The germination of Rock City Coffee began in1992, in the form of Second Read Books & Coffee (now Rock City Books & Coffee), a small used bookstore/coffeehouse in a tiny Maine coastal community. Owners Susanne Ward and Patrick Reilley had migrated from the fast lane in California and were looking to create a focal point for the local creative community. Although the old-timers shook their heads and gave Second Read six months at most, the store quickly found a loyal following, and within three years, Second Read moved from a 1000 square foot store front to one three times that size. In the meantime, Ward and Reilley were increasingly frustrated by their inability to find locally roasted coffee that met their standards for coffee excellence. In 1999, they were able to open their own small batch roasterie, Rock City Coffee Roasters. providing the highest quality beans, with an emphasis on sustainable farming and organic coffees. Although Rock City’s primary purpose was to provide coffee for Second Read, retail and wholesale customers began seeking out the roasterie, fascinated by the roasting process, looking for special blends or hoping to find great coffee for their restaurant, bed & breakfast or commercial schooner.
In 2002, Rock City Coffee Roasters proudly won the prestigious TOPS Award for Excellence from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The designation is awarded annually to a handful of specialty coffee businesses for their commitment to building a successful coffee business by maintaining quality on all levels and also to building community through education and service.
Our Mission and Philosophy
As members of a small business community, one of our goals is to help develop and enhance the quality of life in our region through our support of education, the arts, the environment and our employees. For our customers, we also strive to provide quality products and comfortable meeting places that foster conversation, creativity and learning. We want our customers and our employees to feel important and valuable in a less-than-perfect world where people are increasingly disenfranchised and isolated from their communities.
As members of the larger world community, we strive to recognize our obligations to those with whom we share this planet by conscious environmental practices, charitable giving and educational programs. We are members of Coffee Kids and The Specialty Coffee Association, and we’re sponsors of WERU and WRFR, local community radio stations. In the last year we have raised thousands of dollars to help the victims of worldwide disasters, including the tsumani in Sumatra and Hurricane Katrina in Lousiana. We contribute regularly to our local soup kitchen, libraries and schools, as well as to fund raising events for local not-for-profits.