Roastery Breakdown: Orgullo Coffee in Austin, Texas

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The Roastery Breakdown series is presented by our partner, Loring.

Marco Fuentes and Brigid Shaw were drinking Folgers in Brooklyn when Fuentes’ mother introduced them to Honduran specialty coffee. 

“She’d bring us all these different varieties, and we’d never had anything like it before,” said Shaw. “We noticed there was nothing like it in any of the grocery stores around town.” 

The couple started dreaming up an idea for a new coffee roasting company that would exclusively source specialty coffee from farmers in Fuentes’ native Honduras. They decided to name the company Orgullo, which means “pride” in Spanish. The only problem? Neither had prior coffee experience. 

“We loved coffee, but we came in as outsiders who didn’t really know anything,” said Fuentes. 

The duo started Orgullo Coffee as a side project in May 2022, collaborating with a toll roasting collective in Queens that would roast, bag, and label the coffee for them. But when that facility tragically caught fire a few weeks later, Fuentes and Shaw took it as a sign to follow a dream and move their lives (and their newly founded roasting company) to Austin, Texas.

Brigid Shaw and Marco Fuentes of Orgullo Coffee.

Once settled, they started researching and discovered Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, a co-roasting space in South Austin. Founded by Sara Gibson and Kimberly Zash, Rising Tide offers shared equipment, space, resources, and education to anyone interested in roasting. 

Drawing inspiration from their previous production roles at Greater Goods Coffee and Third Coast Coffee, Gibson and Zash started Rising Tide to make roasting more accessible to beginners like Fuentes and Shaw. Although they initially intended to partner with a toll roaster, Rising Tide’s welcoming and accessible atmosphere inspired the Orgullo team to learn how to roast their own coffee. 

“We wanted to be more in tune with our product,” said Fuentes. “Not being coffee professionals from the get-go, we felt like learning to roast was the best way to do it.” 

Orgullo is one of 15 micro-roasting companies operating out of Rising Tide’s co-roasting space. Monday through Friday, baristas, green buyers, roasters, and home enthusiasts hang out, talk shop, and work on their individual coffee projects. The model challenges the gatekeeping nature of roasters’ past and requires a continual commitment to openness, community, and healthy communication. 

Fast Facts

Roastery location: Warehouse in South Austin
Square footage: 2,000 square feet
Pounds roasted: about 1,700 pounds weekly at Rising Tide, 50-100 pounds monthly for Orgullo
Number of co-roasting clients: About 15 at any given time, ranging in size and experience

A Roaster For Every Reason

Rising Tide features two large-scale roasters, two sample roasters, and a variety of home roasting machines. Members can select their equipment based on experience, batch size, and preference. Orgullo initially selected to work with the Arc800, an 800-gram roaster by Showroom Coffee, for its small capacity (it can roast between 100-800 grams) and intuitive user interface. The machine allows users to make automatic adjustments or control the machine manually. The Arc800 is designed with the same capabilities as a drum roaster,  making it a good choice for beginners who dream of scaling up to larger machines. 

Fuentes and Shaw caught on to roasting quickly, and the couple experimented with small batches for the local farmers’ market. As their customer base grew, Orgullo graduated to roasting larger batches bi-weekly on the MCR-10 by Mill City. Although the two machines are very similar, the MCR-10 requires a deeper understanding of the roasting process, which Fuentes and Shaw gained after taking classes at Rising Tide. 

“We learned everything we know from Kimberly,” Fuentes said. “We couldn’t have done it without her.” 

Organization Reigns Supreme

Rising Tide is a shared space that requires organization. Zash keeps a detailed calendar of clients and resources, and most roasters maintain a regular weekly schedule. Orgullo is one of Rising Tide’s smaller clients, roasting between 50 and 100 pounds of coffee monthly. While many roasting cooperatives charge a monthly member fee, Rising Tide charges an hourly rate for each reservation instead. 

“A lot of the smaller guys can’t really afford that kind of membership fee right off the bat,” said Gibson. “We want to be affordable for beginners.” 

The Roaster Sample Pack: Rising Tide features a few sample roasters for folks to choose from: an Ikawa V2-PRO 50 gram and Kaffelogic Nano 7. Gibson and Zash frequently roast samples and cup alongside their members, assisting with coffee selection, writing flavor notes, and adjusting profiles to optimize flavor and balance. Orgullo prefers the Ikawa.

The Heavy Lifters: The majority of large-batch roasting happens on a newly acquired and gently used Diedrich CR25 (1) 

“It’s a workhorse,” said Gibson, who notes that while Rising Tide has access to great machinery, the collective’s investment in education is what helps make their clients’ businesses thrive. “Honestly I think any coffee roaster is making excellent coffee as long as you have someone who knows what they’re doing behind the controls.”. The MCR-10 (2) and Arc-800 are the go-tos for midsize batches. 

Pallets on Pallets: Rising Tide helps roasters source and store their green coffee, and each client has their own designated space. Orgullo roasts just three single-origin Honduran coffees, so their space (3) is significantly smaller than that of their larger space-mates. 

Neat and Tidy: From the shipping label printer to the sealer, each piece of equipment is arranged according to the order of operations. A wall of colorful cartons holds (4) the private labels for each brand. “I’m always thinking about flow and efficiency,” said Zash. “We’re always subtly rearranging for that.” 

A Touch of Automation: For larger volume accounts, the Weigh Right automatic scale (5) makes packing and filling a breeze. Users fill the hopper with coffee, program the desired weight (12 ounces, 2 pounds, etc.) into the machine, then press a foot pedal to dispense beans directly into the packaging. Smaller clients use the metal tables to weigh and fill by hand. 

Home is Where the Coffee Is: As self-proclaimed “everyday coffee drinkers,” Fuentes and Shaw taste their coffee as their customers might: home brewing as drip, cold brew, and espresso. At Rising Tide, members can try their coffee on an espresso machine, automatic drip machine, Chemex, Clever dripper, V60, and many more brewing devices. 

Step Inside the Coffee Classroom

Education has always been part of Rising Tide’s plan. From the day they opened their doors, Zash and Gibson knew that teaching enthusiastic beginners how to roast would be at the forefront of their operation. 

In the back of the warehouse space is a large conference table with chairs, a projector, and a color printer. They also provide access to Le Nez du Cafe and Scentone aromas kits for training, cupping equipment, brewing equipment, and a La Marzocco espresso machine so roasters can test their roasts. (Disclaimer: the author occasionally teaches public and private barista classes out of this space.) 

“For something as community-oriented as coffee, there’s not a ton of accessibility when it comes to equipment and education,” said Gibson. “We’re here for the diverse, creative, passion-driven people who have a dream and just go for it.” 

This ethos attracted Orgullo, plus countless others who have taken classes, borrowed equipment, and spent time at Rising Tide, to follow their coffee dreams and make them a reality. Orgullo is growing fast, hoping to transition from working with importers via Rising Tide to sourcing directly from Honduran farmers. 

“It turns out one of my childhood friends actually became a coffee farmer,” said Fuentes. “Ideally, we can partner with him and other farmers to show our community in the States how amazing Honduran coffee can be.” 

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Miranda Haney

Miranda Haney (she/her) is a writer, musician, and coffee teacher based in Austin, Texas. She’s currently the head trainer and events coordinator for Greater Goods Coffee. When she’s not doing coffee things, she’s probably running a marathon (or something crazy like that).

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