We’re loving this video from the filmmakers at Red Futon Films, who’ve put together an in-depth look at Revel Coffee, a Billings, MT coffee roaster and cafe located in a tiny drive-thru kiosk. Revel Coffee is owned and operated by roaster / barista Gary Theisen, and this view inside his (literally) small business is nothing short of fascinating.

Here’s an excerpt on Mr. Theisen’s approach to roasting:

“Part of the art and craft of roasting is where we influence what flavors we want to pull out of the coffee. But at the same time, we’re still just preserving the quality that’s already within the coffee, and we can harm it by either mis-roasting it, under-roasting it, over-roasting it… but one of my philosiphies in roasting is that I want to unleash and expose, you know, primarily a lot of sweetness in the coffee, and any origin characteristics it has to offer.”

There’s a couple of notable things in this video, including Mr. Theisen’s Torrefattore electric manual roaster, and the fact that Revel’s kiosk is a drive-thru. We imagine the concept of a specialty coffee drive-thru kiosk is difficult to fathom for some – particularly our European readers – but really, it’s no different than a microcafe or a walk-up counter. Drive-thru coffee has its own (admittedly peculiar) place in western North American coffee culture, owing much to vast distances, freezing low temperatures, and a whole host of weird cultural enjambments. They are the love children of the 1990’s “Frasier” and Starbucks bourgeoisie, frotteured up against this region’s deep blue collar roots.


The drive-thru model has been pretty egregiously abused by low-quality convenience brands and tawdry peep-show marketing gimmicks, but there is absolutely no reason why drive-thrus can’t be home to high quality coffee service, and Mr. Theisen and Revel Coffee are living proof.

Revel Coffee is a fine purveyor of Cafe Imports coffees, and you can learn more about their offerings and place in the world by checking out Revel Coffee online. In addition to the kiosk, Revel Coffee is also available at a variety of locations in Billings, including Cafe DeCamp, Harper & Madison Bakery, and The Lilac, a restaurant specializing in “from scratch, local, responsible cooking.”

This story sourced by Sprudge.com hot tipper Ian Marquez, a 2010 Mountain Regional Barista Competition finalist and proud Billings resident. Got a tip for Sprudge? Write us at Tips@Sprudge.com