New York Times: Mr. Coffee


How one San Francisco man turned his jones for java into a booming business.

Ten years ago, James Freeman was roasting his own coffee beans on a baking pan in his Oakland, Calif., kitchen. Today the former clarinet player and owner of Blue Bottle outposts in the Bay Area and Brooklyn (Williamsburg, naturally) is the leader of the artisanal Japanese-style, slow-drip brewing movement. Using organic, shade-grown beans that are sold within 48 hours of roasting, Freeman and his wife, Caitlin, a pastry chef, are converting customers one perfectly brewed cup of joe at a time. About his cult status among the caffeinated, he maintains an aw-shucks attitude. ‘‘I got burned out on the music playing,’’ he said. ‘‘This was my wacky Plan B.’

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