More Baton Rouge coffee shops roasting their own beans

(Photography by Andrea Matherne)

As the number of coffee shops in Baton Rouge rises, so does the number of roasters.

If you went to LSU or are from Baton Rouge, you’ve probably heard of Highland Coffees on West Chimes Street and Highland Road. The 32-year-old shop has been roasting its own freshly made coffee since the ‘80s.

Owner Clarke Cadzow has loved coffee and coffee shops since he was in college.

After completing graduate school in Texas and exploring the coffee scene in Austin, he wanted to create a cafe of his own. Following months of research with a friend and New Orleans coffee roaster, he was ready for business. 

“The clock starts ticking the moment the beans are roasted,” Cadzow says. “Coffee loses its freshness and flavor in about two weeks after roasting.”

Highland Coffees takes many steps to ensure its coffee is served at its freshest. Coffee beans are roasted in house five days a week. Bags of coffee are made in small batches and labeled with the roast date for transparency. Customers get to customize their drinks by choosing how light or dark they want their espresso, and can choose from decaf, medium roast, dark roast, blends and flavored coffees. Bags of Highland Coffees coffee are sold at the shop and can be ordered online.

“The ones who deserve the most credit are the farmers,” Cadzow says. The beans are sourced from farms in Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, Peru, Bolivia, Indonesia and Bali via “green” bean distributors.  

Whether more coffee shops want to control the quality of their coffee by self-roasting or just like the trendy look of an in-house roasting machine, the practice is becoming more common for local coffee shops. Places like Brew Ha-Ha!, Cedar House Roasting Co., City Roots Coffee Bar, French Truck Coffee and Reve Coffee Lab all roast beans for their drinks.

When Cadzow first opened Highland Coffees three decades ago, roasting your own coffee wasn’t as common. He didn’t know then that he would be spearheading a movement that continues to evolve.

Now, coffee lovers can sip Baton Rouge-roasted coffee at local shops all over the city and have it mailed to their homes across the country and abroad.

“Coffee shops are a part of the culture,” Cadzow says. 

This story was first published in 225 magazine. Subscribe to the free 225 Daily e-newsletter to keep up with Baton Rouge food and events.