Freelance Coffee Project opens in Newport Beach

Jeremy Creighton and Natalie Taormina, two of the original founders of Common Room Roasters, have now launched Freelance Coffee Project. Located in Newport Beach’s industrial district, the roastery and tasting room is the first in Orange County to focus solely on single-origin coffees.

Alongside their new partners, the couple is dedicated to roasting high-grade, single-origin coffees to support their initial vision of creating a destination for specialty coffee in Orange County. Among their new partners is head roaster Ryan Okko, who holds diplomas in Q Grading and Sensory Training from the International Barista Coffee Academy as well as a certification from the Specialty Coffee Association. He brings a meticulous passion for extracting, roasting, and sourcing specialty beans to Freelance.

In 2014, Creighton and Taormina moved from Melbourne, