Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Coffee connoisseur and founder of North River Roasters, Feza Oktay, has made a mark on Poughkeepsie and surrounding Dutchess County communities with organically sourced, freshly roasted coffee. Since 2015 North River Roasters has expanded from a small roastery off of Main Street, to a full blown “Community Supported Coffee Roasting” (CSCR) project that helps to distribute beans all over the Hudson Valley.
Otkay began his journey as a volunteer for the non-profit organization Hudson River Housing. An organization dedicated to improving lives and communities im the Hudson Valley through project development and thoughtful vision.
This non-profit started a revitalization program of Poughkeepsie known as
“Middle on Main.” The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory and its' renovation was just one piece of this ongoing project which not only provides housing, but a community space for locals to gather. In addition, the location is equipped with a full size industrial kitchen that can be rented out by members of the community. Earth, Wind & Fuego, is currently a separate business that operates throughout the week offering food to go along with a fresh cup of coffee.
“[North River Roasters] wasn’t a business that was looking for a home, but rather the factory was a home looking for a community based business” stated Otkay. He was inspired by his daughter’s love for coffee as a barista and thought, the city could benefit from a new coffee roaster. “Every city should have their own local cheesemaker and coffee roaster,” stated Otkay as he began to describe the organically sourced coffee they roast.
The business was built keeping in mind the importance of a positive social impact for all those involved in the process. Not only is the coffee delicious, but their CSCR movement has allowed for a mutually beneficial system between the farmers and environment, the roasters and the consumer. They make sure to use of compostable cups and coffee bags, and take into careful consideration where they source their beans from.
Their beans are sourced seasonally from locations such as Central and South America, Indonesia and Africa. Otkay mentioned that due to the large Wahaca Mexican population in Poughkeepsie, some of the first beans they sourced were from there as well.
Lifelong Poughkeepsie resident and fellow coffee lover, Eileen Halliday, has been a supporter of North River Roasters for the past few years. Halliday stated “I think it’s great what they’re doing with the place, It’s a step in the right direction to revamp downtown Poughkeepsie.”
So where can you find their coffee? You can subscribe to a monthly pick up plan on their website or find it at local dispensaries such as: Adams Fairacre Farms, The Culinary Institute of America and select cafes around the Hudson Valley.
Most recently they collaborated with Marist College, offering their roasts and nitro cold brew in the new fashion building that opened this year. Otkay hopes to raise more awareness of their brand and possibly use this location as a distribution center for the sleep deprived college student in the future.