So will people buy it?
Whether this type of operation can scale to a level that's reasonable for the average farmer, roaster, and consumer is yet to be seen, but market viability be damned, the American coffee industry is here. Mark cites 16 established farms, with a dozen more launching in the coming months. Still, everyone we talked to expressed skepticism that the market could become truly viable.
“There's a great sense of joy and excitement. There's a lot of splash and story and romance, but the question is if its realistic,” says Shawn.
The bottom line is still the major problem. It takes a very special type of coffee nerd to pay $50 for a bag of American coffee that isn't as good as a $20 bag from Ethiopia. That said, some farms are already making the numbers work.