the best boston specialty coffee roasters
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The Best Boston Specialty Coffee Roasters in 2022

Boston is fortunate to have one of the best specialty coffee scenes in the whole of New England. But with all the choice, it’s difficult to know just who the best coffee roasters are.

In no particular order, we’ve put together a list of our seven favorite coffee roasters roasting the best coffee beans in Boston. We provide you with a little background on each roaster along with what they have to offer this year.

George Howell

George Howell is a pioneer of the specialty coffee movement and a coffee industry veteran. His coffee career began in 1974 when he opened his first cafe, The Coffee Connection in Cambridge. The Coffee Connection was a huge success, eventually expanding to include 24 locations in the Boston area, before being bought by Starbucks in 1994.

Howell has been active in the specialty coffee industry for 35 years, making him one of the industry’s most experienced players nationwide. He is an expert on single-origin coffees and has pioneered the use of technologies and techniques which are now common practice in the trade.

His coffee roasters, George Howell Coffee, imports coffees from Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. The company deals with most of its farmers directly, paying them above Fair Trade prices. Their imports are sealed in airtight bags or deep-frozen to preserve freshness, both of which are practices that Howell pioneered.

Bags of George Howell Coffee can be purchased at their coffee shop at 505 Washington Street in Downtown Boston, as well as in many other cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores in the Boston area and other cities in the US and Canada.

You can also purchase George Howell Coffee on the company’s website, where you’ll find well over 30 different coffees to choose from. These include blends and single origins from all of the major coffee-producing continents along the coffee belt.

There’s something for everyone here: whether you prefer a light or dark roast, if you’re looking for rare types of coffee beans such as the geisha variety, or you want a choice of low caffeine decaffeinated coffees.

Prices start from $14 for a 12oz bag of whole bean or ground coffee. To ensure that you never run out of coffee, George Howell also has a subscription service whereby you can receive one or two bags twice per month for a set period of time of your choosing.
Pack sizes12oz / 5lb
Bag priceFrom $14
Whole bean & ground?Both
Subscription service?Yes


Pavement began life as a bagel shop in 1998. They’ve been growing ever since, shifting their focus increasingly towards specialty coffee. Pavement cafes were among the first in the Boston area to serve pour-overs and cold brews, and after 6 years of serving Counter Culture Coffee, they began roasting their own coffee in 2018.

Initially using Philadelphia’s Passenger Coffee’s roasting facilities, they have since opened their own roastery and cafe at 415 Western Ave in Brighton. They roast their coffee on a Loring S15 Falcon which is on full display, with a glass garage door separating the roastery from the cafe.

Pavement imports their coffee through Collaborative Coffee Source, an importer that specializes in high quality, responsibly sourced coffees. Their coffees are available on their website or at any of their eight locations in the Boston area.

The Pavement website has a nice selection of blends and single origins from many of the most well-known coffee-producing countries in Latin America and Africa.

For those that are just starting out, it’s well worth checking out the Coffee Tasting Kit so that you can taste and compare the nuances of different coffees side by side.

Prices start from $15.25 for a 12oz bag. The coffees are only available as whole bean only, so you’ll need to make sure that you have a good coffee grinder.

Pavement offers a monthly subscription services that you can purchase for yourself or as a gift. Simply select whether you prefer a blend or single origin along with the duration that you want the subscription to run.
Pack sizes12oz / 2lb
Bag priceFrom $15.25
Whole bean & ground?Whole bean only
Subscription service?Yes


Gracenote Coffee was founded by Patrick Barter in 2012. Barter started out roasting from the porch of his house on a converted gas grill, selling his coffees at farmers’ markets in Harvard.

Gracenote Coffee quickly gained recognition and has since grown to become one of the most critically acclaimed roasters in Boston.

The first location was opened in Chinatown at 108 Lincoln Street. This remains a small but bustling cafe, where patrons can enjoy a handpicked selection of high-quality coffee drinks. Earlier this year, they opened a coffee and wine bar in Cambridge at 150 First Street.

Gracenote coffees are on sale on their website, at their two cafes, or at a number of other coffee shops and restaurants in the Boston area.

The Gracenote website has one signature blend, one decaf, and a really nice range of single origin coffees that have been roasted for filter or espresso. Make sure to check out my recommended drip coffee makers and espresso machines.

Gracenote also sells its own range of freeze-dried instant coffee for those times when you’re on the road and want a decent cup of specialty coffee but don’t have the necessary equipment.

Prices start from $16 for a 12oz bag of whole bean coffee. The Gracenote subscription service is quite a bit more flexible than some of the other roasters listed here.

Choose between five different styles of coffee, the bag size that you want, the quantity of bags, and whether you want coffee delivered fortnightly or monthly.
Pack sizes12oz / 2lb / 5lb
Bag priceFrom $16
Whole bean & ground?Whole bean only
Subscription service?Yes


Atomic Coffee Roasters are a family-owned business from the North Shore. Founded in 1996 by brothers Andrew and John Mahoney, the company opened its first cafe in Beverly at 268 Cabot Street.

