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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Mad Priest Coffee Roasters owner Michael Rice holds a compostable coffee.

* Locations: Mad Priest has two locations: a drive-thru and roastery in East Chattanooga at 3399 Wilcox Blvd., and their Southside Espresso Bar at 1900 Broad St.

* History: Mad Priest Coffee started with a $36,000 Kickstarter campaign in 2016, when founders Michael and Cherita Rice pitched a vision for a small-batch specialty coffee roasting company to meet the growing demand for high-quality craft coffee while employing refugees resettled in and around Chattanooga. The couple wanted to include employing refugees in the business model because of Michael's past experience working with the displaced in his wife's hometown of Clarkston, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, which has one of the area's highest refugee populations, as well as in India, where he worked with Syrian and Iraqi refugees. After moving to Chattanooga in 2015, Michael became involved with local nonprofit organization Bridge Refugee Services, which coordinates employment for refugees at Mad Priest. In 2019, Mad Priest Coffee Roasters was named runner-up in Tennessee for "The Best Coffee in Every State" by Food & Wine magazine.

* The Name: The "Mad Priest" name comes from the novel "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas. In the story, Edmond Dantès is ready to give up and die in prison when the "Mad Priest" (Abbe Faria) gives him reason to hope again, along with the practical skills he needs to win at life. The Mad Priest is a fictional character that embodies the fight for justice, freedom, and opportunity.

* Online: madpriestcoffee.com

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The Brand: Mad Priest Coffee Roasters

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