New England Roasters

beans

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May 28, 2004
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I am searching for some local roasters in the New England/Eastern Massachusetts area and am wondering if anyone out there has some experience with some of the local roasters. There are not a lot in this area compared to other areas in the country, so the selection process should be quick.

Thanks
 
Depends on the quality of coffee you want and who your customers are. There is a lot to avoid.

Equal Exchange is a marketer, not a roaster, but they make some decent coffee, all Fair Trade. I like the names of some of their coffees. If your core market isn't pierced, tatooed, hemp-wearing activists, maybe take a pass. They've been going mainstream religious to sell coffee, partnering with catholic charities, lutherans and Methodists, I think. Well, if there are methodists, there is madness to their methodists.

New England Coffee toll roasts for Dunkin and uses rejects and floor sweepings for their own hot brown swill. Cinnamon Sticky Bun Coffee. Yum. Not. I tried their Blueberry and had to spit it out and then shave my tongue. Their French Roast tastes like the Paris Metro smells. That said, they do give a way a ton of signs, racks & airports to new customers. Looks great, but the coffee doesn't deliver.

Paul DeLima. New England Coffee looks at them as a bottom feeder. Run away, run away. Don't look back.

Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans is a bleeding heart with delusional aspirations of being Ben & Jerry. (B&J attacked the Pillbury Doughboy in their famous Rolling Stone ad). Big difference between taking a swipe at an animated corporate carbohydrate and Paul Newman. Too bad Dean's coffee doesn't taste better (82 of CoffeeReview.com) otherwise I might take him seriously as a roaster.

Downeast in Maine is middle of the pack. Some brand awareness, decent merchandising options.

Autocrat in Rhode Island does a lot of private label - not a brand that would mean anything to most customers. Port City is one of the daughters of family that owns Autocrat - sold in supermarkets, but no cup program as far as I can tell.

Omar - I haven't seen them around for a while. probably also a brand with no pull.

Cool Beans is not dead, but doesn't seem really alive.

Katahdin was sold by Chris Whatshisname. Sort of a Pillsbury Doughboy himself. I remember their packaging in supermarket had stains on the outside of the bag. Good sign of oxygen contamination. The new owners might have upgraded their packaging.

Vermont Artisan Coffee. They are fabulous. Small. Very high end. Not a lot of POP, but the coffee is absolutely top shelf.

Another super high end roaster is Terrior Coffee Company. George Howell was the founder of Coffee Connection that later sold out to S'ucks as their market entry into Boston. He's back in the coffee business and will set your coffee compass pointed true north. That said, he is so exclusive nobody will have heard of him except investment bankers and competitors on American Iron Chef.
 

Hooligan

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Mar 30, 2005
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Maynard, MA
There are two small roasters in Massachusetts which I know of Red Barn and Armeno's. Both are roaster/retail coffee shops. I can't vouch for their quality or anything as I only recently found out about them. I am planning to visit both in the near future, so I will get back to you.
 
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beans

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Thanks for the replies

Thanks a lot for the info. It has been very helpful.

Hooligan, I also plan on visiting Red Barn Roasters. Let me know what you think of them


Thanks again
 

Jmastrangelo

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May 6, 2005
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Westford, MA
I cannot speak for the other New England roasters, but I happen to like the coffee I roast at the soon to be open Belle's Bistro in Westford, MA.

I have bought green beans from Dean's, though I have never tried his coffee.
 
An important point is what do you want your roaster to do for you? Do you want, at one end of the spectrum, a vendor-customer relationship where all they do is sell things to you that you customers never have any visibility of where you got them or do you want a roaster with a well known brand who will help with product selection for your business, merchandising, coffee area layout, marketing support, loaner equipment, equipment service, etc. etc.

Of all the specialty companies listed so far, Green Mountain is the best known in New England. That is a doubled edged sword. They are well known because there are many places you can get their coffee. In that respect, the coffee in itself will not differentiate your business - but it will give the recognition that brings people in the door. The differentiation is something you own - which you'd own anyway unless you were franchising.

To my mind, leveraging one or two well known and respected brands seems a little easier than having a coffee nobody has heard of. In that case, you would have to promote your store and the coffee, too. That may be part of your vision. If you have that much energy (and seed money) more power to you.
 
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beans

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Thanks

Thank you everyone for the replies. It has been a great help.
 

jasonk

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Jun 1, 2005
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New England Coffee Company

I don't know who Javahill is, but he obviously has an axe to grind.

New England Coffee uses only top quality Arabica Beans. They offer the best quality, price, and service in the industry by far! No one else can compete.

I would challenge anyone to a blind taste-test with total confidence in their product.
 
Go get 'em Ken!

Challenge Jason and New England Coffeee to show up for a show down at SCAA in Charlotte next year. That would be worth the price of admission.

And have the 3rd party source the coffee anonymously from the web sites or grocery stores. Yeah. What a hoot.

My money is on you, man.
 
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