The Best Coffee Roaster in Every State
Ask for a list of the best coffee in the country, not very long ago, and you'd have had it within minutes. As recently as a decade ago, there simply wasn't that much competition—not at the top, anyway. Even as late as 2018, the first year Food & Wine took a comprehensive look at American coffee culture, things were a lot more straightforward. Today, that list is mostly useful as a reminder of how much has changed since.
Even just one year—and countless cups of coffee!—later, something quite important had already become clear—the list, which was at the time attempting to capture the best of everything, not only roasting, but also the best shops as well, would have to be divided in two. For one, being great at both sides of the business isn't as common as you might think. For another, there was simply too much to talk about, too many good people being left out of the conversation.
And so, at the tail end of 2019, Food & Wine published the Best Coffee Shops in America, the first half of the next phase of the project; in early 2020, this was to be followed up with a list of the best coffee roasters. That didn't happen, of course—suddenly, even the best and brightest in the industry were struggling to cope with the loss of most of their wholesale accounts, or shop closures, or whatever curveballs the pandemic could throw. Everything else would have to wait.
Two years later, the landscape once again has changed, and rather dramatically; even with all the challenges everyone has been facing, the news is hopeful. Had the list come out in March 2020, one thing's for sure—it wouldn't have been nearly as exciting. Keeping track of the talented people who took the flying leap and started roasting during the pandemic has almost become a full time job; to be honest, it'll take at least another year to try everything. Count on this, in the meantime—any states still lagging behind, probably won't be for very much longer.
Note: Most of the roasters on this list rotate their offerings regularly—our recommendations were available as of March 2022, but may not be in the future.
A love for Haiti and a desire to be a force for good within the country's struggling coffee trade got brothers Nathan and Michael Pocus into the game; these days, they source from all over.
What to try: Haiti Single Origin, 10 oz. $8.99
Thanks to a close relationship with a washing station in Ethiopia's Sidama region formed over time, roaster Jeffery Chon has been able to trade more directly than most.
What to try: Tamiru Tadesse Natural, 4 oz. $26.50
Bay Area transplant Kimhak Em roasts some of the most interesting coffees in the Southwest right now, served from behind a tiny counter inside a bar in Mesa. Absolutely one to watch.
What to try: Wash-Processed Thailand (Chiang Rai), 8 oz. $16
From obscure Mexican anaerobic processed micro-lots to gold standard everyday blends, this early third-waver remains a strong, independent advocate for great coffee and its growers.
What to try: Mexico La Ilusion Coe #4, 10 oz. $75, Southern Weather, 10 oz. $16
The latest, greatest roaster out of coffee-positive Santa Cruz brings to the table an infectious passion for the entire, crop-to-cup business. Top to bottom, a model to follow.
What to try: Costa Rica Finca Edgar Honey, 10 oz. $16
Everyone drinks coffee in Denver, or could do, if they wanted to, there's certainly no shortage—connoisseurs know this highly skilled, socially conscious roaster to be the very best.
What to try: Ecuador Loja Altos de Marfil, 12 oz. $19
This Fairfield County up-and-comer is quickly gaining a national reputation for their delicate approach to the top-notch product they've been sourcing.
What to try: Colombia Pastor Ordonez, 12 oz. $22
Highly experienced, woman-led operation known throughout the business not just for their whimsical branding, but exceptional quality as well.
What to try: Colombia Miller Bustos Anaerobic Natural, 12 oz. $23
Since 2020, Gabe Chavez and Noe Lopez have been shaking things up in a state already brimming with potential, turning out coffees that have people talking all across the country.
What to try: Ethiopia Haru Yirg-Z, 12 oz., $18.50
This exciting recent entrant on Atlanta's rapidly evolving scene has quickly gained a reputation for sourcing some excellent African coffees.
What to try: Congo Wawa Kanzururu, 12 oz. $18
A supportive, nurturing approach toward smallholders in less-appreciated growing regions around the state gives this experienced operation a considerable edge in a crowded field.
What to try: 100% Kona Peaberry, 10 oz. $35
Psych-major-turned-roaster Grant Shealy was a farmers market fixture around Boise for years before making it official; sample the goods at one of the state's finest shops.
What to try: Organic Ethiopia Guji Natural, 12 oz. $22
Already ahead of the majority of the pack, this Chicago standout has emerged from the pandemic with a refreshed approach to sourcing and transparency.
