Alabaster Coffee: Cultivating community through coffee culture

Alabaster Coffee: Cultivating community through coffee culture

Lycoming County | I-80 Frontier of the Pennsylvania Wilds

By Katie Weidenboerner-Deppen

“Coffee or die.”

That’s the motto of Alabaster Coffee Roaster & Tea Co. in Williamsport. The nationally award-winning micro-roaster and coffee bar was established in 2010 as a small, family-owned business looking to make a difference both locally and globally. 

In high school, business owner Karl Fisher was an apprentice for a local violin shop, whose owner roasted coffee. With interest piqued, he built a home roast hobby as he went to school for violin performance and to be a youth pastor.

He would eventually take the leap to fill a void on Fourth Street in Williamsport.  

So how do they do what they do? 

They take the time, effort, and expense to go straight to the source to speak to farmers and their families. They see the coffee beans through from seed to cup. These interactions not only yield a better product for Alabaster, but educate the farmers about what brewers and roasters want, so that they can maximize their profits. 

“We’re fighting poverty through quality,” Karl says.

Inside the cafe in downtown Williamsport, a wall dons the phrase, “Cultivating community through coffee culture.” That’s true in more ways than one for Alabaster.

Aside from having a store front and roasting almost every business day — for local retail and wholesale nationwide — Fisher is also particularly proud of the entrepreneurship program it runs at the high school to teach business principles. 

Listen to how Alabaster impacted Tymir’s story below

Have you been to Alabaster or purchased some of their products? Leave a review or recommendation on Alabaster’s WCO profile!

*Photos used in this article were taken by Katie Weidenboerner-Deppen as part of the Creative Makers of the Pennsylvania Wilds – A Traveling Public Art Show, which was partly funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.


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