Every cup of coffee is an opportunity.
An opportunity to be present, to be inspired. An opportunity for delicious alchemy.
Our mission? To create a company that lives up to inspiring standards across the board: coffee craft, quality, and care for customers and employee-owners, and, ultimately for the greater good of humanity.
At Cooperative, our first job is to roast exceptional coffee that uplifts your mornings.
But this is only part of our work.
Trust -- we’re devoted to teasing out the sweetest notes from the freshest coffees, in small 10 lb batches with our hand-built, 6 kilo atmospheric roaster. That’s what gets us out of bed every morning. But we also started Cooperative to chart a new way of doing business in the coffee industry.
After more than 15 years of working in specialty coffee, we’ve come to envision a future of coffee that is more intentional, inclusive, and open than it is today. And we believe we each play a part.
Because we’re all interconnected—from the farmer tending coffee shrubs in the hills of Huila, Colombia…to you, 7 am on your front porch, savoring a sip of that same coffee, freshly roasted.
Sourcing only the best
Our aim is a balance between providing the tastiest coffee around and forging our own way of working and living that runs counter to mainstream capitalism.
For us, that starts with how we source our coffees..
We pay more for our green coffee because we prioritize quality. We also aim to help guide our industry toward honoring the intensely difficult work of growing coffee by setting a precedent of paying farmers more for their lots.
Worker-owned by 2025—that’s our goal
We’re working toward growing our tiny team of three into a worker-owned cooperative.
We believe that all people should be treated with dignity and achieve security through their work. In our capitalist economy, dignity and security are ensured through ownership. Without the necessary rules in place to protect people and uphold the value of human--and planetary--wellbeing, we risk commodifying aspects of life that should be protected as sacred. We want to build our wealth and wellbeing through cooperation rather than exploitation.
Our goal is to offer the people who join Cooperative the opportunity of ownership so that they can be part of creating healthier norms in our global (and local) economy, situated from our small coffee company. This is our work in progress. Ultimately, our vision is to offer our employees the option of buying into our business after a settling-in period of 2-3 years, and to organize ourselves democratically, so that all worker-owners will directly participate in our decisions.
Cooperative is Born: a Timeline
2004: Fresh out of high school, Matt starts working at Atlanta, Georgia’s first specialty coffee shop. Octane Coffee. The roaster: Counter Culture.
But this isn’t a story of love at first taste. He’s not immediately enamored with craft coffee. Matt loves people: his coworkers, regulars-turned-friends, the community buzzing around the shop.
This makes sense. Because while he’s pouring coffee and learning tasting notes at Octane, Matt’s studying cultural anthropology in college. And he’s fascinated by cross referencing what his coffee mentors are doing with looking at coffee as a global product, shaped by people across different cultures.
2011: Matt leaves Octane and doesn’t work in coffee for two years. He travels around the US and explores Brazil. Coffee isn’t on his mind as a career, but he begins to see how far coffee spreads, geographically. What it means in different places.
2013: Matt moves to Durham, NC and lands a job in customer support for Counter Culture. This time to teach all he’s learned. Classes for baristas. Weekly cuppings at the training center. He realizes coffee means more to him that he knew.
2014: Matt meets his sweetheart, Katie—social worker, teacher, political geographer. They start a family: Eva is born in 2015.
2016: The family moves to Asheville. Katie and Matt are inspired by the support and warmth of the Asheville local business community. Cafes like High Five and Trade and Lore help them see that coffee can be both quality-focused and accessible. Matt tells Katie he wants to start his own roasting business: Katie has one request: the business is a worker-owned cooperative.
2019: Cooperative Coffee is born. Most people are surprised to learn that we’re a team of just three people operating in 700 square feet… on a roaster that cranks out just 30 pounds per hour.