Black Coffee Roasting Co: A Commitment to Environment and People

Brett "Grandpa" Kretzer

“Sometimes it’s easier to just put a few sticks in your bag and know that no matter what happens or where you are, you can drink a good cup of coffee.”

- James Chapman, Co-founder, Black Coffee Roasting Company



Black Coffee Roasting Company is a small coffee business based in Missoula, Montana. Their passion for coffee spans the entire spectrum of the industry - from whole beans to instant, and from the farmers all the way up the supply chain to the serene moments spent enjoying a cup of their fine joe. In short, Black Coffee roasters are coffee people, and they’re also people people. 

A Company Is Born

The company was started by James and Ella Chapman along with their business partner, Matt McQuilkin. James, with a background in geography, became enamored with the idea of product production through working with wine during his time as a graduate student. With Ella as an organic farmer, their skill sets seemed to be a match made in heaven for creating a high-quality, earth-grown product. The pair saw a gap in the Montana coffee market with very few local roasters and, after a random yet serendipitous conversation with their now business partner, McQuilkin and the Chapmans decided to make a go for it.


A Win for Small Businesses

James has expressed that his motivation for starting a small business goes beyond his passion for creating a quality product. It puts the power back into the hands of individuals, fosters meaningful connections, and gives consumers more choice.

At the time, and still to this day, I love to see people enter arenas that compete with otherwise centralized markets. We’ve seen a huge shift in industries from centralized to smaller, more personally owned companies in everything from coffee, to beer, to vegetable markets, and even meat stands. I hope this trend continues as it allows smaller companies to work independently and gives consumers far more choice in their ability to help maintain smaller family businesses.

- James Chapman, co-founder, Black Coffee Roasting Co.


People People - Owning Their Responsibility

The Black Coffee Team loves coffee. That’s probably a given. They exalt the experience coffee can provide of bringing one into the present moment - taking in every note and sensation of the bold flavors as well as the surrounding environment. But the experience from your favorite cup of bean juice doesn’t come without an extensive supply chain, of which the Chapmans have witnessed every stage. It’s no secret that most coffee supply chains are seriously flawed, leaving in its wake social injustice, economic instability, and environmental degradation. Black Coffee chooses not to look the other way, but instead to own the responsibility and use it as a reason to take what they do seriously.

Their commitment to organically grown coffee eliminates chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment. They seek to minimize their environmental footprint by utilizing recycled and compostable packaging, as well as incentivizing larger bag purchases (to cut down on waste). They believe that, as a consumable product, the packaging that coffee comes in should disappear almost as fast as the coffee is consumed. Finally, Black Coffee works exclusively with farms, co-ops, and importers who share their mission of positively impacting the communities where they source their coffee.

“Coffee is an oasis, and that is the experience we truly seek to share with each bag and each cup we send out into the world.”

- James Chapman, co-founder, Black Coffee Roasting Co.


A Win For Backpackers

In case you were wondering how you landed in a deep dive of a coffee roasting company on an ultralight backpacking website - here it is! Coffee is a huge morale boost on trail when your spirits are down, the weather has turned, or you just need a boost to crank out the last few miles. Brewing implements are heavy, and most instant coffees suck. Black Coffee Roasting knows this and has provided a solution. After much trial and error, they have dialed in a brew of medium roast instant coffee that is organic and delicious. Even James went through the process of using Starbucks instant packets when time and packing constraints were tight before asking himself “why on earth am I doing this to myself?” In other words, he understands the suffering us coffee-loving backpackers are coming from.

“Sometimes it’s easier to just put a few sticks in your bag and know that no matter what happens or where you are, you can drink a good cup of coffee.”

- James Chapman, Co-founder, Black Coffee Roasting Company



I’ve definitely slugged down my fair share of mediocre instant coffee in the backcountry, but it’s nice to know that companies like Black Coffee are providing a better way. If you’re ready to take your instant (or whole bean) coffee to the next level, check out Black Coffee Roasting Co. You’ll not only be doing your taste buds a solid, but you’ll be positively impacting the environment, the supply chain communities, and supporting a small business run by top-notch humans.



Brett is a bluegrass musician, outdoorsman, and writer currently based in Golden, CO. He's backpacked thousands of miles in the U.S. and Europe and is always on the lookout for the next adventure. When not behind the writing desk, you can find him bagging peaks, climbing rocks, shredding powder, or jamming at a bluegrass festival.



Organic Medium Roast Instant Coffee by Black Coffee Roasting Co. on GGG Garage Grown Gear
Organic Instant Coffee by Black Coffee Roasting Co.



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