hat does it take to be one of the best coffee roasters in America? To some critics, it’s innovation — the willingness to throw “rules” by the wayside and the skill to revolutionize new roasting practices, all in the name of better coffee. For others, it’s taste, perhaps best exemplified in a roaster’s selectiveness when hunting for the finest green coffees in the world. And sometimes, a roaster’s greatness is born by bringing troubling social issues to the forefront, putting life and well-being on the line to solve them.
For the 10 coffee roasters on this list, it’s, more often than not, a mélange of all of these things. From Maine to California, these roasters — chosen by a panel of coffee experts — offer the best coffee America has to offer.
How We Chose
To get our 10, we enlisted the help of five qualified coffee experts. We surveyed each person for a selection of their favorite American roasters, added up each expert’s selections, and were left with the 10 most-selected roasters.
Marcus Boni: Head of Coffee at Trade, a new coffee bean buying website. Before joining Trade, Marcus worked at Intelligentsia Coffee, Bonavita, Kaldi’s Coffee and the Specialty Coffee Association.
Phil McKnight: Before becoming Global Business Manager at Breville, McKnight owned and operated a specialty coffee and espresso bar in Melbourne, Australia. Now he heads up the engineering teams tasked with making some of the best home coffee makers in existence.
Alex Choppin: Now a Coffee Specialist at Baratza, Choppin has more than a decade of specialty coffee under his belt — he’s worked as a barista, barista trainer, machine technician and shop manager. He has also competed in the US Barista Championships, for which he’s now a qualified judge.
Kevin Sinnot: The creator, host and president of one of the biggest events in coffee, Sinnot’s own Coffee-Con brings in herds of powerhouse roasters to each of its quarterly expos. He’s also the author of The Art and Craft of Coffee, a well-sourced and well-curated 176-page handbook to everything from harvest to brew.
David Inman: As a senior coffee specialist at Espresso Supply and a former specialty coffee trainer, Inman’s coffee background lies in the mechanics behind making the best cups of coffee. Espresso Supply has provided the best coffee gear to baristas, shop owners and the coffee-enthused home brewer since 1993.