Roast Inc. Closes Coffeehouse But Rolls Out New Product: Bottled Cold-Brewed Coffee



Here's some news from my Food Biz column this week (in the print edition of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post):

Roast Inc., the family-owned coffee roasting company on Trousdale Lane in the Crieve Hall neighborhood, has closed the retail coffeehouse side of the operation to concentrate on catering and wholesale. At the same time, the company is introducing a unique new local product: cold-brewed coffee in a bottle, which will be sold at Whole Foods and three local farmers’ markets.

Lesa and Brad Wood opened the cafe in 2010 to showcase their beans, which Brad purchases from “microlots” produced by single small estates in Central and South America, Indonesia and Africa. Lesa handles the craft of roasting, and she’s the one who ran the coffeehouse, specializing in brewing by the cup using artisan methods. (The coffeehouse celebrated its one-year anniversary with a renovation that made it an even nicer spot to sip a well-sourced, well-roasted coffee brewed by the cup.)

But the success of the wholesale and catering side of the business far outpaced the retail, Lesa told me. For one thing, Roast Inc. secured a deal in late 2011 to supply coffee beans to both local Whole Foods stores. To accommodate the demand, Lesa opened a separate roasting facility in February, a few doors down from the cafe in the same strip on Trousdale.

A couple weeks ago, Wood simply shut down the coffeehouse so she could concentrate on the other aspects of the business, working out of the roastery alone. The lease on the store space was up, she says, and the neighborhood is a bit too isolated to generate the retail traffic to support a coffeehouse.

“But we didn’t want to leave the Crieve Hall customers high and dry,” she says. So every Friday from noon to 5 p.m. she and a barista open up the roasting facility to customers so people can sip free samples of the different coffees and buy beans.

And now, customers can also pick up chilled bottles of Roast Inc. Cold-Filtered Coffee. She said it comes in two varieties: black coffee and a Vietnamese-style version made with sweetened milk. The bottled coffee will soon be sold at Whole Foods, too.

The roastery is at 4825 Trousdale Drive, suite 218. Roast Inc. also sells at the 12South Farmers Market (3:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays), the East Nashville Farmers’ Market (3:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays) and the Franklin Farmers Market (8 to 1 p.m. Saturdays).

For updates, follow Roast Inc. on Facebook or Twitter, or email lesa(at) to sign up for the weekly newsletter.

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