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Indigenous Coffee Roasted Our Way

Eastern Sun Coffee Co is an Indigenous owned and operated Artisan Coffee Roaster located in Southampton, NY, on the Traditional Lands of the Shinnecock Indian Nation. We take pride in bringing our New Bold, Smokey, Flavours from our native territory to your mug. Wake up with the Eastern Sun and take on the Sunrise!


Austin Roe

Owner and Founder
Shinnecock Tribal Member


Charlotte Roe

Owner and Marketing Manager
Shinnecock Tribal Member


Aislinn Cornett

Co-Founder and Director of Art and Design

Shinnecock-Owned Eastern Sun Coffee Is Decolonizing Your Cup,
by Charlotte Roe. Article as seen in Dan's Papers

Heat waves envelop small pellet-like grounds as a steel drum spins them, infinitely darkening and infusing each one with smoke-filled flavors, all while simultaneously creating a dull hum reminiscent of a bingo hall. Not unlike a bingo hall, a familiar aroma fills the air — coffee. When the fully roasted beans are removed from the drum, you are left with priceless brown morsels whose smell alone will liven up your day.

Austin Roe, co-owner and head roaster of Eastern Sun Coffee Company, an Indigenous-owned coffee roaster based out of the Shinnecock Nation, hopes to fill the mugs of customers with an innovative touch of local native flavors.

Coffee, originally native to Ethiopia, was first cultivated sometime during the 4th and 8th centuries B.C.E. The Ottoman and Arabian empires took great pride in their trade monopoly of coffee, which, after being presented to European traders, became an undeniable hit. In the Americas, coffee, like tea, sugar and tobacco, seemed almost custom-made for European colonial expansion and exploration. However, no matter where coffee has made its way, each culture has embraced its dark aromatic mystique.

In particular, the United States currently consumes close to 80% of the world’s coffee output. The Nestle corporation, which not only holds the title as the world’s top water company (and former top chocolate company), is also the world’s top coffee roaster. The corporation’s downfall? Well, it’s as dark a history as a fresh cup of coffee. The company’s cash cows share genocidal histories and exploitative policies.

Coffee itself is one of the only products that is better at bringing in capital than other crops such as bananas, oranges, sugar or even tea. Coffee also tends to add to a redistributive economy even for less-developed nations, and while this can be qualified as a good thing, there is still serious economic inequality between the consumer and the grower. It is an economic disparity that has inspired this Indigenous-owned company to seek more hands-on, grassroots alternatives.

“Coffee and the roasting process are still a part of a new and evolving industry that demands a decolonized frame of mind,” Roe says. “With an Indigenous perspective and a natural approach to preserving the bean, it opens up a whole new world for technology as well as cultural preservation.”

From a business standpoint, coffee synergizes industry and tradition. “It’s sovereignty. It’s being your own boss, but it’s also producing your own product harnessing your own cultural traditions. Utilizing different Indigenous communities as green bean providers, then adding our own ‘Shinnecock spin’ to it from our roasting processes, keeps our traditions going,” says Roe.

Artisanal coffee roasting is a traditional and ancient craft. “It’s as traditional as it gets. The first time I roasted coffee was by fire. The sounds and smells brought me home to Shinnecock, and the memories of all of the powwows and gatherings we attended with our family and our elders. Coffee was a staple of the community’s energy and productivity,” Roe states. He continues on to describe countless events, tribal and non-tribal, for which coffee was a staple.

“Coffee roasting is a continuation of my family’s widespread entrepreneurial tendencies and our traditional discipline of daily work and joy,” he says. “My non-native family are also inventors, farmers and people of the land, which means they understood discipline, trials and tribulations, but also perseverance, which goes hand-in-hand with finding your perfect cup of coffee.”

This year, the company is launching two very drinkable daily blends that are sure to entice even the occasional coffee drinker, with reviews from local samplers like, “It tastes good!” — “It’s not a good day without it!” — “It’s how I start my morning everyday!” Eastern Sun Coffee Co. seems to be making a big impact on the East End, having only been operating since April 2023.

As the coffee industry impacts more than half a million families worldwide, Eastern Sun also allows consumers to make a radical political choice with their purchases, by participating in a grassroots approach to the global economy. “Our future is in the hands of our children, and they want culture and tradition to guide them,” Roe says. “The future is family, and we must think seven generations ahead.”

By establishing a family-owned coffee roasting business, Roe seeks to keep his family together and thriving but also to pass down hands-on techniques that can be applied to other areas in life. Much like tending a fire, roasting coffee requires a keen eye and sense of smell accompanied by knowledge of heat and the bean itself.

Roe has years of experience as a roaster, and also as a volunteer firefighter, giving him experience and understanding of heat’s characteristics. At the helm of his own roasting company, he also brings his perspective to the ancient craft.

His knowledge encompasses his own years worth of fire experience, his Shinnecock roots and his lust for coffee by making each bean he roasts an art form in itself. “A curated bean, ground, pressed and poured into a clean mug isn’t just the art, it’s the muse,” says Roe. Coffee itself can inspire and motivate productivity with its caffeinated property, finding its place in countless homes, offices, studios, arenas, restaurants and more with other venues dedicated specifically to the beverage.

Roe’s bicoastal lifestyle — he resides in both Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada and Long Island — calls for coffee as a staple to a functional life. Traveling for his businesses and family through different time zones and daylight hours while being a dad requires focus and energy, which can only be fulfilled with a cup of his preferred French-pressed coffee. ESCC has become his new baby, which he hopes will make a robust impact on the East End.

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