James Freeman is founder and roaster-in-chief of Blue Bottle Coffee, headquartered in Oakland, CA, in 2008. Only 10 years later, Blue Bottle has cafes in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Tokyo, all of which are known for the long lines of customers waiting for individually brewed cups of coffee.
Waiting is part of the Blue Bottle experience: Freeman believes coffee gets stale within minutes of brewing, so every cup that Blue Bottle serves is individually brewed. His cafes and kiosks offer no sizes and no special flavors: they generally use beans roasted no more than 10 days earlier. Well-known chefs such as Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony and Coi’s Daniel Patterson serve Blue Bottle at their restaurants. Overall, the company expects sales of about $20 million this year.