Looking for local coffee bean roasters, fair trade, organic, and a variety of product.
It depends on how far afield you consider "Local," but I'd definitely suggest Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Santa Clara. They've got a lot of organic and fair trade varieties, but just as importantly, they really love coffee. Their roasts are always fresh (and always have the roast date), and going in the shop is a constant adventure if you're a coffee fanatic -- the beans are usually specific not just to a region or country but an estate, many are very limited in quantity, and they have detailed descriptions about most of the estate coffees (and the estates themselves). To date I haven't found a better coffee roaster in the Bay Area; I'd rank them up with Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which is about my other most serious favorite. (You can get Stumptown's beans in San Francisco at Ritual Coffee Roasters, but I don't know what variety level they have available.)
Ritual Coffee Roasters
1026 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Barefoot Coffee Roasters
5237 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051
Two other places worth mentioning:
Blue Bottle Coffee, where James Freeman roasts organic coffees in small batches and sells them no more than two days after roast. Bluebottle is available at the Berkeley, Temiscal, and Ferry Plaza farmers markets and at their kiosk on Linden Alley near Davies Hall.
Up in Santa Rosa, Andrew Barnett is sourcing and roasting some of the best coffees in the world at Ecco Caffe. He doesn't have a retail outlet, but you can buy online.
Re Ritual, I may be wrong, but they're roasting their own these days, and I'm not sure they're still selling Stumptown beans. Still, definitely worth checking out, as is Stumptown.
Re Fair Trade coffee, it is certainly worth supporting, but if it's quality you're looking for, you're generally better off going with roasters who develop relationships with particular growers and pay them a premium for producing high-quality beans. The New York Times food section had a great article on "relationship coffee" last Wednesday,
I second the rec. of Ecco Caffe beans. Amazing stuff. I know of three places you can purchase it (in Santa Rosa) besides online: Traverso's Deli, Centro Espresso coffee cart inside Sawyers News on 4th Street (you can place an order for a pound or more and Ecco delivers twice a week, I believe), and I think Ecco still has a booth at the Saturday morning farmer's market at the Vet's Building (where you can taste various varieties, yum.)
Thanksgiving Coffee Company ( http://www.thanksgivingcoffee.com/ ) and Taylor Maid Farms ( http://www.taylormaidfarms.com/coffee... ) are two other local roasters who sell fair trade/organic/shade grown varieties. Before I found Ecco, I was a big fan of Taylor Maid's Goat Rock Roast and the Red Rooster's French Roast.
We've been dealing with Henry's House of Coffee on Noriega St. in SF for over 30 years. Henry Kalebjian roasts his excellent beans (he has relationships with a number of coffee growers in various parts of the world) in 20 lb. batches in a beautiful custom-made (in Reno) coffee roaster. He really knows his stuff -- he's a 4th generation coffee roaster and vendor.
It depends upon what you mean by "local," but you may also want to consider . . .
Flying Goat Coffee
419 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Co
101 W Main St, Los Gatos, CA 95030
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting
1330 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Palo Alto Coffee Roasting Company
159 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304
Graffeo Coffee Roasting Co
735 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Sorry for straying at bit off topic but is Palo Alto Roasting Company still around? I though that they've been closed for a few years...it was one of my favorite coffee places and I would drive from SF to Stanford to get a cup. Have they relocated to somewhere else in the mall? They used to be located across from Tiffany & Co.
I love Graffeo. It remains my favorite coffee, but the only thing they qualify for is 'local'. They don't have a variety only dark, light and decaf. They are not organic or free trade.
A new roaster is Catahoula Coffee Company
Besides roasting some fine coffee, you can get an idea of the laid back sense of humor of this place by the new 'Click N' Sniff Web Scent Technology"
As they write ...
"Triple click on the beans below to smell the rich aroma of Catahoula's fresh ground coffee using our new WebScent technolgy"
Of course, unless you have been to Catahoula you will probably need to click on the "techinical difficulties" link ... and should
The only thing they forgot was suggesting it was a browser problem or that cookies need to be cleared ... or eaten.
Catahoula Coffee Co
12472 San Pablo Ave, Richmond, CA 94805
Equator Estate Coffees
based in San Rafael.
You can taste some of their beans at Mokka coffee in Berkeley. I've only tried two of their varieties but did a comparison of Panama Geisha Esmeralda beans roasted by Peets and roasted by Equator and I thought Equator's roast was amazing in bringing out the aromas and varietal characteristics. The Peets roast was sweeter with more roasted character. I had no trouble believing that the Panama Esmeralda beans sold green were the highest ever at auction after tasting the Equator roast, but I wouldn't have paid top dollar for the Peet's version.
zin1953 mentioned closing of the esteemed Palo Alto Coffee Roasting Company (journalistic coverage described it being more or less driven out by the Stanford shopping center's recent corporate owners, preferring firms with more name recognition -- Starbuck's was cited). But the same owner operates Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company, mentioned already (her family also grows coffee: Hope Farms).
A former assistant of hers also operates Dana Street Roasting Company in downtown Mountain View, which has its own direct sources and also sells some from Hope Farms.
744 W. Dana Street, Mountain View, CA 94041
Pacific Bay Coffee Co. & Micro-Roastery in Walnut Creek and Berkekley. Organic, fair trade and always fairly traded beans. Espresso Obsesso blend and lots of single origins.
I heard about this on the Gene Burns show Saturday:
It appears to be new so might be worth checking out. They are the owners of Spruce and supply the coffee to all of thier restaurants. I don't know if they are fair trade or organic.
I do know that the coffee at Spruce is wonderful
I checked out the new Four Barrel coffee house and roaster at Valencia and 15th in the Mission, and while I like the space, the pound of coffee I bought, a Honuduras El Puente, was surprisingly weak. I asked if they had a dark roast and the counter guy said no, but if I wanted a stronger cup to just use more coffee. Not really helpful given that there were a half dozen different types of coffee beans all medium roast.
You do know that 4 barrel is not roasting yet? They are being supplied by Stumptown in Portland. They are one of the top roasters in the country. How are you brewing your coffee? How much coffee are you using. Are you grinding yourself? Dark Roast doesn't necesarily mean your going to get a stronger cup. There are more variables that maybe you aren't considering.