Location: Annapolis, Md.
Founded: 2002
Where to get it: Ceremony's roastery and shop or Caffé Pronto in Annapolis, Md.; coffee shops nationwide, but primarily on the East Coast; online at ceremonycoffee.com
Roaster recommends: Ethiopia Sidamo Azmera. It's a naturally processed coffee (in which the fruit dries around the bean, giving it a strong berry flavor), described online as "Raspberry and vanilla aromatics. Rosewater and delicate oak in cup, candy sweetness with cherry acidity." It's best brewed as a Hario v60 pour over.

You're not likely to see Ceremony playing the role of the new Starbucks, with a shop on every corner, any time soon. Its coffee is carried in shops in places as far away as Hong Kong but maintaining quality standards takes precedence over business growth. The company isn't afraid to cut back on the number of coffees it offers at any time if they aren't up to par. According to design and marketing manager Josh Harding, Ceremony rejects about 95 to 98 percent of the coffees it gets in.

Then it lets the product shine, avoiding the type of dark roasts that, much like a well-done steak, cook out unique flavors. With these firm quality standards and educational programs like twice-monthly cuppings, the intention is clear: "We definitely aim to raise the...level of what [people] should be expecting from their coffee," Harding says.

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