Did you know there is a new coffee roaster in the Triangle? Back Alley Coffee Roasters is a small batch roaster located just north of Wake Forest in Youngsville, NC. Back Alley was started by local resident Tracy McKenzie after 10 years of home roasting and sharing his coffee with friends. I recently had the pleasure of sampling three of Back Alley’s current offerings with coffee from (Kenya, Ethiopia, and Costa Rica). I enjoyed experimenting with all three using the traditional drip, pour over and the AeroPress method. All three coffees arrived extremely fresh (just roasted days prior) and I found each made for a unique and delicious cup of coffee. The Costa Rica made for a clean cup with a smooth finish, while the Ethiopian features I slightly earthier sweeter flavor. The Kenyan was the darkest of the three roasts and I found that in addition to a great pour-over it worked great for pulling shots of espresso to make a full bodied cappuccino.
So where does the name “Back Alley Roasters” come from? As Tracy explains it, after learning of his love for coffee and several requests from coworkers one day he did a little roasting demonstration for his colleagues at work. He set up in the alleyway between two office buildings at work and while the smoke billowed from the roasting beans, they talked about the finer points of roasting over pour over coffees. Someone came out of the building and warned them that the bass was going to hear all the commotion to which somebody replied “We’re just roasting in the Back Alley!” and hence the name of Back Alley Coffee Roasters was born!