Broadway Café and Roasting Co. has been around for 15 years but keeps a lower profile than local heavy hitters Parisi Artisan Coffee and the Roasterie. The company is known more for how its funky cafe at 4106 Broadway outlasted a Starbucks that opened on the same block than it is for its nearby roasting operation at 4012 Washington St.
But the little guys just scored big at the prestigious Good Food Awards, a two-year-old national contest that conducts blind tastings of artisan, sustainably produced cheese, chocolate, charcuterie, pickles, preserves, beer and spirits as well as coffee. (Patric chocolate from Columbia was the other area winner.)
The awards are sponsored by chef Alice Waters and presented in San Francisco.
Broadway won for its Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. The bags of coffee, sold at the café and the roastery, sport a Good Food Awards winner sticker. The coffee is certified organic and fair trade.
Jon Cates, co-owner of Broadway Café, notes that five of the seven winners in the coffee category came from Ethiopia. He thinks that is because coffee grown there has a distinctive lighter body and lemony aroma — almost like tea — and is unlike coffee grown anywhere else. “It’s a rare and unique flavor,” Cates says.
Broadway Roasting Co. supplies local restaurants, including Room 39, Cafe Sebastienne, the Farmhouse and YJ’s Snack Bar, but has no plans to sell coffee in grocery stores.
“We buy coffee beans through importers who work with exporters that deal mostly in small lots, like 10 or 12 bags instead of 200 bags,” Cates says. “We’re interested in changing coffee into something more than just a commodity, something that is a time-consuming and beautiful product.”
More information about Broadway’s coffee-tasting bar and its latest coffees is on its Facebook page.