Local Roasters Make Inroads
by Margaret McCormick - Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

How do you take your coffee?

You might have had a cup of coffee from Salt City Coffee Roasters without even knowing it. It’s the house brew at restaurants like bc, near Armory Square, and Circa, in Cazenovia.

It’s gaining followers in Syracuse and Central New York, thanks to its presence on the shelves at the Side Hill Farmers Meats and Market store in Manlius, at events like the recent envIRONmental Chef fundraiser to benefit Baltimore Woods – and positive, um, caffeinated “buzz’’ and word of mouth.

Unlike larger local roasters, like Recess Coffee House and Roastery, Café Kubal and Freedom of Espresso, Salt City Coffee Roasters has no “brick and mortar’’ storefront. What it does have is an online presence, a delivery service in Syracuse (Thursdays only and Syracuse only; see website for details) and an owner with drive and entrepreneurial spirit who hopes to have dedicated roasting and retail space in the near future.

Salt City Coffee Roasters is owned by Aaron Metthe, 29, whose business grew out of his interest in coffees of the world, love of a good cup of coffee and “a little formal training and a lot of self-learning.” He offers three or four fairly traded, earth-friendly coffees at a time, which change depending on availability. Beans are roasted each week, according to customer needs, and turn over every week or two weeks.

“The stock stays fresh, because it’s not in a stock room,’’ Metthe says.

The small batch, fresh-roast approach translates to a superior cup of coffee, he adds.

“I would say if someone has never been to local, independent coffee house, they have never tasted coffee this fresh,’’ Metthe says.

Metthe says Salt City Coffee Roasters has enjoyed a “spike in sales’’ since Side Hill Farmers added his coffee to its retail space in the summer. Events like envIRONmental Chef also give him an opportunity to network and grow his customer base.

“Having Side Hill as an outlet is a huge step for me, since I don’t have a brick and mortar,’’ Metthe says.

Until he does, visit the Salt City Coffee Roasters website or call 315-569-4633 for purchase and delivery information.

Another small-scale, local coffee roaster that is “always open’’ is Simple Roast Coffee Co., based in Lakeland. It also lacks a brick-and-mortar location, but you can shop online and order online for local delivery.

You also can enjoy a cup of Simple Roast Coffee and purchase beans at Half Moon Bakery and Café, Jamesville; at the Cazenovia Farmers Market (in season); and at “pop-up” events, like the recent FarmshedCNY organic apple celebration at Adams Acres, Jamesville.

Simple Roast Coffee Co. is owned and operated by Matt Peirson. He received a coffee roaster as a birthday gift last year and fell in love with the roasting process. That planted the seed for his business. Peirson, 26, a graduate of the State University College at Oswego who works as a disability analyst for Hartford Disability and says he plans to open a café and coffeehouse in Central New York. When he does so, he says, one of his biggest expenses will be coffee, so he decided to take on the acquisition and roasting of beans himself.

Peirson says he typically has four coffee offerings: a light roast, medium roast, dark roast and decaf. To learn more, visit the website or call 558-4417.

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor in Syracuse. She blogs about food at eatfirst.typepad.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mmccormickcny