They went on to open to more locations, but they were eventually sold in order to focus more on retail and wholesale. Atomic currently operates a roastery in Salem and a cold brew and nitro facility in Danvers.

Their coffees can be bought at their Beverly location, online, or through an ever-growing list of grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants in and around Boston.

The Atomic website has a whole range of blends, single-origins, and ready-to-drink canned cold brews to choose from. Among the blends is one specially developed for making cold brew coffee at home.

For those that think that coffee is inherently bitter, it’s worth checking out the Atomic dark blends to see how great a slighter darker roast can be when the coffee’s been meticulously produced and processed.

Prices for Atomic coffees start from $14 for a 12oz bag, which is available as both whole bean or ground to suit a number of different types of coffee makers.

Atomic has an excellent subscription service that includes a generous 15 percent discount. Choose how often you’d like to have your coffee delivered between weekly, fortnightly, three-weekly, or four-weekly.

You’ll receive a bag of coffee specially selected by the roaster based on your preferred choice of coffee: light, medium, dark, or single origin.
Pack sizes12oz / 2lb / 5lb
Bag priceFrom $14
Whole bean & ground?Both
Subscription service?Yes


Fazenda is a Boston-based coffee roasters and retailers. Besides their coffee and tea products, they also offer a wide range of coffee-related services that include education, training, and technical support.

Their products and services make Fazenda a central player in the Boston specialty coffee scene, despite the fact that they don’t have a coffee shop of their own.

Fazenda is committed to not only provide coffee of the highest standards but also promote sustainability and responsibility in the coffee trade. To do this, they use an energy-efficient roaster, the Loring S70 Peregrine, and recycle and repurpose their coffee bags and chaff.

They are also in the process of shifting to a 100 percent direct trade model, which will significantly increase profits for their farmers. Fazenda’s coffees can be bought on their website or from many retailers in Boston and elsewhere in New England.

The Fazenda website has an enormous range of coffees to choose from. Aside from the usual blends, single origins, and decafs, you’ll find special reserve lots at very reasonable prices. These coffees are grown in small lots by dedicated farmers with patience and precision.

Prices start from $14 for a 12oz bag of coffee that comes as whole bean or ground to suit a number of different brewing devices. All of the coffees are also available as part of a flexible subscription service, with a 15 percent discount thrown in for good measure.
Pack sizes12oz / 5lb
Bag priceFrom $14
Whole bean & ground?Both
Subscription service?Yes


Broadsheet Coffee Roasters was founded in 2017, making it Cambridge’s first and only specialty coffee roasters. They are committed to responsibly sourced coffee, roasted using cutting-edge technology, and to the highest of standards.

Founder Aaron MacDougall is a former banker, whose financial expertise certainly comes in handy in operating a cafe and roastery. MacDougall has taken the transition to coffee very seriously, becoming a certified Q-grader in 2015.

Broadsheet roasts its coffee on a Loring S-15 roaster, which is located inside their cafe at 100 Kirkland Street. Their coffee is sold on their website or at their Kirkland Street location, where it is also served in hand-crafted coffee beverages.

On the website, you’ll find Broadsheet’s one signature blend, Headliner, alongside a small range of single origins from Latin America and Africa. Prices start from $17 for a 12oz bag of whole bean coffee.

A subscription service can also be purchased through the website. Select the amount of bags you want to be delivered each month and whether you want the subscription to last three, six, or 12 months.
Pack sizes12oz
Bag priceFrom $17
Whole bean & ground?Whole bean only
Subscription service?Yes

Flat Black

Flat Black Coffee started out in 2003, co-founded by David House, his wife Jennifer House, and David’s best friend Jeff Chatlos. Today, they are Boston’s largest independent specialty coffee roaster, retailer, and wholesaler.

As well as their original location at 1170 Washington Street in Dorchester, they manage another cafe in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, at 260 Franklin Street.

Flat Black is committed to providing ethically and sustainably sourced coffee. The company strives to provide the highest quality coffee, and they have the credentials to show for it. In 2013, their coffee won third place in America’s Best Espresso competition, also winning second place in 2014.

Besides their own stores and website, their coffee is sold by a number of organic and gourmet grocery stores in Boston. On the Flat Black website, you’ll find one blend accompanied by a large array of single origins from Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Many of the coffees offered by Flat Black are available as a French roast for those that like their coffee smoky with added bitterness. Prices start from $13.50 for a 12oz bag of whole bean coffee. Unfortunately, Flat Black currently has no subscription service on offer.
Pack sizes12oz
Bag priceFrom $13.50
Whole bean & ground?Whole bean only
Subscription service?No

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