Food trends come and go and it is no less true of coffee. From the 19th century “Folger’s coffee on every table” to the Starbuck’s cup-to-go, the long tail of coffee bean evolution looks like roasting with respect. The revered bean is getting a makeover at independent cafes across the country and Southern Oregon’s coffee entrepreneurs are riding that wave, too. Read on to learn more about the best coffee roasters in Southern Oregon.
“We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out, rather than incinerating, the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure.” Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly
Slaves to the bean tend to get creative when crafting a beverage. The cartoons and jokes glorifying highly-hyphenated hot latte drink-descriptions don’t exaggerate! What’s out there besides the blended drinks made from scary processed powders? Coffee lovers want to know: Where’s the best spot to capture true country of origin flavor?
Luckily the Rogue Valley has more than its share of high quality cafes and retail locations, and these serve locally- or Oregon-roasted beans, sourced from sustainable, fair trade small farms. Southern Oregon coffee roasters have you covered.
After eight years serving up small batch coffee at the Rogue Valley Growers Market and getting his coffee into homes around the area through Rogue Valley grocery stores, Ashland-based Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters now boasts a cafe of its own. Owner/roaster David French focuses exclusively on organic coffee, roasting over 14 different single origin coffees from around the world. Buying estate or small-farm crop is always his preference.
David’s early interest in cold brew coffee back in 2013 positioned Griffin Creek as one of the first roasters in the Pacific Northwest to retail cold brew at the Ashland Co-Op. They now offer a regular and decaf Cold Brew Concentrate, and a ready-to-drink version. Their iconic amber bottles are easily identified on the shelves.
Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters is co-located with Manna Bakery at 14 Calle Guanajuato, just steps from Lithia Park in downtown Ashland.
Open Daily 7:00am – 4:00pm
Ashland-based Noble Coffee Roasting, owned by Jared and Carolyn Rennie, has established a loyal following of local fans who trek daily to this spacious cafe on 4th Street in the vibrant gallery-rich Railroad District. The converted dance space has a “big-city warehouse vibe with a neighborhood feel managed by the friendly staff. Located at the quiet north end of 4th Street, it’s also the perfect spot to grab a coffee and a table outside on a sunny day. Their organic handcrafted coffee is roasted on-site by dedicated coffee-nerds. Try the cold brew coffee or the ice drip; both are made with single origin coffees that change frequently which, of course, requires repeat visits.
Open Weekdays 7am-6pm and Sat 8am-4pm
In the early years of roasting beans from several countries, Case Coffee Roasters narrowed its favorite selections to Guatemala, Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia. This friendly and sleek coffee shop, located across “the Boulevard” from Southern Oregon University, provides the familiar list of leaded and unleaded liquid energy. They also use an ice-drip system to make their fresh cold brew every day. There’s a lot that says “craft” about Case Coffee besides the pour, such as locally hand-crafted furniture, sweet pastries baked in-house and house-made syrups and sauces.
In 2020, Case was the sole craft producer from Southern Oregon that earned a coveted Good Food Award. Their Ethiopia Dimtu shared the spotlight with three other Oregon-based roasting companies. Winning coffee roasters meet a long list of standards including, among others, prioritizes waste management through water conservation, composting and recycling; fair trade practice; traceable to sustainable farm or cooperative; and regularly checks roasting air quality.
If you’re looking for a solid cup of handcrafted roasted coffee in downtown Ashland, check out their newest outpost at 44 Lithia Way.
Open weekdays 7:30am-4:00pm; Saturday 8:30am-4:00pm; Sunday 8:30am-2:00pm
Medford’s only third wave coffeehouse opened in 2013 to a crowd that was hungry for “good coffee”. Owner Clint Orchuk is a self-ascribed coffee head and equipment geek who roasts 100% of the small-farm beans on site. With the exposed brick wall and hip, urban feel, Limestone Coffee is home to highly knowledgeable baristas who deliver cups of true bean flavor unique to their origin…freshly ground and pour-over to order.
No matter which Southern Oregon coffee roaster you choose, you’ll be doing right by the environment, small family farms across the globe, and the local economy.