The Roastery of Cave Creek

The facility serves more community than coffee

By Devan Sauer

In the high hills of Cave Creek lies the town’s only roastery, the Roastery of Cave Creek. Surrounding ROC2, as it’s affectionately known, is the smell of the morning pot of brewing coffee, with subtle hints of chocolate.

ROC2’s only roastery is a small, industrial-looking building with a shipping container in its parking lot. It distributes coffee to at least 50 Valley restaurants like Richardson’s Cuisine of New Mexico in Phoenix, Matt’s Big Breakfast’s Valley locations and Tarbell’s in Phoenix.

The roastery is the brainchild of David Anderson, who is aided by his wife, Alison, and his small crew of employees.

Anderson is coffee business veteran, having worked in the industry for more than two decades. He was working at Hughes Aircraft Company on the East Coast, before he quit to move with his parents to Cave Creek in 1997.

He was tired of wearing a suit every day. In 1998, he opened the Cave Creek Coffee Company and Wine Bar. What started as a local coffeehouse expanded into a wholesale business within a few years.

“I had a bit of mad scientist in me and I wanted to roast,” Anderson says. “So I wanted to roast my own coffee and bought a small coffee roaster.”

In 2007, Anderson sold the coffeehouse’s retail portion to devote his time to the wholesale business, and the Roastery of Cave Creek was born.

Coffee culture

Enthusiastic and passionate about his craft, Anderson ensures his staff is just as knowledgeable about the coffee.

Anderson has traveled throughout Central and South America to source coffee beans and learn about growing the beans for ROC2. A couple of his employees went to Peru last year, and another trip is planned for Guatemala early next year.

Growing coffee beans is a meticulous and labor-intensive process. The berries that hold the coffee bean resemble green olives before they ripen and turn red like a cranberry. According to Alison, these fruits don’t ripen at the same time, so the farmers have to hand pick the berries.

“I think the general public doesn’t realize the toil that goes into a cup of coffee,” Alison says. “It’s a relatively inexpensive indulgence for most people.”

Anderson and his staff pick the ripe berries and dry and clean the coffee beans.

“I knew that by sending staff down there, they would come back with a much deeper respect for what we’re doing,” Anderson says.

The staff’s knowledge is then shared with the guests who walk in the building. Many who visit want a latte. However, the staff welcomes them, gives them a tour of the roastery, explains the roasting process, and then sends them on their way with a complimentary bag of coffee.

Anderson has a bar-like set up is the ideal place for employees to chat with guests about coffee and share samples of ROC2’s cold brew.

The roasting

The roasting process begins outside the roastery, in the shipping container Anderson had built specifically for ROC2. The roastery’s needs outgrew the building’s capacity, and Anderson needed somewhere to store his coffee bean inventory.

In a month, the shipping container was transformed into an insulated storage unit to hold hundreds of pounds of coffee beans.

ROC2’s main room houses the three large roasters that roast the bulk of the coffee beans, which start out earthy green. They are then roasted at 400 to 450 degrees until they turn dark brown.

ROC2 also has a miniature roaster for 3-ounce tasters. It allows Anderson to roast coffee beans at different temperatures to find the perfect roast.

The cold brew production is in a separate room adjacent to the main storefront. ROC2 sells its cold brew in cans or in refillable 32-ounce growlers. ROC2 also sells kegs of its nitro cold brew, which is gaining popularity at restaurants and office buildings

Dubbed Black and Tan, the medium roast is ROC2’s signature blend, but they also have plenty of other blends that Anderson created. The dark roast Cowboy was created in 1997, followed by the lighter roast, the Cowgirl.

In a hurry? Anderson has a small inventory in a metal box outside of the roastery.

The miniature store keeps a small selection of the roastery’s most popular blends. It works on an honor system where people can leave money in a slot titled “karma.”

Anderson jokingly says they only have one rule: patrons have five years to pay back their coffee debts.

For the most part, guests will pay their dues and then some. Anderson has held onto many notes from the “karma” bin. One claimed ROC2 restored their faith in humanity.

“You give people the opportunity to do the right thing, they usually do,” Anderson says.

Community

Cave Creek’s quirky and diverse community is why Anderson has kept his roastery open.

Anderson and Alison meet people at the store from all over the state and country. Anderson told the story of an Apache Junction man who rode his scooter to Cave Creek just to get coffee. Anderson gave it to him for free.

Anderson says he understands he is connecting the community and brightening guests’ day.

“We’re serving more community than we are coffee here,” Anderson says. 

The Roastery of Cave Creek

7003 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek

480-488-6060, roc2.coffee

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