Fonté Coffee Roaster was founded in 1992 in North America’s coffee capital—Seattle, Washington—with the mission to source the finest coffees in the world, roast them to perfection, and serve a beautiful experience in every cup.
As one of Seattle’s first roasters, our caliber for selected beans is sophisticated and our adept knowledge is palpable to industry connoisseurs. We take pride in hand-roasting our specialty beans—not light, medium or dark—but to perfection. Each cup of Fonté is crafted with intention; with 30 years of roasting experience, our master roaster develops each selected coffee’s unique flavor potential into its fullest expression.
To us, the commitment to exceptional cup quality, freshness, and excellent service is foremost—and we proudly provide an elevated coffee experience to at-home coffee enthusiasts, coffee bar retailers and restaurants, as well as luxury hotels and five-star properties, which include the Wynn Las Vegas, Four Seasons, St. Regis Peninsula, The Phoenician, Fred's at Barney's and many more.
FOUNDER PAUL ODOM
In 1992 Paul Odom (pictured above, right) founded Fonté Coffee Roaster, just as the coffee boom was about to explode in Seattle, Washington. While specialty coffee was becoming more popular with consumers, Odom saw a void in the hospitality market for a high-end product, noticing a lag in exceptional quality and service to chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers. At age 22, Odom made it his mission to create the finest coffee and espresso blends in the world by setting the strictest standards in product development and delivery. He procured the best roasting and processing equipment, built a sales team with experience in premium coffee and established a business to service this untapped market. Described by his peers as possessing a discriminating palate and a passion for the variety of rich flavors found in coffee, Odom partnered with Master Roaster Steve Smith to create the first of many high-quality specialty blends. Odom, along with Smith, developed a process where fresh coffee was shipped within 24 hours of roasting. Unheard of at the time, the roast-to-order program quickly established Fonté Coffee Roaster as one of the top coffee providers for the luxury hospitality market. In 1997, Odom also launched Fonté's online business to service a rising demand for its coffee products in the consumer market.
Today, Odom oversees a rigorous daily roasting schedule, a sales force on both coasts and a quality control program that maintains the highest standards of service to its top-tiered clientele.
MASTER ROASTER STEVE SMITH
With a distinguished career in roasting coffee spanning over three decades, Steve Smith (pictured above, left) is an industry veteran and considered an expert by many in the coffee trade. Beginning in 1979, Smith worked for Starbucks and was one of the first roasters ever trained under the three original owners of the company. In the twelve years he worked with the company, he was the first and only roaster to earn the title of Master Roaster and was responsible for all aspects of the roasting process. In 1991, desiring to use more of an artisan approach to roasting, Smith left the company to pursue his passion for roasting coffee and went to work for a small, now defunct coffee company. It was here that he developed his personal roasting style discovering unique ways to bring out natural flavor profiles of various types of coffees. Just a year later, Smith brought his expertise to Fonté. Smith's production philosophy is that of a coffee purist his techniques adhere to the strictest standards and work to maintain the integrity of the coffee flavor during the roasting process. This is a driving force in Fonté's methodology today. Smith, the most senior roaster in Seattle, is responsible for every aspect of the coffee production, including developing and maintaining important relationships with some of the finest coffee growers in the world. He works to secure the best beans available and visits key coffee growing areas to ensure the quality of harvest practices. He holds regular cuppings to study flavor profiles from various regions and to create a plan for the development of Fonté's new proprietary blends. He also oversees a rigorous production schedule based on a daily roast-to-order system, shipping out enormous amounts of coffee to clients within 24 hours of roasting, always making sure that Fonté delivers the freshest product possible. He also manages the tea program, which includes importing a variety of exotic teas, supervising the blending and developing new blends per clients' request.
Smith is a Seattle native and grew up in Mercer Island. He graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Spanish and Literature. Other than coffee, his passion is world music, especially Afro Cuban music.