The original inspiration for the Mad Priest brand comes from incredible novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Edmond Dantès was ready to give up and die in prison, but just then the "Mad Priest" came on the scene and gave him a reason to hope again, along with the practical skills he needed to win at life. So the Mad Priest is a fictional character that embodies the fight for justice, freedom, and opportunity. And as a company, we are striving to do just that.
Michael and Cherita Rice started Mad Priest Coffee Roasters in 2015 as a social enterprise + small-batch specialty coffee roasting company with the mission to “Craft excellent coffee. Educate the curious. Champion the displaced.” From the beginning, the focus has always been first and foremost on providing the best quality product, roasting our unique coffees to bring out the characteristics of each bean. Our coffee team is constantly involved in Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) conventions and competitions, and recently Food & Wine named Mad Priest “Runner-Up in TN” in their “Best Coffee in Every State”.
But even beyond the product, we wanted to run a sustainable, for-profit business with a triple bottom line that included social and environmental goals alongside the economic one. We started out to hire refugees resettled in Chattanooga, and the vision has since expanded to work alongside non-profits and individuals on larger issues of social justice, community, equity, and inclusion.
And with The Mad Priest Coffee & Cocktails, Michael Rice and Matt Sears are attempting to take both the stellar product and the social/environmental side of the Mad Priest brand to a whole new level. We are the first bar in Chattanooga to be nearly zero waste and 100% compostable, and we’re also green-light certified. And we continue to work with the local immigrant and refugee communities as well intentionally celebrate the diverse cultures present in our city while bringing folks from various backgrounds together.
Thanks for being a part of our journey!