In case you came here today looking for a review of a Jersey City restaurant or a Brooklyn bar, you won’t find it– unless you scroll down, that is. Anyway, my point is that I am on vacation (woo!) in Washington where I grew up.
Everybody knows that Starbucks was born in Seattle, and coffee is a Seattle thing. What a lot of people don’t know is that Washington, and even the whole Pacific Northwest has a strong coffee culture where people really care about small-batch, artisan, local, beans.
Case in point: Rad Roasting Company.
A little bit of backstory on how we found Rad Roasting Co… After waking up at 3 am to make a 6 am coast-to-coast flight and landing at 9 am in a new time zone, we were pretty exhausted. After brunch, my aunt, Alex, and I went hunting for a local coffee roaster to give us a caffeine boost. Google led us to Rad Roasting Company, well, almost. It’s not visible from the street, so we drove past it, realized our mistake and we made a hopefully-legal U-turn. Pulling up outside, we weren’t sure if we were at the right place but we entered anyway. When we entered, we were greeted by Matt Chipps, president and head roaster, along with his father and mother, and Waffles the dog. That’s something I love about the West Coast is people bringing dogs to work!
It’s immediately clear that it’s a family company, one that really cares about coffee and the customers who buy it. Matt, whose face is the logo, told us how this company came to be. He was a barista during college, and then he was the store manager of a café, and when he returned to where he grew up after college, he decided that the community was in need of a local, artisan, coffee roasting company. And, with his family’s help, he made that a reality.
We tried a darker roasted espresso, a medium roast cappuccino, and some medium/lighter roast drip. All of them had interesting flavor profiles, and I think the best was the blend we tried as drip, called El Guapo.
Matt gave us a little coffee advice: drink coffee when it’s freshly roasted. And there’s actually science behind it. After the coffee is roasted, it releases some gasses (that’s why good coffee roasters have one-way air valves in their bag). Most gasses are released within the first 24-48 hours, but they stop releasing gasses and start absorbing from the air around them after about two weeks. Because you want the beans to still be releasing gasses when you brew it, between 2 days and 2 weeks is the prime age of coffee.
Other than that, Matt said there really is no wrong way to drink coffee. Everyone has their own taste buds and preferred flavor profiles, and even if the experts tell you to drink it one way, you should drink it the way you like it– it’s your coffee after all.
If you want to try some Rad beans, hop on over to their website, and give it a look-see! Or, give their location in Kent a visit. There is a wide range of roasts, surely one for every type of coffee drinker.
I will be back with more Pacific Northwest hidden gems soon, as I take a break from the East Coast scene for a couple weeks!