Coffee Roasters

Written by Sarah Provost
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Coffee roasters used to be journeymen, but no more. Now they're more like celebrity chefs, complete with loyal followings and highly descriptive reviews. As coffee becomes elevated from a mundane beverage to an art form, coffee roasters have begun to take on a glamorous aura in the societal mind.

Roasting fame isn't just confined to the top three or four franchises, either. In the wake of the coffee revolution, the number of franchises has exploded. There are also many new independents and microroasters vying for your attention. With several hundred coffee roasters to choose from, how can you narrow the field?

Finding the Best Coffee Roasters for Home or Business

Your first question is whether you're looking for wholesale coffee roasters to supply your business, or retail roasters to keep you happily slurping at home. Once that's clarified, there are several ways to approach your research. Let's say you're looking for a retail roaster to feed your coffee habit.

One approach is to decide exactly which coffee it is you'd like and then search for that specific bean. If you know, for instance, that you want a Sumatra Mandheling French roast, you can bring up a long list of coffee roasters that carry that bean. But what if you want to narrow the list further?

Try one of the many coffee review sites on the Internet. They can tell you which of the coffee roasters that carry Sumatra Mandheling are likely to have the freshest beans and the most skill in roasting them to perfection. But maybe you don't know beans about exotic coffees and couldn't tell a Mandheling from a Monsooned?

You might want to look for coffee roasters that are geographically close to you, on the grounds (no pun intended) that the beans can be delivered more quickly and will therefore be fresher. You might also go back to the review sites and search for a particular quality that you want in your coffee. If you want low acidity, for instance, or coffee decaffeinated by the carbon dioxide method, they will be able to make recommendations.

Socially Conscious Coffee Roasters

It might also be important to you to choose a roaster that deals only in Fair Trade coffee. That means they are part of a federation that has agreed to pay a living wage to the coffee producers and to return a portion of their profits to the growers for technology and education. You might feel strongly about drinking only shade-grown or bird-friendly coffee, which means that the growers have agreed not to cut down the native tree canopy.

Organic coffee is another choice you might want to make. This coffee is certified to have been grown and processed without chemical intervention. Once you've used these criteria to narrow your field, you get to play the delicious game of trying several brands of coffee to find out which one you like the best. Happy sipping!


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