How We Got Started

Freshness matters, it’s that simple.

Fresh coffee beansIt all started years ago on a chance visit to a Ponce, Puerto Rico coffee plantation that had been donated to the state for educational and cultural purposes. There they demonstrated how coffee beans are picked and prepared by hand, roasting in an old copper drum cranked by hand over an open fire. The Roaster, using only his senses, carefully monitoring for the precise moment to dispense and cool the steaming beans. And then we sampled. Glorious, wonderful coffee. I never imagined coffee could be so delicious.  And the aroma. Oh, the aroma…words cannot describe the absolute splendor.

My obsession had begun. I was simultaneously blessed and cursed.  Grocery shelf coffee could no longer satisfy; I craved what only fresh roasting could provide. So I set out to roast my own. I destroyed a handful of small appliances (that were not intended for roasting coffee). I tried torches. I tried oven roasting like my husband’s Italian grandmother. More than once my project caught fire. More than once my family waited outdoors while the smoke cleared. Undeterred, I marched on…
Kellie Capritta

And then one day, again by chance (and with a little harassment) …

… I was given the opportunity to learn from one of the area’s most prominent and successful Roasters.For reasons unknown and for nothing in return but my respect and friendship, she took me under her wing. How could I be so lucky? Countless hours upon hours of learning. Precious, priceless knowledge. She, my mentor, a true saint, exhibiting gargantuan amounts of patience. And I, forever grateful.

I love coffee. Forming Catoctin Coffee was just as much something I needed to do as it was something I wanted to do. And it is all about freshness. From sourcing the planet’s finest beans, to hand roasting just the right quantity…I truly believe we help deliver a coffee drinking experience that cannot be attained from a store shelf mega-roaster. Every day I re-live that trip to Puerto Rico, and you can too!

Get some!



Chief Roaster and Talker