We believe in producing the best coffee and equally believe in creating a business that educates and empowers. Michael and Cherita Rice started Mad Priest Coffee Roasters in 2015 as a social enterprise + small-batch specialty coffee roasting company with the mission to “Craft excellent coffee. Educate the curious. Champion the displaced.” From the beginning, the focus has been to to run a sustainable, for-profit business with a triple bottom line that included social and environmental goals alongside the economic one. We started out to hire refugees resettled in Chattanooga, and the vision has since expanded to work alongside non-profits and individuals on larger issues of social justice, community, equity, and inclusion.
But first and foremost, we are committed to providing the best quality product for our customers, and giving an in-depth education on the coffee process. (And in case you haven't been following us on social media, we like to have a little fun while we're doing it!) We roast our unique coffees from South America, Africa, and Asia to bring out the best characteristics of each bean. Our roastery team is constantly involved in Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) conventions, classes and competitions, was named “Runner-Up in TN” in Food & Wine's “Best Coffee in Every State”, and one of our coffees earned two Golden Bean medals last year. A new species of coffee has just been discovered in Yemen, and we just purchased a lot in the Qima Coffee/Cup of Excellence Auction...putting us as one of only a few roasters in America to secure this new coffee! Pre-order for this amazing coffee, called Yemenia, starting November 1st!
CRAFT EXCELLENT COFFEE
Mad Priest Coffee is a roastery dedicated to creating an excellent product. Our combined 10+ years of coffee roasting experience, Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) roasting and buying certifications, and multiple coffee awards speak for themselves. And we are constantly honing our craft through SCA conventions, classes, and competitions in the national coffee industry. We source the highest quality coffee beans through the best specialty importers (Caravela, Keffa, Olam), from some of the most responsible farms around the world. And then we roast each coffee specifically to what brings out the best flavor characteristics of that bean. Every part of the process from the farm to the roaster is crucial to an excellent cup of coffee. And good coffee begins with the development of the farmers paid a fair wage and empowered to learn sustainable farming techniques. We want to involve you, the consumer, in every part of that.
(That's why we just bought the newly discovered coffee species, Yemenia, for you to try!)
EDUCATE THE CURIOUS
We think it’s crucial that you know where your coffee comes from, how it’s roasted, and what you need to brew the best cup possible. Maxwell House and Starbucks are still considered “good coffee” to the average American consumer, but thanks to the growing specialty coffee industry, that is slowly changing. The best quality coffee should be accessible and desirable to all, from soccer moms to business professionals to hipsters to grandparents. So if you come to the public cuppings at our roastery*, all questions are welcome! And we host "Coffee Catechism" classes regularly on all aspects of good coffee. We're serious about educating our customers on the art and science of coffee, but we also strive to shed light on the humanitarian crises around the world, and in our own country. Interestingly enough, many of the coffee growing regions of the world are also places of past or present conflict and displacement.
*Currently on hold due to COVID
CHAMPION THE DISPLACED
One way that we champion the displaced is by partnering with Bridge Refugee Services to work with refugees resettled here in Chattanooga. We’ve hired five since the beginning of Mad Priest, and developed training in English, customer service, and other hard and soft skills. But displacement doesn't just happen in other countries, it's in our own city. That's why we work alongside our non-profit & community partners on larger issues of social justice, equity, and inclusion, and we are very specific about our hiring & promotion process to be as inclusive and equitable as possible. We also cultivate culture and celebrate diversity in Chattanooga on a broader scale through events and pop-ups* with other local entrepreneurs. Soon after opening our roastery, we started hosting immersive cultural events that enable folks to experience the world and its beautiful tapestry of food, culture, and tradition right in their own backyard. Stay tuned for some fun things coming in 2021!