What to try: Ethiopia Worka Chelbessa Washed Anaerobic, 8 oz. $23
After nearly a decade of being the state's most forward-looking roaster, this enthusiastic Indianapolis operation still feels young and vibrant—look for some fine single origins.
What to try: Ethiopia Sidama Bekele Kachara Hamasho Natural, 12 oz. $20
Iowa native Robb Pearson spent years helping to build one of Southern California's top coffee companies; these days, he's buyer/roaster for this notable startup in Ames.
What to try: Nicaragua Finca Idealista, 223g $21.50
Back in 1993, before at least a few of the roasters on this list were born, Jeff Taylor and Fred Polzin were out in Wichita pioneering the notion of direct trade. Every bit as relevant today.
What to try: Ethiopia Mrs. Gemedech Natural, 12 oz. $22
In some cities, 2007 is practically ancient history, but Louisville and coffee go way back, far enough that this 15 year-old roaster still sometimes feels like the new kid on the block. Look to the single-origin offerings.
What to try: Colombia La Primavera Pink Bourbon, 12 oz. $22
Byron Gomez spent years training up at the French Quarter's best espresso bar before braving the roasting game in a highly competitive town; the watch-and-wait approach is paying off.
What to try: Brazil Cerrado Mineiro Antonio Carmo, 12 oz. $19
One of the most successful spinoffs from coffee's big early-aughts moment, this Portland institution was one of the first to bring West Coast cool all the way east—with great success.
What to try: Ethiopia West Arsi Bulga, 12 oz. $20.50
Before many American coffee drinkers started thinking about alternatives to the normal dark roast, this pioneering Annapolis outfit was leaning into the lighter approach.
What to try: Rwanda Humure Natural, 12 oz. $20
Not quite so high profile as the state's previous contributions to the national culture, but no less important, this micro-outfit (operating from a converted gas station in Ipswich) is one of a few American roasters currently competing with the best of Europe and Asia.
What to try: Ethiopia La Predera Gesha, 8 oz. $24
Many of the big names from the '00s are now either shadows of their former selves, or nearly disappeared inside larger corporations; the pride of Grand Rapids remains as independent—and passionate—as ever.
What to try: El Salvador Elefante, 10 oz. $25
More than a decade on, this Minneapolis biggie still feels fresh; owner Dan Anderson's partnership with designer Houston White on a new cafe and roasters was the talk of the Twin Cities coffee community in 2021.
What to try: Snow Emergency (Ethiopia Suke Quto Washed + Natural), 12 oz. $18
There have been so many changes to the regional coffee culture since Paul Bonds started roasting over a decade ago; this remains one of the South's essential micro-roasters.
What to try: Colombia Finca La Virginia, 12 oz. $17.50
A serious coffee town since at least the 1990s, Kansas City is spoiled for choice; this forward-looking roaster (and proprietor of the city's best shops) makes it easy to play favorites.
What to try: Ethiopia Dumerso Spontaneous Fermentation, 12 oz. $24
A hard-working, head-down roaster with a reputation far beyond Billings for sourcing ability and quality—a reminder that it's fine to keep a low profile and let the coffee speak for itself.
What to try: Ethiopia Wush Wush, 12 oz. $33
Grammy-winning record producer Jason Burkum spent years honing his roasting skills; he's the man behind the machine at one of the sharpest operations on the Great Plains.
What to try: Costa Rica Tirra Natural, 12 oz. $22
Would you have guessed that one of the most interesting micro-roasters in the country right now works out of a strip mall—on a customized pink Loring!—in suburban Las Vegas?
What to try: Anything from their regularly scheduled drops (sign up required).
Colombian expat Max Pruna had to move all the way to New England to get excited about coffees from his home country; talk about a man making up for lost time.
What to try: Andres Ramirez Honey Anaerobic, 12 oz. $16
Stylistically diverse but never dull, it's a poorly kept secret that some of Philly's best coffee comes from this slightly scrappy South Jersey roaster, now at it for nearly a decade.
What to try: Vice Jawn Black, $14.99
Whether this Albuquerque upstart was named to describe the evolution of the regional coffee culture or not, the description is apt. Some promising work being done here.
What to try: Ethiopia Guji Buku Natural, 12 oz. $24
There's the premier practitioner of the Nordic style in the United States, and then there's everybody else in New York. (And if you ask some people, the country.) Come here when you're ready to get serious.
