In Seattle in 1985, co-founders Todd Carmichael and Jean Philippe (JP) Iberti joined forces and decided to establish a high-quality American roasting operation on the East Coast -- in Philadelphia of all places. What followed were many national accolades, as there were few places give domestic coffee roasting (and sourcing) the kind of attention it gets today.
Since those days in the 1990s, elitist coffee purveyors have become a dime-a-dozen, and La Colombe often gets (unjustifiably) relegated to the "Second Wave" category of roasters and coffeehouses along with the likes of Starbucks and Peet's. (Call 'em "Wave 2.5".) But just because La Colombe still believes in quality blending and not roasting all coffee to taste like hibiscus and blueberries doesn't mean the quality is dated here.
They also support a wholesale business that distributes well beyond their coffeehouse locations in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Seoul.
In 2015, the company was sold to Chobani yogurt CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, as the company's sole investor and majority owner.