Location: Santa Cruz, Calif.
Where to get it: Verve's coffee shops in Santa Cruz; select coffee shops nationwide, including Single Origin in Los Angeles and Zinc Bar in New York; online at vervecoffeeroasters.com
Roaster recommends: Kenya Chorongi. Described as super balanced with an "incredible sweetness" and tropical fruit flavors, it's best brewed with a Chemex.
"We always look at sweetness first," Verve founder Ryan O'Donovan says of his company's coffee-buying philosophy, and customers will find that the roaster's coffees emphasize flavor notes like milk chocolate and juicy fruits. As it happens, pretty much everything about Verve can be described as sweet, from the coffees they source to their laid-back California culture.
O'Donovan and co-founder Colby Barr chose their location specifically for its proximity to great surfing and mountain biking, and they roast their beans in the same building as a skateboard company. In recent years, they've hosted the regional finals for the U.S. Barista Championship, giving all the competitors a custom Verve deck (you can buy an extra one of your own online).
But even if you can't stop by one of the three Santa Cruz shops, you can easily get a taste of what Verve has to offer on its website, which features an awesome instructional video series from championship barista and skate enthusiast Chris Baca, as well as free shipping on all orders.