about order of equipment). We did enjoy Dillanos at Atlanta Coffee Fest. It was the best espresso I had at the fest. We also tried Java Estates, they had some good coffees and I know they can supply some of our other needs as well. (nice, light in flavor, peaberry).
I just think it really stinks that we hired a consultant to help with all of these details and now we have to do it on our own. I even have to rework our equipment list, layout, and elevations.

Thank you for the new names I'll check them out and see if they can send samples for us to test. I'm trying to keep notes because it is taking so long.
"I'm as green as a pre-roasted bean". But I'm willing to learn!
Java Estate and Chaos Roasters are very respectable and worthy of a second look.

Please consider the roasters based on their individual merit: cup the coffee blind, or brew/extract anonymous and make your quality decisions without knowing the roasters. Rank the coffees in order of preference. Then purchase the best coffee that you can afford.

Do you have connections with another espresso bar locally, one who would let you pull a few shots to test your coffee? If not, you best option is to french press the coffees and judge on sweetness, acidity, body, and aftertaste.

Seems like Dancing Goats would be a great choice given your proximity to Atlanta. If you want to give me a call I can make an introduction there for you. I have been very impressed with their coffee lately.

- Matt
Thank you Matt. How far out from opening should I make that contact? We haven't broken ground yet but I am plotting everything out on a time line. We are making some decisions about products and suppliers so that when the building is ready so are we. The coffee house about thirty minutes away sells Dancing Goats in one pound retail bags. I'm not sure who they use for the house.
So, no one here has tried or uses Steaming Bean out of Telluride, Colorado?
Not having the ability to do a cupping here I was hoping some one might have already tried it. If anyone is interested you can contact Mick Hill and see if he will send you some samples... I'd love to get some feedback on it. Like I stated before one of the blends we are considering is Velvet Hammer.
Forget what other people think.

What do YOU think?

But don't limit yourself to just one roaster when considering a roaster for your shop.

Hiring a consultant is smart, however, they will not make your decisions for you. They will guide you through the process to ensure you come out with a successful model.

I do think, though, that if they are worth their salt, they should be able to at least give you a list of roasters to consider sampling, as well as to discuss the sampling afterward.
Also I suggest that you consider: Carrboro Coffee Company in North Carolina.
Hi Denise. I grew up in Tullahoma, so it's encouraging to see a quality-minded person planning a shop there. Have you looked at Stone Cup in Chattanooga? Rarecoffee.com, the roasting side of Greyfrier's in Chattanooga does a really good job also.

For me, having a local roaster is important, since it not only reduces your shipping charges, but also the amount of time that your coffee has to sit in the UPS truck in 90 degree heat in July. Being able to stop in and make that personal connection is important too.

Good luck and the next time I'm in town, I'll check out your shop when you're up and running!
I would def suggest someone in close proximity to your new shop. You do not need a 4 day fedex ride for your coffee to get to you. There are some really great choices here in the southeast, but what matters most is what you enjoy and what you can afford. I have to also give my company, Dilworth Coffee a shout out too, because we are right there in the southeast too.
Thanks Jeff,
I found Greyfrier's of Chattanooga on the web before but I didn't understand the two names and who was who.
Is Grayfier's the coffee and tea shop and Rare Coffee the roaster's brand name? I'll check them out again and plan a visit the next time I'm down there. I love to go to Rembrandt's cafe on the hill near the museum. They have a chocolate house and fresh pastries that are amazing! Add art galleries, museums, wonderful restaurants, and a coffee roaster. It's truly an experience!
Now I just have to find Grayfrier's.
Chad, when we are ready can we contact you about receiving a few samples so we can try your roasts?

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