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Retrograde Coffee Roasters Takes Coffee Back to Basics

By Elisha Neubauer

Any coffee lover will tell you coffee is more than just a drink: it's a lifestyle choice. You don't just drink coffee, you enjoy it. You savor it. For Danielle Connor and Casey Lanski, owners of Retrograde Coffee Roasters in Sebastopol, California, taking coffee back to the basics seemed like a no-brainer.

The founders of Retrograde Coffee Roasters first got their start three years ago, by roasting coffee out of their home kitchen. Each roast was a small batch, with handmade provisions, allowing the pair to fine tune their classic brew methods with a paramount precision.

Today, they utilize the same methods in their brick and mortar shop in downtown Sebastopol.

Connor and her partner have both worked in the specialty coffee and hospitality industry for over 12 years. Opening their own location was always a dream, but they had a specific concept in mind. Luckily, they were able to achieve their conceptual ideas with the launch of Retrograde Coffee Roasters.

"We always wanted to open up a coffee house with a warm, welcoming environment providing an unmatched service experience with consistently well-crafted beverages," Connor said.

The shop crafts as many things in-house as possible. Everything from flavored coffee syrups to chai and house-made hemp-coconut milk is created painstakingly by hand.

"We take great pride in crafting our provisions using wholesome ingredients sourced locally from Sonoma County whenever possible," Connor said.

Retrograde Coffee Roasters is a warm, welcoming environment. The décor has a natural feel, with a reclaimed wood counter and wooden floors, warm orange wall, and lots of plants. Wanting a connection to the community, the shop hosts a new local artist each month. As every artist has their own unique style, the feel of the shop seems to change with every new individual.

"We have a large communal table in the center of our shop where people will come to study, play board games, or just hang out and chat amongst one another," Connor said. "It's great to see our guests make friends with other patrons they've met here or run into a friend they weren't expecting to see."

Local sourcing of ingredients is important to Connor and her partner, who believe It's important to source coffee from local importing companies and source other ingredients from local farmers and other small businesses whenever possible.

"Spending money locally with other small businesses keeps more of our money in the local economy," Connor said. "It also makes our economy more self-sufficient, allowing new small businesses to pop up and makes for a more vibrant community."

Photo credit: Ghostfotographics, Christopher Sturm
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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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