Embracing its urban origins and agricultural ties, Irving Farm has been serving New York since 1996.
When Irving Farm Co-Founders David Elwell and Steve Leven (below) first started, specialty coffee was just getting going. Twenty years later, this New York roaster is showing no signs of slowing down.
How did Irving Farm get started roasting?
Our founders Steve and David wanted our company to be more involved in the process. This was a time when New York City’s only roasters were big family establishments who had been roasting for years. Steve and David converted a carriage house on a farm upstate into a space to roast and learned, yielding our first roasts.
What is the biggest change in specialty coffee since you started?
The biggest change we have seen in specialty coffee is the huge increase in consumers drinking it. According to the SCA, the number of people drinking specialty has seen double digit growth in just the last five years. This has led to a huge leap in the quality of the coffee you can drink on any corner now. Because there has been an increase in the transparency practiced around sourcing strategy, farmers have been enabled and empowered to deliver superior quality from their harvests. In turn, we have been challenged to step up our roasting to match them in creating our best possible product.
How do you approach sustainability?
We compost and recycle at our cafés, using corn straws and biodegradable cups. We also roast on a Diedrich roaster which uses 30 percent less gas than other roasters, for 30 percent less emissions. We strive to work with producers who use sustainable farming practices.
Tell us about your roasting facility.
Our Roastery is a state-of-the-art facility in Millerton, New York, two hours outside NYC. It’s optimized for efficient workflow and was built to green building specifications. It offers the most efficient roasting technology on the market and is a great platform for our program of roast-to-order coffee.
What makes your cold brew special?
Our cold brew facility within our Roastery has specially built Corson distilling tanks and a reverse-osmosis engineered water system to optimize the flavor profile of the coffees we use.