Who We Are
First and foremost, River Bottom Roasters is a family. We’re coffee lovers, just like you, who care about quality ingredients, ethical sourcing, fairness in trade and giving back to our communities. We don’t just want to make coffee (though, we do make seriously good coffee), we want to make a difference. If that’s you, too, pour yourself a cup and stay awhile!
How it all began…
My story begins where yours begins: with a search for the perfect cup of coffee! In 2015, my wife, Danielle, and I owned a small restaurant on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We had everything you’d want in a great dining experience: delicious food, a warm, friendly atmosphere and a fantastic team. Just one thing was missing… that perfect cup of coffee. I’m a big believer in supporting local business, so I began talking with local roasters and sampling their coffees, hoping to find that perfect cup for our customers. Then, one morning, I had an experience that would forever change the way I see coffee.
I arrived at Rise Up Coffee, thinking I would sample a few cups, then leave to consider whether or not the coffee was a good fit for our business. Instead, I was enthusiastically welcomed by the owner, Tim Cureton, and ushered into his makeshift office – a 10’x10’ area of his warehouse, surrounded by half walls made of burlap sacks full of green coffee beans from around the world. While one of Tim’s team members filled a small batch roaster with select beans, he talked about how his time in the Peace Corps, and his interactions with indigenous coffee farmers from around the world, deepened his understanding of coffee. As he talked, Tim poured me a cup of his freshly roasted coffee. I took my first sip, and I swear, the world tilted. I had been drinking coffee my entire adult life, yet I felt as if I’d never tasted it before! This was how coffee was supposed to taste! Then and there, with the smell of roasting beans in the air, and that perfect cup balanced in my hands, my passion for small batch specialty coffee was born.
An Unexpected Change…
Shortly after that meeting, a family tragedy struck. Danielle and I sold the restaurant, but were fortunate that we could focus on our family's financial business that we had established in Hagerstown, Maryland. As we shifted our mindset to our other business, I found myself thinking more and more about that day in Tim’s warehouse. I had to know more! I began researching coffee, learning everything I could about beans from different parts of the world: how different altitudes, soils, exposures and climates affect the flavor. I learned about roasting: about temperatures, drum speeds, and fan speeds – and about how roasters use different rhythms and timing of these elements to put their unique stamp of flavor on the coffees. Then, I did what I had been destined to do since I took that first sip in that warehouse – I bought my own roaster and went to work learning how to turn green coffee beans into a perfect cup of coffee.
I worked hard! Whether I was reading from a book, working one-on-one with a master roaster, or trying new roasting profiles on my own, I was doing what I loved and soaking up knowledge. After a time, I started giving sample bags to my family and friends, asking for feedback – they couldn’t get enough! When it got to the point where I wasn’t roasting enough coffee to keep everyone satisfied, I knew it was time to take this to the next level, and River Bottom Roasters was born!
Today, I am so proud of the artisan coffees we offer. When you pour a cup of River Bottom coffee, I hope you taste all the love, heart and soul I put into each small batch. (Yep – I still hand roast each batch myself!) This is coffee the way it’s supposed to be. My name is Craig Campbell, and I believe great coffee can change the world! Pour yourself a cup, and see if you don’t agree!
What We Think
Here at River Bottom Roasters, we have ideas. We think running a business is about more than just turning a profit, and we believe everyone deserves a chance to thrive. From our commitment to source only single origin direct or fair trade beans to our partnerships with local charities like the Boys & Girls Club, these ideas govern everything we do. Call us radicals, but we think doing good is simply good business!
Why does Ethical Sourcing and Fairness in Trade Matter to Us?
Coffee is a huge international commodity, and its popularity is only growing. As worldwide demand for coffee increases, we have seen an alarming increase in forced labor, child labor, and farmers paid non-livable wages for their work. Worldwide demand for lower coffee prices has forced many farmers to abandon the environmentally sustainable practice of shade-growing to become sun-grown farms, simultaneously destroying native animal habitats, increasing the need for dangerous chemical pesticides and depleting the nutrients in the soil.
It has to stop! We can make a difference!
At River Bottom Roasters, we never buy our coffee off a trading floor. We get to know the farmers who grow our beans, and we pay them a fair, livable wage for their hard work. Without their knowledge, skill and expertise, River Bottom coffee wouldn’t have that rich, smooth taste our customers have come to expect – you can’t roast perfection out of a sub-par bean, after all! Our farmers are truly our partners, and we treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.