Rockford Roasting Celebrates 5 Years
It’s been 10 years since I arrived in Rockford from Sweden. The beautiful Forrest City welcomed me with open arms, and I have been on a lovely joy ride ever since. I’ve always wanted to bring with me the café culture that is so prevalent in Europe. I dreamed of a place where people could gather to share ideas, to laugh, or just to reconnect. Five years ago, fate would offer me an opportunity to do just that.
When I met Benjamin Chauvin, he had been a part-time volunteer barista for two years. He’d developed a passion for coffee and had been tinkering with different ways of brewing coffee at home. His enthusiasm for the perfect cup led him to try his hand at another part of the coffee process: roasting. Benjamin’s natural talent as a roaster was discovered with just a used electric popcorn popper from a thrift store, information he found online, and some green (unroasted) coffee. Despite the rudimentary beginnings, Benjamin started producing some surprisingly tasty and extremely fresh coffee.
As we shared his coffee with people for the first time, we heard comments like, “This is some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted,” and “If coffee always tasted like this, I’d actually like drinking it.” Upon hearing the rave reviews, seeing Benjamin’s joy in the creative process, and recognizing my longing for the good coffee I enjoyed in Europe, we decided to form Rockford Roasting Company.
Rockford Roasting Company was officially launched in October of 2014. Since that time, it has been a vital addition to the city’s downtown, for coffee drinkers, and people needing a meeting space across the river. Our initial intent was to brew a product in a space of which our community could be proud. We never could have imagined back then how completely the community would embrace our craft coffee, how we could expand our reach, and even be named one of Alton Brown’s favorite coffee shops nationwide!
We have enjoyed making Rockford Roasting Company not only a place for some of the most thoughtfully crafted coffee in our region, but also a place for thinkers, artists, musicians, storytellers, and leaders throughout the community to gather. We enjoy being a place that can help serve as a catalyst for Rockford’s renaissance, and are honored to serve as hosts for and fuel some of the most important conversations powering the positive change in Rockford. This is the café culture of which I dreamed, and I am so very proud of Rockford Roasting Company and the wonderful people who make it special each and every day. We cannot be prouder of the growth we’ve realized in the past five years and want to thank our amazing community for supporting our existence.