There are two reasons to love Lofted: the quality and the price. Lofted is basically the definition of value. God dammit, I love Lofted Coffee . If you want to blindly trust me  then buy it now online here or better yet hunt it down in person at one of these locations.
“Best roaster in NYC” is the instant response I got when I asked baristas at Joe Pro about Lofted. That title is relatively easy though. After spending a year drinking Lofted, I think they deserve a title closer to “best roaster on this continent”. tl;dr Lofted Coffee is FIRE.
Lofted’s goal is to makes their coffee transparent. That means that when you taste their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, you are tasting an ideal representation of Yirgacheffe with all the purity and depth that can come from that style. They are known for their quality control. If they sample beans that have even a few off flavors that other roasters would “roast out” then they just won’t buy those beans. The barristas at Joe Pro told me that they trust every bag of Lofted to be perfect because they know that Lofted would rather take a hit on their costs than put out anything less than ideal coffee.
Lofted Coffee is also the cheapest quality coffee you can buy. Obviously that excludes the months old, pre-ground, burnt, hot-trash-in-a-bag that places like Starbucks and Trader Joe’s will sell you. That isn't quality coffee. But Lofted is also cheaper than whatever mediocre, spent-more-money-on-branding-than-roasting beans your premium third wave coffee shop is selling.
In some ways the price could make sense. They don’t have a big name, any overhead , or marketing. But, no, it doesn’t make sense because Lofted only buys the best green coffee. They are buying high and selling low. They are making incredible coffee, selling it unreasonably cheaply, and I just… I can hear their hearts breaking. This is a product that people should be lining up for. Instead they line up for low quality at high prices.
I mentioned quality and price but you could also love Lofted because of the people behind it. I had a chance to sit down and talk with Lance from Lofted and, my god, he cares about coffee with every ounce of his soul. Basically, you want Lance to roast your coffee. He is excited, you should be excited.
I had a chance to sit down with Lance, (one half of Lofted Coffee) and learn more about... well... everything. Tobin and Lance (aka Lofted Coffee) have been in the coffee world for more than 10 years. At the start of their careers they saw premium coffee shops using zero technology, not even using scales to weigh beans. Now coffee is a new world and good shops with good baristas will use tools like refractometers to dial in the perfect recipe for ideal extraction from each type of bean.
There are things that aggravate Lance: coffee commoditization, third wave coffee  , cold brew, larger roasters, the NYC coffee market , close-minded American coffee roasters, old coffee , the economics of NYC coffee shops , and especially that so few people love coffee even half as much as he does. Yes. That is a long list of things. But you should expect that from a guy who is pouring his heart and wallet into making something wonderful and struggling to get customers.
When it comes to places that actually sell Lofted, there just aren’t that many options. It is just hard to get a coffee shop with staff willing to brew coffee correctly and know the difference. In NYC there is Búðin, Joe Pro, Strange Ways… a handful of others. But Lance feels like he has maxed out the available channels for Lofted.
That said there is a lot that makes Lance happy -
- New technology - Lance can track his roasting development on a computer and he can develop his coffee within a degree of where he wants it to be 
- New advances at the farms - farmers only just started separating lots by varietal, it costs a lot, but it wasn’t even possible to find these flavor profiles before
- Importers - Small batch roasters like Lance couldn’t get their hands on good beans just a few years ago, now small independent importers have made small batch roasting really possible
- The London Coffee Scene - NY is crawling, the West Coast is stalled, but London? London is running forward at full speed
- Ethiopian Coffee - Lance doesn’t even hesitate “Ethiopian coffee is the best coffee in the world… it is the only true heirloom coffee… wild coffee only exists in Ethiopia”
- The Kalita Wave - “Everyone would be brewing my coffee on the Kalita Wave if I had my way”. It is a tiny pour over with a flat bottom so you get really high, consistent extraction with the best clarity and cleanliness . It costs only $22, I just bought one. Maybe you should click here and try it yourself
- Farmigo and Goodeggs - Maybe? We are trying to convince Lance to connect with them and start selling through a few more channels so that more people can enjoy Lofted. Fingers crossed that it will work out
- Coffee - The man just loves coffee, wants to make it the best he can, and wants you to love it
There is alot to be excited about. I’m excited. Lance dreams of opening a coffee shop/roastery where he can share what he loves directly with the people. We talked about using techniques from chemistry to make iced coffee extract more efficiently and maybe make cold coffee into something delicious. Coffee culture is accelerating and it is getting harder to keep,but something this good is an obvious choice. Do something good for he world, Lance, and yourself: try some Lofted Coffee. If you can’t get some right away then at least check out this article from Sprudge to learn more about Lance and Tobin and see where I stole that great picture with the cat from.
Honestly, I don’t even know who you are, but I wish I could make you a cup of Lofted just so you could taste it and appreciate how much better your coffee can be. Listen stranger, I would hand grind beans, break out the aeropress, and brew you some deliciousness, even though I don’t know who you are. Let me know, we will make it happen ↩
Please do that. That would be so cool ↩
Joe pro on 21st and 6th ave is just hands down the best coffee shop in Manhattan. Get an espresso. If you can claim to know a better one I would love to hear it. Joe Pro just isn’t even trying to make money. And, of course, it is nothing at all like the normal Joe Coffee shops which get and deserve every single one of my what the fucks ↩
Yes, they really do roast out of the same loft that they live in. I mean it. NO OVERHEAD ↩
And their big stupid chocolatey coffee, the fact that they don’t even try for real precision, and the way they are comfortable stagnating ↩
Just not thrilled with the cold brew craze, when you cold brew you can only get to like 16–17% extraction (instead of the 25% it should be)- it’s cold, there is no agitation. Most cold brews are made with two year old beans. But even with a good bean cold brew made the standard way isn’t going to really represent the potential flavors available ↩
Especially well funded ones moving in right down the street and bulk roasting broke-ass coffee ↩
Lofted has already tapped out everywhere and the market willing to try something new and delicious just isn’t big enough ↩
The coffee community, especially in NYC, is painfully non-collaborative. Scandinavia has been doing more to share learnings about the best ways to roast and brew coffee, but in the US every thing is a closely guarded secret and no one is willing to help anyone else improve ↩
“The woody characteristics you get in coffee are just age. They develop as the beans lose moisture content. Once you pick up on that it ruins you to 95% of the coffee out there… it tastes like chewing on sticks” ↩
Lance says that real estate in Manhattan really is just too expensive for a great coffee shop to make money ↩
Lance can taste the difference between a coffee that has been roasted at 397 and 398. Your mouth is stupid and dumb by comparison ↩
Columbian coffees are his baby though. Lance loves how approachable Columbian coffees are ↩
The mouth feel is instantly and obviously smoother than Aeropress ↩