These six women-owned roasters do a lot of good in their communities by offering fair prices, raising funds for locals in need, and creating inclusive places for people to gather.
It takes a lot to get coffee from where it’s grown then into your cup in Pennsylvania, because the state does not have the necessary climate to farm coffee. Coffee grows best in warm, tropical climates, often around the equator. The raw, dried green beans harvested from the coffee plant’s fruit are shipped throughout the world to roasters closer to where the coffee will be consumed.
The roasting process requires precise heat, and most people leave the roasting up to the professionals rather than buying raw coffee beans to roast at home. There are dozens of coffee roasters throughout Pennsylvania, and some of them are owned or co-owned by women.
These six coffee women-owned roasters in Pennsylvania do a lot of good in their communities by offering fair prices, raising funds for locals in need, and creating inclusive places for people to gather.
Càphê Roasters is the first and only Vietnamese specialty coffee roaster in Philadelphia. Co-owned by Vietnamese American Thu Pham and non-profit CEO Raymond John, they source coffee from Vietnam and other Southeast and East Asian regions. Càphê Roasters’ goal is to revitalize its Kensington neighborhood through coffee. A recent Philadelphia Magazine interview with Pham described her coffee drinks and beans as “uniquely chocolate-y and aromatic.”
Càphê Roasters has a cafe on site with coffee, tea, and specialty drinks plus dishes such as smoked mushroom shakshuka, bánh mì sandwiches, and egg sandwiches. A portion of the roasters’ profits is donated to 12 Plus, a Philadelphia education non-profit that partners with public high schools to increase educational equity.
Location: 3400 J St., G1, Philadelphia
Mill Creek Coffee
Erie’s favorite coffee supplier, Mill Creek Coffee, is female owned. After working in the coffee business in various capacities since the late 1970s, Anita Marcoline Rose opened Mill Creek in the early 2000s. Mill Creek supplies roasted coffee to businesses and homes with fair trade, specialty, and organically grown options to choose from.
Beans are roasted on site daily, at both Mill Creek and its sister company North Edge Craft Coffee. North Edge is a walk-in store that carries a variety of coffee beans and ground coffee, supplies for making coffee, and travel mugs.
Location: 1222 Linden Ave., Erie
Owned by wife and husband team Bethany and Karl Fisher, Alabaster Coffee in Williamsport opened in 2010. The specialty roaster impressed Imbibe, and the publication featured the business and its single origin and Cup of Excellence coffees.
Alabaster’s goal is to cultivate community through the elevation of coffee culture. They have several community outreach programs, including partnering each month with a local nonprofit and donating $2 from every sale of a special craft beverage. They also support the global coffee community by knowing the coffee producers, visiting their farms, and paying premium prices for their beans.
Location: 400 Pine St., Williamsport, Lycoming County
In Harrisburg, Elementary Coffee has locations in the Broad Street Market and a standalone store downtown. In a story for PA Eats owner Andrea Grove, a Pennsylvania native, said she loves coffee’s “ability to bring people together.”
Grove is now deeply rooted in the Harrisburg community with a focus on creating an inclusive atmosphere at her shop. Elementary hosts coffee equipment workshops, toy and clothing drives, and art shows. Her Common Grounds specialty roast supports the Mutual Aid Fund with $1 from each bag sold going to those in need including small businesses, artists, and collectives.
Location: 256 North St., Harrisburg, Dauphin County
Square One Coffee Roasters
Square One Coffee is an award-winning micro-roaster in Lancaster. Co-owner Jessica Steffy and her husband, Josh, started in 2004 with a coffee stand at the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market before buying Square One a decade later. Their motto is “do good work,” and they do their best to respect every person in the coffee chain from the farmers—that they pay premium prices for their beans—through to their customers.
Square One’s flagship café in Lancaster serves its specialty coffee, specialty teas, housemade pastries, and light fare.
Location: 145 North Duke St., Lancaster
de Fer Coffee & Tea
At de Fer Coffee & Tea, co-owners Vanessa and Matt Marietti seek to bring France’s café culture to Pittsburgh. They opened their roaster and coffee shop in 2017. Vanessa leads the kitchen and graphic design. Matt oversees the coffee program.
They tout several goals for their business, including paying a fair price for the products they source, sourcing those products responsibility, and holding their partners accountable to those standards. They now have six locations throughout Pittsburgh. At their Strip District location, they host events and offer coffee, cocktails, wine, food, craft beer, locally made grocery items, cheese, and more with plenty of indoor seating and some outdoor seating.
Location: Six in Pittsburgh