Laura Telford

Laura Telford's limitless energy proves the efficacy of the coffee at her cottage cafe, Biltmore Coffee Traders. With her husband, Rick Telford, she accomplishes the work of several people, overseeing the importation of coffee beans from all over the world, roasting and brewing them in Asheville and remembering her regulars by name-all while looking after her two children.

At Biltmore Coffee Traders, each cup is brewed from "coffee with a conscience," as Laura puts it. The Telfords study up on each coffee farmer's growing practices, ensuring environmentally friendly farming techniques. "There's so much more that goes into that morning ritual than people think about," Laura says. "Sure, there's the smell and the taste, but where does it really come from?"

At Biltmore Coffee Traders, customers don't have to worry about that question; Laura is ready with the answer. And while all that trading might sound complicated, the end goal is simple. "We like a good cup of coffee," she explains. "We're pretty average folks."

Although the coffee business is global, Laura says Asheville consumers encourage her to carefully source the beans. "We are a town that embraces social responsibility," she says. "Most people who come to Asheville want honesty in businesses."

Despite chain coffee outlets nearby, the cozy red shop continues to draw visitors with its quality coffee and homemade syrups, baked goods and gelato. "Our whole business, roaster and all, is in this tiny little cottage," she says. "Like Asheville, we're real, and we've got a little Southern hospitality thrown in there too. People feel that authenticity, and they come back."

Laura Telford | Biltmore Coffee Traders
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Laura Telford | Biltmore Coffee Traders