Any roasters on par with Howell and Wendelboe?

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
RyanJE
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#1: Post by RyanJE »

After having been at this for a while now, I have had enough time to evaluate a variety of roasters. I consider these two to be, by far, the best roasters available. I know this is purely my opinion.. That said, they put more time and effort into their supply chain and roasting than probably almost all other roasters. As a result, I think their end product sets a standard for the specialty coffee industry.

I used to buy a lot of Howell. A few years ago though, they started going nuts with their pricing. I remember when 12oz bags of Mamuto AA were regularly $20ish dollars... Due to the craziness of their price increases, I switched to Wendelboe. Until recently, I was on the Wendelboe sub. It was actually quite reasonably priced for something delivered across the world. Unfortunately, they took a major price hike on their shipping and now its a lot more costly.

I am searching for other roasters than put this same level of effort into their business as these two... Does anyone know of any? I think Heart is close but they also went nuts with prices (and shrinkflation sizes). Intelly is so big, they just don't have the same consistency of quality on greens and roasted....

Looking for opinions of other seasoned coffee drinking vets out there!
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

bznelson91
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#2: Post by bznelson91 »

How about Prodigal? I know there's religion both ways about Scott Rao, but I've had three different beans from them, and they're all outstanding.

Brad

Quester
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#3: Post by Quester »

I've had good things from Sweet Bloom over the years. And if you like things on the lighter side, SEY has been solid.

I'm drinking the Costa Rica Las Lajas SL28 Natural from Onyx as pour-over right now. It's my third box. But it's $38 for 10oz. They rotate through quite a few different coffees over the year.

I've been roasting some tasty Prodigal greens, but I plan to try some of their roasts. I've heard almost only good things.

RyanJE (original poster)
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#4: Post by RyanJE (original poster) »

bznelson91 wrote:How about Prodigal? I know there's religion both ways about Scott Rao, but I've had three different beans from them, and they're all outstanding.

Brad

I don't see what level of control or care they put into sourcing? Do you know? Also, 250 and 150g bag pricing is laughable... to me. For perspective, the Wendelboe sub was equivalent to $20/12oz bag delivered. And he sends his best coffees. That's far different than $30-40 for 150g of "premium offerings"....
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

RyanJE (original poster)
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#5: Post by RyanJE (original poster) »

Used Onyx for a while but then they jacked the prices AND did shrinkflation too.. none of the roasters listed quite meet the bar, overall, like the original two mentioned. In my opinion.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

Rospresso
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#6: Post by Rospresso »

I have a 2lbs every 3 weeks subscription from Brandywine (Delaware) and the coffee is good if a little dependent on alternative processes. The cost works out to $19.50/12oz delivered. I think other roasters also offer lower prices for larger quantity subscriptions. You just have to free up some freezer space...

Ging3rBen
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#7: Post by Ging3rBen »

Gardelli, DAK, la Cabra all capable of being outstanding

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Jeff
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#8: Post by Jeff »

Both George Howell and Tim Wendelboe are known for consistent selection of greens and quality roasting in their respective tastes in coffees and choice of roast levels.

There are probably a dozen others that seem to seldom send out coffees that are outside of expectations. Being able to suggest ones will depend a lot on what you're looking for.

Are you looking for a roast level more like George Howell, Tim Wendelboe, or lighter?

Are you looking for primarily washed coffees, traditional naturals, heavy naturals, or managed fermentations?

RyanJE (original poster)
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#9: Post by RyanJE (original poster) replying to Jeff »

I tend to prefer washed with roast level similar to GH and TW, and not a huge fan of naturals and fermentation.... TW sent one natural every year he was super picky about, and the over bearing fruit puts me off still.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

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Jeff
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#10: Post by Jeff »

Of roasters that I've bought from recently, The Picky Chemist, "omni" roast, may be worth considering. I think his light/filter roast will be significantly lighter than Tim Wendelboe and probably not to your liking. TPC's omni is still very light, probably lighter than Tim Wendelboe's "filter". April is another roaster that has been consistent for me.

In the US, though I haven't ordered from them in a a few years, Passenger did a good job at roasts that were typically somewhere in the GH to TW range. I've had a few cups of coffee from September, but not enough to have a good feeling of how "reliable" they are at hitting the mark (not a "bad" thing, just not enough experience).

Picking up some bags at a local "multi-roaster" shop or through a regional reseller such as Eight Ounce Coffee might be a good qay to get a feeling for these and other roasters' offerings, without committing to a large order.

Edit: There are other roasters that I have had recent, positive experiences with, but they tend to focus on highly fermented coffees, which are very different from the OP's desire for washed.