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Apr 24, 2010 09:30 AM

Rao's Coffee Roaster Co. Ethiopian Yrgacheffe

I used to buy this at Whole Foods Alewife and it was my favorite, but they don't seem to sell it anymore. I've looked at Sofra and a couple other places that carried Rao's, but can't find it!

Anyone know a place? It's fantastic and a pretty good value at 11 dollars (at WF).

1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

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  1. Rao's (which is based in Amherst and Hadley, MA, by the way) sells their coffee, including the Ethiopian Yrgacheffe) online at That coffee is $13 online, plus shipping, so it isn't cheap, but it IS available, so it's a start anyway!

    10 Replies
    1. re: phipsi102

      Thanks, I've seen the link, I've actually emailed them and stuff to see if I can find it elsewhere around Boston, but they never got back to me! :(

      1. re: tatsu

        Not surprising. At a visit at the cafe in Amherst, they exuded such attitude as to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I haven't had a cup since.

        1. re: trufflehound

          Srsly? *Euro whistles*

          Well then a good substitute that's not Howell"s, and not Allegro?

          1. re: tatsu


            A little pricey with shipping from Brattleboro, but a totally different league than Allegro - and no attitude ever - amazing beans and roasts.

            1. re: tatsu

              Have you tried Barismo, in Arlington? It's a small local operation very concerned with quality. They often have coffee (whole bean) roasted a few days ago on special pricing, too.

              169 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

              1. re: Guido

                Absolutely - I SO want to like them and see them successful BUT in spite of GREAT coffee beans and coffee brewing expertise, their horrible attitude toward customers EVERY time I've been there (they really don't seem to care that you are there, much less appreciate your interest or questions) coupled with quite high prices and limited range of origins keeps me from frequenting the place.

            2. re: trufflehound

              awwww Im sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience at Rao's. I went to school out there and it has been my favorite coffee place since. Ive never experienced a bad attitude there- slow service yes- but always friendly. Maybe a second chance?

              1. re: fmcoxe6188

                These guys have a 5 pound minimum, but the coffee and the prices are amazing if you can split an order with friends...


                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Hmm, I prefer to buy bi-weekly at most but maybe I can split with a friend.
                  I love the description at mocha joes, even if it recalls Lauren Bacall, ha ha

                  "Finally back in stock, our Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is the true coffee-lover's coffee. Lemon-zest and brown sugar characterize this exquisite offering from the Konga cooperative. With the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness, this is currently a staff favorite."

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Oh man, StriperGuy, for a minute I thought there was another native St Louisan up in here, but that's a different Kaldi's.

                    THIS Kaldi's is also excellent. 12oz bag is $8.95; Shipping is $5.95 (free if your order is $50 or more):

          2. Mr. Crepe in Davis Square serves Rao's, and also has a limited selection of beans.

            1. Russo's sells Rao's coffee. Not sure if they have the specific one that you're looking for though.

              12 Replies
              1. re: rebs

                I remembered to check when I was there yesterday. They don't have Ethiopian. The bags are 12 oz. for $10 and change.

                1. re: bear

                  Argh this is driving me crazy. I saw some George Howell Sidamo at Whole Foods but it was like 15 bucks and I have mixed feelings about him. Maybe Jamie at Barismo can help me out.

                  Thanks for checking though!! Very kind!!

                  169 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                  1. re: tatsu

                    Why mixed feelings about George Howell?

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      He's just really aggressive in his marketing/selling and I've heard other roasters complain about it. Plus kind of expensive. He's the granddaddy around here, but the kids want a piece of the pie too.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        I got his Sidamo last week, it was on sale for 12 bucks (I think it's like 15 bucks normally.)

                        It wasn't as good. In fact the store roasted one from Allegro is better. Oh well.

                    2. re: bear

                      I posted above, but these guys have superb coffees (5 pound min) mostly in the neighborhood of $5-6 a pound...


                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Thank you, I'm considering it, but don't know how I can store 5 lbs! If I can split it with a friend, it would be perfs!

                        1. re: tatsu

                          Yah, definitely need to split it with someone. I have my own burr grinder and grind my own, but even then, you don't want to keep it more then a month or two...

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            A good alternative is to invest in a coffee roaster and buy raw beans, which don't really age until they're roasted. A decent roaster like the one we use costs around $300 which may sound expensive, but it lasts for years so the cost per cup is actually much, much lower than buying roasted coffee if you average it out. Oh, and the labor to roast is minimal, only about an hour every couple of weeks to make 2-3 half-pound batches.

                            We spend about $120-150 once a year on various raw coffees we like best including the Ethiopian Yirga Cheffe, and drink an average of 4-5 cups total per day between me and the wife. That would be 1400-1800 cups of coffee a year, so the cost per cup is only about 10 cents or less if my fuzzy math is correct.

                            How can you beat that? Brb I need another cup...

                            1. re: Ora Moose

                              I do sometimes roast my own, and there is NO need for a fancy roaster. You can do an excellent job in a cast iron pan.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                True, roasting in a pan works just as well, but is more labor intensive since you have to watch and turn the beans so they dont burn. Whatever works for you depending on your finances, equipment space availability etc.

                                I was just pointing out that roasting your own is an alternative that gives you lots more control over the darkness of roast, or blends you can make for yourself - a little experimenting goes a long way. I know what I like.... and I know how to get it.

                                1. re: Ora Moose

                                  I'm another Sweet Maria's customer, and very pleased to be roasting my own. Yes, I know I am saving money, but the real benefit is having coffee that is fresh and just the way I like it. Sweet Maria's has a much wider range of beans than you would find in any shop, plus the available varieties change from week to week. Experimenting by choosing beans from different cultivars and different regions and processed in a variety of ways has taught me about coffee and what I like.

                                  Apropos equipment, yes as Striperguy says you can roast in a pan, but I agree with Ora Moose. You get a lot better repeatability when using a roaster that provides agitation and a steady (or perhaps even settable) temperature setting.

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. I love Rao's coffee and buy it at Russo"s in watertown . You can get it at sherman cafe somerville too. if they don't have yirgacheffe just ask and they will get it for you. I asked for a costa rica coffee raos do and they got some in for me. good luck..