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State College’s Rothrock Coffee Introduces K-Cups

There’s a time and a place for a pour-over, and for those of us who are lazy, that time is not the morning. Whether you want to admit it or not, K-cups are convenient.

Fortunately, State College’s Rothrock Coffee officially introduced them to its lineup earlier this month.

Twelve counts go for $12 and 24 counts are $23. Currently, there’s a “Singlespeed” medium roast and “Trailside” and “Gravel Road” dark roasts.

Singlespeed’s tasting notes are cherry, almond, and milk chocolate. Trailside’s are pecan, dark chocolate, and nutmeg, while Gravel Road’s are dark chocolate, brown sugar, and nutty.

You can purchase K-cups, in addition to whole bean and ground coffee, in-store or online. Subscription services are available weekly, biweekly, and monthly, too.

Rothrock’s cafe is located at 1736 S. Atherton St., though, you’ve probably had its beans at various places downtown. Rothrock prides itself in specialty coffee and community-building tendencies, so it’s no surprise that those concepts were at the forefront of the Keurig single-cup undertaking.

Courtesy of Bulldog Production House LLC

According to Rothrock General Manager Ronnie Napolitan, the K-cup project has been two years in the making. If they weren’t going to be better than other pods on the market, what would be the point?

“Everything from the boxes that they were in, to the containers that they’re going to come in, to finding the right coffees, to finding the right grind size, the right amounts in the cup… It was quite challenging to get these things kind of up and rolling,” Napolitan said. “There’s been hundreds of hours into these and lots of trial and error, testing between me and the head roaster at Rothrock Coffee. It’s been quite a journey to finally happen.”

The Rothrock team pushed hard in the last few months because it was approached by an enthusiastic retailer: Walmart. Beginning in August, Rothrock’s K-cups will be on the shelves of 300 Walmart stores from Maine to North Carolina, in addition to office spaces, hotels, and more. The State College Wegmans will have them in stock next week before expanding later this month to Giant-Martin’s stores in the region.

Operations will remain as is to get them to consumers as quickly as possible, meaning the coffee will still be roasted fresh and shipped weekly.

High-quality production is a fundamental value of Rothrock products. One of the team’s biggest challenges with this project was ensuring that quality didn’t get lost.

“We wanted the coffee to be excellent,” Napolitan said. “We wanted the K-cup to be more elevated than any other K-cup on the market, and we wanted some really cool packaging to go along with it. I think that we nailed it. We had a lot of help from a lot of great people in town here.”

Making sure the branding lined up was crucial. The black-and-white design aligns with traditional Rothrock branding and color-coordinated coffee types. The sleek packaging designed by Black Sheep Media was done with a dual purpose — to sit on the shelf horizontally and vertically.

Something as seemingly simple as finding the right grind size was an undertaking of its own.

“Finding that perfect grind size was honestly pretty crucial for getting this to be the specialty level,” Napolitan said. “We actually pack more coffee in the K-cups than most people do. Most people are only putting about 10 grams of coffee in a K-cup pod. We’ve managed to get 12 grams, so we have a lot more coffee going into the pods.”

For now, the tri-lineup will remain, but Rothrock may add additional styles in the future or a decaf pod. In fact, customers are already asking.

After initially being asked seven years ago to finally seeing the product come to life, Napolitan and his crew are proud and delighted.

“It’s funny when you see it on the shelf. You’re like, ‘Wow. That was crazy. We pulled that together,'” Napolitan said. “We’re very, very happy that now we can really start sharing it with the community.”

Rothrock also offers wholesale ordering, which is anticipated to expand with this newest K-cup addition. You can stay up to date with Rothrock Coffee on its website and Instagram page.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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