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Highwire Coffee Roasters was started by three people who believed a coffee company could be a force for good. What does that mean to us? More than anything, it’s a place where people have jobs and spaces that nourish them. A place where our people develop professionally and have a sense of purpose at work. Where their voice matters. It also means we look out for one another, share what we have, partner with people that have similar values and make choices that promote sustainability.

Founders Rich Avella, Eric Hashimoto, and Robert Myers began their relationship earlier in their coffee careers and connected over similar values as well as what they enjoyed in the cup. They believed that great coffee could be shared in a space where everyone felt welcome. Where connecting over coffee was more important than talking about coffee.  

In 2011 a scruffy version of Highwire was launched in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. Our DIY approach is rooted not only in our attitudes and upbringing but in those early days where we were figuring it out as we went.

We now serve our customers in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany and the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. We roast next door in Emeryville and are fortunate to share our coffee with folks outside the Bay Area. 


Rich Avella has been in the coffee and tea business since 1990. He spent 20 years at Peet's Coffee and Tea, working alongside legendary figures in the industry such as Eliot Jordan and training many future coffee and tea leaders along the way. Much of his career has been dedicated to helping people discover an appreciation for this everyday beverage. To learn through focused tasting how to articulate what it is they like or dislike in a cup and what makes it taste the way it does. He has judged barista competitions all the way to the highest levels, and is respected for his balanced perspective and discerning palate.

Eric Hashimoto buys the green coffees for Highwire. He started his coffee career at Peet's in 1996 where he spent long hours cupping and sample roasting with Jim Reynolds and Doug Welsh, two of the most highly respected cuppers in the industry. Eric has a terrific palate and has cupped in international competitions. He ensures that we get highest quality green coffee. He favors classic, balanced and present flavors over the ephemeral or unusual. A good blend is described by what is in the cup rather than a blend recipe. 

Robert Myers has been a coffee and tea lover since working at his first coffee shop in 1991. His passion is for those moments of genuine connections, when two people take a second out of their stressed lives to appreciate the coffee, the other person and the care that goes into making it special. He loves working in a busy cafe bar and the energy it has when everyone works well together.

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