Welcome to the DiscoverNEPA Coffee Club, a series for anyone who loves the smell of freshly roasted beans and the warmth of a steaming mug in their hands. We’re visiting NEPA’s local coffee shops and giving you an inside look at all they have to offer, from handcrafted drinks to cool spaces to work and hang out. Join us and discover your new favorite spot for a caffeine fix.
From the Bean to the Brew
Grateful Roast sources coffee from around the world and roasts it in-house in Nanticoke.
Brian Williams, owner of Grateful Roast, grew up in Portland, Oregon, where coffee shops are a hub of daily life and cool, rainy days were made for espresso. When he moved to NEPA in 2000, the area didn’t have anything close to the coffee culture of the Pacific Northwest. If no one in the region was brewing specialty coffee, he would just have to do it himself. He bought a roaster and began roasting beans on his sunporch.
The at-home operation became a full-blown business when Brian and his wife, Sarah, opened Grateful Roast Café and Coffee Roaster in Nanticoke in 2016. The cool, trendy vibe and the splash of colorful, fun décor (a perfect fit for the shop’s namesake, The Grateful Dead) make it all seem effortless, but the years spent bootstrapping it definitely paid off. As soon as you take a sip, you can tell that Grateful Roast has mastered the craft of coffee roasting.
Wake up, smell the beans and join us for a look at all that Grateful Roast has to offer.
You Can’t Get Much Fresher Than This
All the magic happens under one roof, from the moment they pour the beans into the roaster to when the baristas add the last swirl of milk.
When you walk into the café, you can’t help but notice the massive roasting machine and burlap sacks of beans right near the entrance. And if they’re roasting that day, the warm, nutty aroma is enough to make you perk up as soon as you come through the door.
Grateful Roast works with coffee experts who buy beans from around the world. They often pay three to five times higher than the typical going rate, which helps with sustainability efforts. It ends up being a win-win: the coffee farmers receive fair living wages, and Grateful Roast receives a high-quality product to share with their customers.
Once the coffee arrives in Nanticoke, it takes two to three tries to find the sweet spot. “My job as a roaster is to bring out the nuance and what the coffee tastes like by itself,” Brian explained. Every batch is different, and he finds the perfect process to bring out the distinct flavors in the bean.
Now for a Taste Test…
Whether you’re a coffee purist or a sweet-toothed latte lover, you’ll find your favorite order.
For a taste of specialty coffee at its finest, order Grateful Roast’s traditional espresso drinks like the cortado. It’s equal parts espresso and steamed milk, which cuts the acidity and make a smooth, sippable cup. If you’re more of a latte fan, Grateful Roast also has creamy, flavored drinks. Don’t be fooled—there’s nothing basic about their daily latte specials. When we stopped by, a Snickers latte was the star of the menu board.
We know it’s nearly winter, but we still can’t resist iced coffee. Most shops brew a pot of hot coffee, put it in the fridge and serve it once its chilled, which is long past peak freshness. Instead, Grateful Roast serves Japanese-style iced coffee. They brew a strong, concentrated cup, then crash cool it over ice for clean, fresh flavor that you won’t find at a chain shop.
Sandwiches, Soups and Sweets
Grateful Roast’s menu features a full range of breakfast and lunch options.
Grateful Roast specializes in café fare like scratch-made soups, salads, paninis and sandwiches. Their philosophy on food is simple: focus on quality and use local ingredients whenever possible. Pastries from Something Special are displayed on the counter, while Bagel Art Bakery provides the breakfast essentials. They even source their lox locally from Wild for Salmon in Bloomsburg.
The Morning Press, a classic build-your-own breakfast sandwich, is always a go-to on a morning coffee run. The Reuben is another favorite, featuring layers of Boar’s Head pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing pressed on dark rye.
The daily specials show off Sarah’s culinary talents, like the creative vegan options on Meatless Mondays and fun combos for Taco Tuesday. Keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram to see what’s cooking.
“You really have to have a sense of gratitude for all that goes into it.”
The café’s name is more than a shoutout to the Grateful Dead.
At Grateful Roast, there’s a sense of thankfulness for the coffee, the workers and every step in the process to making perfect cup. Their gratitude also extends to the community. Grateful Roast offers a vibrant, positive place to gather, and their discounts for teachers, law enforcement officers and firefighters are just one way to say thanks. Students can also receive a 10% discount when they show their ID, which is perfect since the café is right across from Luzerne County Community College.
Here in NEPA, we’re thankful for our local businesses, especially when they can give us a much-needed boost on those sleepy mornings. Stop by and show your support. They even have a drive-thru for those especially hectic days.
You can also find Grateful Roast’s coffee served at cafes like Something Special, Lehman Mercantile and The Game Chateau. You can even bring a taste of Grateful Roast home with you. They sell bags of coffee at the café and several local retailers.
Cortado: Blend of espresso and steamed milk create a smooth flavor
Caramel Macchiato: A sweet treat served latte-style with a drizzle of caramel (although you can order a traditional version too)
Classic Brewed Coffee: Sunrise house blend shows off GRC’s handiwork with a balanced, pure flavor
Morning Press: Essential build-your-own breakfast sandwich with your choice of meat and cheese on a fresh-pressed croissant or bagel
Reuben Sandwich: Pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on dark rye
DiscoverNEPA Coffee Club Deal
Try out Grateful Roast for yourself, and you’ll see why we’re so thankful to have them here in NEPA. Get 20% off your order of $10 or more when you mention DiscoverNEPA.