Ritual Coffee Roasters / by Caleb Savage

Ritual Coffee Roasters was founded in San Francisco in 2005 by Eileen Hassi Rinaldi with the desire to bring the specialty coffee revolution to the Bay. Now with five cafes, Ritual continues to be a leader in the coffee community through its devotion to honest and fair sourcing, roasting, and brewing. Eileen Hassi recently sat down for an interview for Victionary’s BRANDLife: Cafes & Coffeehouses, an awesome book that is definitely worth the read. You can pick up a copy from our neighbors, Commonplace Books. All quotes below come from Eileen and the interview from that book.

Vision & Opening

For many coffee lovers, the first taste of specialty coffee is an eye-opening experience. Coffee drinkers notice a lighter cup that’s sweet, bright, and clean. Baristas have better tools and opportunities available to better extract the great flavors in coffee. More attention is given to where the coffee comes from and how the coffee is handled and cared for. While we can see a clear evolution in coffee development and quality, most already apply the same filters and care to the other areas of food and drink. “People paid attention to where their meat came from and who grew their vegetables. People cared about heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Coffee simply wasn’t on the same level.” Enter Ritual.

 Photo Courtesy of Ritual Roasters

Photo Courtesy of Ritual Roasters

“Drinking my first coffee is the only thing I do every day that feels...sacred. It is a special moment when you put the warm cup to your lips. Every day is full of opportunity, and having coffee will just make it better. It feels like a ritual to me. It conveys that coffee is something special and sacred. Not just a habit or a necessity.” This sacred moment is prepared and cared for in Ritual’s focus on creating an environment in their shops and workplace where people can thrive and coffee is given everything it needs to shine.

The People’s Coffee Roaster

Opening back in 2005 meant bringing a new way of thinking and talking about coffee that not a whole lot of people had exposure to.

 Leslie, head roaster at Ritual (Photo courtesy of Ritual Roasters)

Leslie, head roaster at Ritual (Photo courtesy of Ritual Roasters)

“The first thing we did was to get them to drink the coffee. We had to gain people’s trust, which we did by giving them something delicious, that they’d never had before. Once they tasted it and wanted to talk about how they found it different, we were excited to have those conversations. We were enthusiastic, we were earnest, and above all, we were passionate about it.”

This is why we love Ritual. Anyone who loves connecting the dots between a love for people, whether they’re the farmers and producers caring for the coffee or the new-to-coffee customer, and a love for preparing and serving the best offerings available to them, is a winner in our book. We have Ritual’s Farami de Dota from Costa Rica on bar today. If you like warm M&Ms cookies with a hint of lemon zest, you’ll want to give it a try!