Our Story

Who We Are

64th Street and Hollis, the location of our roasting plant in Emeryville, CAWe are a family-owned and operated coffee roasting company that has been selling specialty coffee in Emeryville, California since 1983. Our mission is to provide outstanding roasted coffee, excellent personalized service and training, and a diverse product selection. We believe that fresh coffee is great coffee, and we only roast a specific coffee when the orders justify roasting a new batch.

We are a close family, and we treat our employees and customers like they are part of our family. We truly value the close relationships we have with many of our customers. It's one of the great pleasures of our day-to-day work. We put our hearts into creating great products, and it is so rewarding to see how excited our customers are about our coffee.

The McLaughlin Story

Mike, visiting farms in Sumatra in 1987

In 1983, Bay Area native, Mike McLaughlin, was heading into his 20th year as a teacher in the Richmond Unified School District. Barbara, his wife, was a stay-at-home mom taking care of their two young sons, Mark and Shaun. They were struggling to make a living on a teacher's salary. Family was very important to Mike and Barbara, and they had dreams of providing a better life for their kids.

Mike's brother and cousin, Pete and Bob, had been in the coffee importing business for a number of years at that point, and they were growing Royal Coffee at a rapid pace. In June of 1983, Pete and Bob approached Mike to see if he would be interested in becoming a coffee roaster. Mike had absolutely no experience in roasting coffee, but Pete and Bob already had a customer lined up who was ready to start ordering. Mike and Barbara had a quick and hard decision to make. Did they take a risk and leave the security of teaching to try roasting coffee for a living? After a long sleepless night of weighing pros and cons, they decided to take the risk.

In the early 80’s, the coffee industry was nothing like it is today. The high standards associated with specialty coffee were almost non-existent. Together, Mike, Pete, and Bob had a vision of what the coffee industry could become. Mike made a deal with a local business owner in Emeryville to use his small warehouse space during off-hours in exchange for Mike teaching him how to roast coffee. Mike learned to roast on a used peanut roaster, which had the capacity of roasting ten pounds per batch.

Little by little, he perfected his roasting techniques and slowly accumulated a devoted clientele. In the meantime, Barbara, who hadn’t known a debit from a credit, learned all she could about business practices and eventually developed the internal business structure for the company. Something special was brewing in the coffee industry.

Mike, Pete, and Bob made the commitment that they would never compromise on the quality of the beans they would import and roast. To this day, Mike has upheld that standard, which has allowed McLaughlin Coffee Roasting Company to become one of the highest-quality coffee institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Barbara, Mike, Mark, and Shaun at the Walk In The Wild at the Oakland Zoo

39 years and a pandemic later, Shaun and Mark are now running the business and Barbara is still contributing to the operations a few days per week. Mike swings by from time to time to say hi to his extended work family. Together, Shaun, who started full-time in 2003, and Mark, who started full-time in 2008, have over 30 years of combined experience in the business and are both carrying on the legacy that Mike started in that little warehouse in Emeryville.

Some of Shaun’s fondest childhood memories are jumping around on the burlap coffee bags, helping scoop green beans into the small batch roaster and being a delivery driver during a high school summer break. One could argue that his entire life has been surrounded by coffee.

Mark never dreamed he would be in the coffee business. He decided to make it on his own in Silicon Valley in the early 2000's. He loved engineering but didn't enjoy the stressful environment, and is so happy that he made the jump from tech to coffee.

Family Values

Mike, Mark, and Shaun McLaughlin in their roasting plant in Emeryville

When you meet our family, you will immediately recognize our passion for coffee, the importance of integrity in our business practices, and our desire to create long-lasting friendships through business. This passion is seen in our desire to ensure that all our customers get the best tasting coffee we can get our hands on. We strongly believe in roasting and brewing coffee in the way that best represents each individual coffee variety. Our commitment to provide our customers with the freshest coffee possible has really put us on the specialty coffee roasting map.

Our integrity stems from our foundation of strong family values. Our family is an extremely tight group, and that carries over to our business sense. We recognize that there are many families involved in providing the end user with a great cup of coffee. It is not just the fourteen employees at McLaughlin Coffee who create that splendid cup that you enjoy every morning. It starts with the farmers, and includes the exporters, the importers, us as the roaster, the café owners and the consumers of the coffee. We believe it is important to remember that every time you enjoy your daily cup of coffee, you are helping all of the people in the coffee supply chain provide a better life for themselves and their families.

Shaun and Snake admiring our new car stickerThe one thing that makes the McLaughlin family unique is our passion for creating great friendships through business. When you do business with us, you become a part of our family. We all work hard to provide for ourselves and our families, but we feel it is important to have fun along the way. We treasure the close relationships we have with many of our customers, ones that extend far beyond business. We are all about enjoying life with those we care about.

We would love to hear from you to answer any questions you may have.  Please contact us at info@mclaughlincoffee.com. We'll get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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