We can admit it, Portland and Seattle have head starts on our region when it comes to producing primo coffee. But considering the number of entrepreneurial roasters gaining ground in the mountains, we're catching up with the Pacific Northwest towns' reputations for the finest in fresh-roasted joe. Here's where to get it.
Asheville Coffee Roasters
This super-busy wholesaler/retailer prides itself on the uncompromising freshness of its product. Beans are roasted daily, and more than 23 international blends are available.
85 Weaverville Hwy.; (828) 253-5282;
Bean Werks Coffee & Tea
Despite Bean Werks’ proximity to a full-service café and bakery, the grind shop does a brisk business. Chalk it up to the intoxicating aroma that wafts outside during roasting times, or the fact that Bean Werks limits its production to small batches for the best flavor. The shop also sells upscale accessories such as
French presses and toddy makers.
753 Haywood Rd.; (828) 254-7766;
The Brown Bean Coffee Roasters
The blends available at this roastery are certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The result? Independent, environmentally sound quality control. A make-your-own variety pack option is a hot innovation.
57 W. Main St.; (828) 883-2233;
Bubacz’s Underground Café and Coffee Roastery
If you’ve had a particularly satisfying cup of bean juice at Nantahala Outdoor Center or any number of Jackson County eateries, you were probably sipping on one of John Bubacz’s creations. Here, the certified organic and fair-trade options simply bear the names of their countries of origin. Mexico, a dark roast with an unsweetened cocoa flavor, and the Sumatra are among the favorites. Stay tuned for a new café location across the street.
610 W. Main St., (828) 587-6300; www.sylvaunderground.com
Dynamite Roasting Company
A hopping year-old business, Dynamite takes an impressively holistic approach to the art. “Every one of our coffees is 100-percent organic,” says head roaster Andy Gibbon. “We’ve really found a
niche in the area.”
3198 U.S. 70; (828) 243-4085;
Mountain City Coffee Roasters
Mountain City’s been around since the early ’90s, roasting its own brews long before it was cool.
“We do an East Coast roast, which is on the lighter side,” says founder Randall Sluder. “With light roasting of the beans, the coffee can better retain the flavor of its origin.” Mountain City sells to shops, wholesalers, or direct to customers
via its website.
Panacea Coffee House, Café & Roastery
The unique interior of this repurposed warehouse makes Panacea a hot venue in Waynesville’s
Frog Level arts district. But the house-roasted
java is what has prompted a flurry of five-star online reviews: “These people know coffee,”
raves one satisfied customer.
66 Commerce St.; (828) 452-6200
Tribal Grounds Coffee
The menu of indescribably delicious specialty drinks is subtitled in the native Cherokee language, thanks to co-owner and tribe member Natalie Smith. She only purchases beans from indigenous peoples who control their own cooperatives. Her partner Leon Grodski shares her strong politics and adds a palate trained in Paris. He declares simply: “We don’t settle.”
938 Tsalagi Rd.; (828) 497-0707;