Who is the Mad Priest?

In the incredible novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Edmond Dantès was ready to give up and die in prison. Just then, the "Mad Priest" came on the scene and gave him a reason to hope again, along with the practical skills he needed to win at life. So the Mad Priest is a fictional character that embodies the fight for justice, freedom, and opportunity. And as a company, we are striving to do just that. But instead of wrongly-accused fictional Frenchmen, we champion real-life people displaced by war, disaster, and tragedy. We are righteously indignant about the horrors of the current unprecedented global refugee crisis, and want to do our part to make a difference.

Where is Mad Priest Coffee available?

Our coffee is available from our website, at our roastery/cafe (1900 Broad Street) and at The Mad Priest, our amazing coffee and cocktail bar downtown (719 Cherry Street)! Other places you can find it are cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores in Chattanooga and beyond, like The Edwin Hotel, Syrup and Eggs, Bluegrass Grill, Clumpies, and Earthfare. We started as a wholesale coffee roaster and that remains the heart of our business, so our relationships with our partner cafes, restaurants, businesses, and churches are our first priority! For more info on becoming a wholesale partner, check out our wholesale page or email  info@madpriestcoffee.com.

When do you roast and ship online orders?

Our production roast days are Tuesdays and Thursday. All orders received by Tuesday will be roasted Tuesday and shipped Wednesday, and all orders received by Thursday will be roasted Thursday and shipped Friday. All web orders are shipped via USPS. While you’re shopping on our website, keep in mind that all orders over $50 ship for free, and all our subscription plans are 10% off the retail price!

What does it mean to be a refugee, and how is a refugee different than an immigrant?

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Refugees literally do not have a choice whether they leave their homes or not. Many times they have minutes to grab a few belongings and flee for their lives, often having to leave family members behind.

By the end of 2016, there were 65.6 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, an unprecedented record high. And more than half of all refugees worldwide currently come from just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. To learn more about the global refugee crisis, go to the UNHCR website and facebook.  

An immigrant, on the other hand, refers to anyone who chooses to leave their home country to move to a new place to seek a better life. Many have been concerned about the US resettlement program, but refugees are the most carefully vetted immigrants to enter into the US. To learn more about the extremely in-depth, grueling process (normally it takes a few years) that refugees have to go through to get to the US, check out the International Rescue Committee (IRC) website

Why do you care so much about refugees and immigrants?

We believe in saying “welcome” in every language, to anyone that comes to the US as a refugee or immigrant. Welcoming is not just a lifesaving humanitarian gesture for refugees at a time when more people worldwide are uprooted by war and crisis than ever before. Refugees and immigrants also greatly enrich our economy and continue to make America great, as they have for hundreds of years since the first immigrants came across the ocean from Europe.

And ya know, coffee is an immigrant here in the United States, after all. How would each of us be able to follow our dreams (or work that 9-5 and pay the bills, let’s be real) if it wasn’t for the beautiful elixir that Kaldi, the goat herder, discovered in Ethiopia centuries ago? Coffee was born in Western Ethiopia, made a treacherous journey through the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, and finally reached American shores. And we are forever grateful that it ended up here, in this great country.

To learn more about our story and why we do what we do, check out this press on Mad Priest:


Cityscope Magazine / Fall 2016 / Common Ground 

Chatter Magazine / November 2016 / How New Local Roaster Is Hoping to Offer Opportunity and Education in a Cup

Times Free Press / March 2017 / How One Local Coffee Shop Is Incorporating Education in Each Cup

Nooga.com / April 2017 / Mad Priest Events Aims to Bring the World to Chattanooga 

Daily Coffee News / April 2017 / Mad Priest Empowering Refugees While Building Quality in Chattanooga

Fresh Cup Magazine / July 2017 / For Profits for Refugees

Food & Wine / March 2018 / The Best Coffee in Every State (Such an honor!)

Times Free Press / November 2018 / Mad Priest Opens New Coffee & Cocktail Bar

Chattanooga Pulse / November 2018 / Meet the Mad Priest of Coffee


 Channel 9 / January 2017 / Mad Priest Makes Coffee and Connects Refugees

The Company Lab / July 2017 / Getting Started: Michael Rice with Mad Priest Coffee

WTCI & Greater Chattanooga / July 2017 / One Family: A Chattanooga Refugee Story (Super cool feature!)