From its Brooklyn industrial roasting space to a friendly corner in Hoboken, New Jersey, City of Saints brings an inclusive and light-hearted spirit wherever it goes. That attitude extends to its sourcing practices rooted in open-mindedness and a commitment to building sustainable relationships.
How did you get started roasting?
"We started out roasting at the famous Pulley Collective in Brooklyn right after opening our first shop. We knew we would need our own roaster so we tested a few different manufacturers. We love the consistency and eco-friendliness of the Loring, so we bought a S70 while we were building out our roastery in Bushwick, and we haven’t stopped since."
Tell us more about your name.
"Our research division spent over 3 years fine-turning a machine learning algorithm that picked through thousands of consumer focus groups looking for a name that psychologically would compel our target demographic into purchasing coffee. (Also, City of Saints happens to be an old Arabic name for Harar in Ethiopia, and we are madly in love with the coffee from that area.)"
What values are most important to City of Saints?
"Our motto is “Drink what you like” and we try to reflect that inclusiveness in the rest of our business. We value hard work, respect, inclusivity. We’re motivated by the incredible work our farmers do, and we want to showcase their talents in our roasting."
Tell us more about your team.
"John is the “Coffee Director” and handles all the green sourcing. Sergio is our Roaster and turns the beans brown. Brian does our production management and Dee brews all of our cold brew. We collectively work together on QC and blending. Teamwork makes the dream work."
What do you look for when sourcing coffee?
"More than anything we are looking for coffees that are sweet, clean, and stand out to us. We also look for farmers that we can be actual partners with, build business relationships with, and grow together."
How does City of Saints approach sustainability?
"We have a holistic view of sustainability. We try to be economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. We do this by forging close relationships with our suppliers, being real partners with our producers, and trying to grow a culture of respect and hard work within our company and among our customers. Are we perfect? Hell no, but working towards building a sustainable company and community is what motivates us to keep getting up in the morning."
Which of your current coffee offerings are you most excited about?
"It hurts me to pick favorites. I love all my coffees. But when it comes to excitement I think I am most excited by Arturo Volveras’ banging Colombian coffee. We have worked with Arturo for over 5 years now, and every year he just has such consistently sweet and juicy coffee, processed super well and very easy for us to roast. It’s a pleasure working with his coffee and a pleasure drinking it too."
What excites you most about the third wave coffee movement?
"I love that “third wave” has elevated coffee from a utilitarian tool that most people used to wake up in the morning into a really complex and accessible craft beverage. The third wave has changed coffee into a luxury item that is still accessible to normal working people."
What sets City of Saints apart from the New York scene?
"I think our roastery is pretty unique in how open it is to the public. A lot of places have awesome cafes that happen to have a roastery in them. We have a roastery that happens to have a cafe in it. The New York scene is great to be a part of. Super community oriented, friendly, and inclusive."
What role has community played in our business?
"My favorite thing about the coffee business is the connection it has to communities. Not just local communities, who define and shape us as a company, but also the communities we buy green coffee from around the world. We are always striving to connect the drinker with the grower. It’s one of the great things about coffee in general, it’s ability to bring people together from all across the world."
-Joe Palozzi, Co-Founder