Coffee is fruit. Coffee beans are the pits of coffee cherries, which grow on coffee trees. The trees, actually evergreen shrubs, grow in about 80 tropical and sub-tropical countries located between the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer.

Two main species are cultivated for consumption: coffea arabica and coffea robusta. Only arabica coffees produce qualities consistent with our goals. Robusta coffee is harsh and without delicacy and is used extensively by national canned coffee companies and others. Arabica coffee often possesses complexity, refinement and nuance. However, all arabica coffees are not created alike. Generally speaking there is one main harvest in each producing nation each year. At that time the greatest choice is available to us in selecting the best raw green coffee to roast for our customers.

Coffee Cherries ready for harvesting


The thoroughness Willoughby's brings to the coffee selection process is unique. After the harvest of each coffee origin, we collect samples of green (unroasted) coffee from our sources. it is our task (actually our great pleasure) to extensively taste, or "cup", the numerous samples offered.We are only interested in the highest grades, and advise our sources to send us only the best they have. Numerous samples are gathered, sometimes resulting in so many they cannot be "cupped" in one or two sittings.

When all the samples have arrived, each is roasted and de-identified so we can proceed with blind tastings. We do not want to be biased by a coffee's name, reputation, cost or marketing. We are only interested in one thing: which coffee tastes best. This is what we want for our customers. Upon conclusion, the samples' identities are revealed, and we will now go to market to acquire the best of the best. We know of no other coffee roasting company that goes to such great lengths to secure its coffee.

Green (unroasted) coffee

Green (unroasted) coffee remains in a dormant state over the course of a year. It rests and awaits roasting to unlock the potential within.

Full City Roast

Coffee taken to a Full City Roast is deep brown, fully developed. Oil has not yet extruded from within, nor has it caramelized. Coffee roasted to this level possesses sweetness, complexity, nuance. Everything that was inherent in the green coffee is available to your palate and each coffee's individuality is there for you. We feel this is the optimum roast.

French Roast (aka Dark Roast)

Roast coffees longer and the result is a French (Dark) Roast. Beans are brownish/black, and appear somewhat oily. This oiliness will increase within several days of roasting. The dark color is due to the caramelization of sugars within in the bean's cell structure. The taste is now bittersweet and the roast's style may somewhat overpower the bean's individuality. More pronounced flavor, less nuance.