What to try: Colombia El Pino Maria Lunid Ascensio, 250g $23.25
Competition circuit kings Kyle Ramage and Lem Butler pivoted to opening their own business, shaking up Southern coffee culture and gaining no small amount of national attention.
What to try: The Future, 12 oz. $19
Backed by years of experience in San Francisco, it wasn't entirely surprising to see the best shop in Fargo move—and rather quickly—into roasting some memorable, lighter-touch coffees.
What to try: Rotating selection, currently available in store only.
From small (and smart) college town coffee shop to the most daring roaster in the state, focused on the the challenging, lighter Nordic style—in just six years. Rest of Ohio, take note.
Why to try: Brazil Serra Negra Natural, 10 oz. $14.95
During the pandemic, Oklahoma City's best coffee shop started roasting under its own name—fortunately, owner Steve Willingham already had years of experience under his belt.
What to try: Ethiopia Bookkisa Natural, 12 oz. $21
Portland may have been the Seattle of the aughts and teens, but now appears nearly as complacent as its predecessor. This oft-awarded operation from the other end of the state is the same age as some of the biggest names from that era, but manages to still feel as exciting as it did a decade ago.
What to try: Kenyan Muiri Estate Peaberry, 12 oz. $23
When shortlisting American roasters at the top of their craft, it wouldn't (or shouldn't) take long to get to this knowledgeable, capable crew, also running two of the Northeast's best cafes.
What to try: Education Lot La Tortuga Galapagos Islands, 10 oz. $36.50
What began as the coolest coffee shop in Providence has grown in less than a decade to become one of New England's best—and most transparent, and most inclusive—roasters.
What to try: Ethiopia Gora Kone Natural, 10 oz. $22
Very few Southern roasters shine brighter than this aptly-named, well-deserving Greenville favorite, which delivers a wide range of offerings to an exacting, progressive standard.
What to try: Pink Lady (Ethiopia, Dur Feres and Dumerso), 12 oz., $19
Before many states on this list had coffee worth talking about, this Sioux Falls favorite was not only traveling to the source, but doing great work with whatever they were shipping home, too.
What to try: DR Congo Mapendo Women, 12 oz. $21
More than a few have come for the title, but for now, this sustainably-minded, highly knowledgeable, well-established Nashville outfit remains the most serious contender in the state.
What to try: Yemen Azrar Haraz, 12 oz. $32
This exuberant but disciplined entrant has lately been turning Houston's fledgling scene on its head, a reminder that the hierarchy of Texas' sprawling coffee culture is not yet a settled matter.
What to try: Embracing Boldness (Ethiopia Guji Natural), $20
A little bit punk rock and and a lot into sustainability, this should be the first stop for any serious coffee drinker in Salt Lake.
What to try: Rwanda Ibisi Mountain, 12 oz. $18
No wallflowers in the lineup here—roaster/owner Ian Bailey demonstrates a talent for sourcing coffees that stand out as some of New England's finest.
What to try: Nahun Fernandez Honduras Honey Parainema, 8 oz. $13
For years, David Blanchard mostly kept his head down and roasted coffee—a strategy that has more than paid off, quality-wise; home of the famous coffee vending machines.
What to try: Colombia Gutierrez Family Gesha, 10 oz. $26.30
In a state brimming with retro charm, this Bellingham standout has been quite happy to bound ahead of the pack, roasting some of the most essential coffees in the Northwest right now.
What to try: Artist Series selections, rotating throughout the year (currently Ethiopia Hamesho Natural) 8 oz. $20
After paying dues on the local farmers market circuit, this youthful operation settled into permanent digs over the pandemic; the days of looking to the 'burbs for DC's best coffee are over.
What to try: Finca Las Perlitas, Colombia, 10 oz. $17
WVU grad Samuel Bonasso ventured all the way to California before deciding to come home to roost (and roast). A highlight of the small but growing scene, centered around Morgantown.
What to try: Ethiopia Sidama Ardi Natural Process, 1 lb. $19
Something of a pilgrimage site from day one, thanks to Jared Linzmeier's industry experience and connections, this small-town gem enjoys a well-deserved reputation far beyond state lines.
What to try: Colombia Los Guacharos Reserve, 12 oz. $21
Professional snowboarder Alex Yoder focuses on farms practicing regenerative agriculture, as part of his goal to make this Jackson outfit as sustainable as a coffee roaster can get.
What to try: Earthrise, 250g $16