Ruby Coffee Roasters sticks to its slogan, to make “Colorful Coffees.” They design each roast to carefully and deliciously showcase the unique terroir of its beans.
In the past couple years, they’ve earned nods for quality from GQ, Food and Wine, Gear Patrol, and more.
And where do you think they’re located? New York? Los Angeles? Miami?
How about a rural town in the middle of Wisconsin?
Ruby Coffee Roasters of Nelsonville, Wisconsin, defies traditional convention, roasting some of the country’s best coffees out of the Midwest. What makes them so special? Read on.
Jared Linzmeier And The Early History Of Ruby Coffee Roasters
After growing up and attending college in Wisconsin, Ruby founder Jared Linzmeier wanted a change-of-pace.
So he took a leap of faith, moving to Los Angeles. And as luck would have it, around the same time as his move, third-wave coffee company Intelligentsia was spreading its wings and setting up shop in the West. So Linzmeier took a job with Intelligentsia as a roaster.
Within his role, Linzmeier saw coffee in a new light.
“The industry was connecting a lot of things that I valued,” he says. “Community, delicious flavors, making an impact.”
Jared Linzmeier’s Coffee Education
After a few years of working at Intelligentsia, Linzmeier began “thinking, dreaming, about what I could do in coffee.”
Taking inspiration from Intelligentsia sourcing pro Geoff Watts, Linzmeier embarked on a journey to visit coffee producers around the world.
Linzmeier and wife / Ruby co-owner Deanna dreamed of making the best coffee in Linzmeier’s home state. So after returning from his round the world trip, he bought a used coffee roaster and started roasting beans in his parents’ garage in rural Wisconsin.
The Birth Of Ruby Coffee Roasters
While there was something endearing about roasting coffee in his childhood home, Ruby quickly outgrew the space.
In 2015, Ruby Coffee Roasters moved down the road to Nelsonville — a lush, rural area inhabited by just over a 100 people.
Today, Ruby has two locations. The first, in Nelsonville, consists of a roasting room and tasting room. The other, just fifteen minutes down the road in Stevens Point, is made up of a cafe and restaurant.
What Makes Ruby Coffee Roasters Special?
Building a specialty coffee business in a tiny town where most residents accept diner coffee might not sound like a great way to grow a business.
But for Linzmeier, it was perfect.
“I guess one of the reasons I didn’t want to set up a specialty coffee business in a city is because I didn’t want to have to answer to a board or investors,” says Linzmeier. “I didn’t want to have to compromise on our values to make them happy. We own our roasting facility and cafe building. So we control everything.”
Returning to what drew Linzmeier to coffee in the first place — its ability to combine flavor with community and impact — Ruby Coffee has taken steps to make coffee more equitable.
For instance, in an effort to support International Women’s Day, at the beginning of 2019 Ruby Coffee hosted an event which showcased and connected local female entrepreneurs.
The Bottom Line On Ruby Coffee Roasters
Thanks to Ruby, the entire landscape of Wisconsin’s coffee industry has been irrevocably altered. Now, instead of gulping down a cup of bitter coffee that leaves you feeling jittery for hours, you can enjoy a coffee with subtle yet delicious flavors that come from fastidiously selected and delicately dried Rwandan beans.
If you find you can’t get up to Wisconsin, you can always purchase Ruby specialty coffee online here. In addition to coffee, Ruby sells merchandise and tea.
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