Prime Roast Coffee Company also owes its existence to someone who took it upon herself to be what she wanted to see in her community. In the early 1990s Judy Rogers was selling coffee in bulk out of her specialty kitchen store on Main Street in Keene. When the coffee company (which will go unnamed here) went public, the product “became a different animal,” Rogers says. “It was wonderful, and then it wasn’t wonderful.”
Sometimes when you want coffee done right, you have to roast it yourself. Rogers bought a roaster and applied her cooking skills to previous knowledge of coffees she had sold and liked.
“As you can see, we are no longer a kitchen store,” Rogers says, a sweep of her hand taking in the long counter, one-of-a-kind tables commissioned from local artists, busy baristas and hunkered-down customers in this warmly lit, coffee-and-pastry fragrant café, down the block from her old shop.
The roasting machine, 20 years and half a million pounds of coffee later, stands at the back of the café. Prime Roast Coffee Company sells about as much coffee wholesale and by mail order as it serves to customers, a sure indication the coffee is good enough to stand on its own.