I like to stay up to date on what’s happening in the food world of Chattanooga. A while back, a kickstarter caught my eye: a local coffee roaster focusing on doing good for the community and hiring refugees. I couldn’t back the kickstarter at the time, but I kept a close eye on it as it crept closer and closer to the goal.
Which brings us to last night. Mad Priest Coffee Roasters had their grand opening party in the Southside neighborhood of Chattanooga. Snuggled up to Koch’s bakery in a tiny storefront, it’s easy to miss Mad Priest. The logo is simplistic, and there’s no flashy signage to attract passerby.
Still, the store was packed when we arrived for the grand opening party, and the beer was flowing. I think we shocked the woman working the tap when we turned down free beer, but that’s the trouble of being a Celiac foodie. You’re always missing out.
In the parking lot beside the shop was what we came for. A Mad Priest employee worked a coffee sampling station under a black tent, offering two coffees to try and more to buy. The sample bags were $6 for 8 ounces, which was a great deal for a local roaster. After trying the (very strong) samples he had to offer, we were convinced. We bought two bags of the Guatemalan blend.
I drink fair trade Guatemalan coffee almost daily thanks to Aldi’s coffee selection. I’m no coffee snob. Tea snob, yes. Coffee? Just keep adding milk until it’s beige. That said, there are some occasions when a coffee blows me out of the water. This was one of those times.
We actually encountered the owner, I believe, although I didn’t realize this until afterwards. He stopped to ask us how we were doing, and if we were enjoying the coffee. I was trying to make a purchase and blew him off— if you ever see this, sorry!
A few things I liked about this coffee:
1. Supporting refugee transition in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas
2. The taste of the coffee. Bold, but not too bold. Smooth, rich. Supposedly with the flavor of cantaloupe, according to the bag, but my palate is not refined enough for those distinctions.
3. The coffee facts on the back of the bag.
4. The quote on the back of the bag.
5. Obviously very fresh.
A few things you should know about Mad Priest:
1. The shop is tiny. If it’s crowded like it was at the grand opening party, it feels cramped fast. If you’re not into that, you can also find their roasts being sold at various coffee shops around town, including my favorite- Sacra!
2. The coffee (at least what we bought) is sold whole bean. This is actually best for freshness, something I learned when Justin was actually a coffee snob. However, it means you need to own a grinder. Ours is electric, but there are lots of affordable options out there.
3. Mad Priest works with Bridge Refugee Service. Justin has encountered Bridge Refugee Service several times throughout his time serving the Latino communities in Chattanooga and during his job at the hospital. Bridge Refugee Service does great work with displaced people from around the world.
4. Mad Priest would love to work with your church. Does your church serve coffee? Ours does. Is it kind of gross and comes from a suspicious red can? Is it stale? Ours is. Who can help? Mad Priest. As a wholesale provider of coffee and defender of the displaced, Mad Priest Coffee would love to be the business your church turns to when they purchase coffee. Check out their website for more information.
Mad Priest is a different kind of coffee place, and I love it. I like that they’re determined that everyone is treated fairly, from supplier to cashier. I like that their coffee tastes good. I like that they’re less than 15 minutes from me. I hope you like them too.
I was not compensated in any way for this review, and they have no idea I’m writing it. This has been a coffee roaster and cafe concept I have followed closely of my own volition, because I feel they share many of my values.
Have you heard of Mad Priest Coffee Roasters in Chattanooga, Tennessee?