New brew goes local

April 05, 2012 07:57 am

An old business is brewing under new ownership in Tuolumne County.

Andrew and Laurie Riehl are the new owners of Mother Lode Coffee Roasting Co. off Tuolumne Road. They bought the business from Steve and Linda Ritz, who established the business in 1993.

The company specializes in roasting fresh batches of coffee beans for retail markets and grocery stores in the Sierra foothills, Modesto and the Bay Area.


“We’re just trying to put some new blood into the company,” Laurie Riehl said.

She said most local grocery stores carry their brand, and it is also a popular coffee in specialty shops in Berkeley and San Francisco.

Mother Lode Coffee Roasting makes bulk orders and sells beans from half-pound packages all the way up to 5-pound bags.

Andrew Riehl, who holds a cooking degree from the Johnson and Wales Culinary School, said they roast about a ton of coffee a week that ships by Fedex to customers large and small.

Riehl said that coffee, like fine wines, have varietals. He said their most popular flavors of coffee are breakfast blend, Gold Run Blend, 49er Blend and organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, which is a free trade coffee.

The company roasts beans from equatorial regions all over the world. Many of their raw beans come from major coffee producing countries in South and Central America like Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Other shipments come from as far away as Sumatra, New Guinea or, of course, Java.

What sets their company apart from larger coffee companies is that there is less time between when the coffee beans leave the roaster and go into your cup. He said coffee tastes better when it is fresh.

“That’s why people love our coffee so much, because it’s fresh,” Andrew Riehl said. “You don’t eat stale bread, why drink stale coffee?”

He places the beans in a large metal hopper which is heated by 72 propane burners to a temperature of 460 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes about two hours to roast up to 200 pounds of coffee beans at a time.

The company has two employees and can often be seen slinging beans at the Sonora Farmers Market.

For more information, visit Mother Lode Coffee Roasting’s website at

Contact Ryan Campbell at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 588-4526.