Red Rooster Coffee is a small, family-run coffee company based in a town of 432 people in Floyd, Virginia. The business began as a community cafe opened by Red Rooster Coffee Cofounder Rose McCutchan along with her mother and sister. Seeing the need to upgrade the quality of their coffee offerings, Rose bought a roaster in 2010 and enlisted the help of her husband and Cofounder Haden to begin roasting coffee in-house.
Today, the company remains focused on small batch trade coffee that’s roasted-to-order for freshness. Its mission is to produce specialty coffee with a purpose. In fact, RRC operates with four driving cornerstone philosophies.
The first: Their dedication to roasting premium coffees that meets quality standards and the expectations of customers.
The second goal is to provide satisfying, living-wage jobs for employees. The company currently has around 30 employees.
“As a family business, we have always strived to do our part to help create a vibrant local community by hiring locally, providing a living wage and full health care benefits to our employees, contributing to local charities and participating in local fundraisers all with the intention of developing into an economic and social anchor in our small rural community. In 2018, we licensed an onsite day care specifically for our employees’ children,” stated the company.
The third element is to provide support for the coffee farmers through high premiums and participation in social programs. The final cornerstone is an attention to the environment through packaging material selection.
Beans for Red Rooster are sourced from micro and macro lot farms in Latin America, Mexico, Ecuador and Kenya. There are a variety of resulting coffee selections, ranging from light to dark. Customers can choose coffees made from beans from a specific region, scour organic options or shop different blends. Whether selections are for a specific coffee or left up to the roaster to decide, all coffees are roasted and immediately shipped for the freshest possible brew.
Additionally, the company offers an expertly curated subscription box called The Fix. This monthly selection offers rare and unusual coffees to try. Customers who sign up for an annual plan also receive brew gear to get them started.
Furthermore, Red Rooster produces a single-serve coffee bag that steeps for five minutes and is ready to-go. They also sell teas, syrups, merchandise and equipment.
At the core of the success is a reliance on organic and Fair Trade coffees for all of the signature blends and many of the single origins. For those coffee beans that are not organic or Fair Trade Certified, the company expects transparency about worker treatment and land stewardship. Where possible, RRC buys directly from the farmer to provide higher premiums for the benefit of the grower, their families and the workers.
Sustainability and environmental action is important to the RRC team. The biodegradable coffee bags are locally hand-printed with water-based inks. The company composts the chaff with local organic farms and recycles within the facility. The sustainability mission is seen at a local level with compostable to-go products at the café and the development of a local sustainability non-profit, SustainFloyd, founded in part by RRC Cofounder Haden.
Review of Red Rooster Coffee selections
The company provided a variety pack of coffees that I sampled over a week or so. It’s been fun to explore the different taste profiles of each coffee. There are some unique and distinctive flavors to consider and there are a wide range of options. I’ll provide my thoughts on a few here, but just like wine, coffee opinions are very subjective.
Flight Seasonal Espresso was made with espresso drinkers in mind. We use pour-over or French press for our coffee preparation and found the flavors came through great. Labeled espresso, I was expecting something dark. However, this is a light blend (when used by our prep methods) of beans from three different regions. The profile isn’t bold, but more delicate with notes of floral and orange.
Old Crow Cuppa Joe is also recommended as an espresso. Prepared via French press, we primarily pulled out chocolate notes. Upon reflection, we felt this would be a reliable café serving. It has the mainstream appeal of a simple, dependable offering.
Farmhouse Breakfast is a light, 100% Arabica coffee and on the opposite end of the spectrum from the ultra-dark brews we normally make. Inasmuch, we found it to be another selection that would appeal to the masses in a restaurant setting. This one also had flavors of chocolate and slight tartness resembling cherry.
Ethiopia Wush Wush Natural was a surprisingly distinctive flavor. We found notable orange and berry flavors with a touch of chocolate to offer a sweet edge in an all-around smooth coffee.
4&20 French Roast is likely the closest to what we commonly drink and we found it to be an easy drinker. It’s one of the darker roasts Red Rooster offers, so if your preference is for a lighter body, you might find this to be too bold. Although we like dark roasts, we often stay away from French Roast simply because it tends to be bitter or taste burnt. However, this is a great example of what a French Roast can be. It’s balanced, slightly acidic and flavorful.
Images via Red Rooster Coffee Company
Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Red Rooster Coffee Company. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.