By Dan Gentile
The history of American coffee's broken down into three distinct waves: Folgers in your cup, Starbucks on your block, and a new crop of artisan roasters building brands based on sustainability, quality, and really, really cute packaging.
So to pick the crema (coffee term, not a typo) of the crop, we pulled together a cast of the nation's most notable coffee writers and shop owners to pick their 11 favorite roasters and tell us why they're so buzzed about them. The illustrious cast includes Bill Walsh (Pure Coffee Blog), Jordan Michelman (Sprudge.com), Brian Jones (Dear Coffee I Love You), Kelly Stewart (Roast Magazine), Chris Cusack (Down House), Sean Henry (Houndstooth), Sarah Allen (Barista Magazine), Joshua McNeilly (Black Black Coffee), and Greg Martin (Urban Bean).
Once the ballots had been cast, we tallied the votes (10 points for #1, 9 for #2...) and ranked the roasters to decide once and for all which brand is The Best Part Of Wakin' Up.
5 (tie, 29 points): PT's CoffeeTopeka, KS
The supreme bean: Elida Estate Natural (Panama)
The scoop: PT's started in 1994 as a small coffee shop whose aspirations snowballed from the simple goal of an amazing cup of coffee into a full-scale roasting operation that's earning them serious accolades from the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
From the judges: "Great coffees at a great price. They're like that $15 bottle of wine that always delivers." - Sean Henry, Houndstooth Coffee (Austin, TX)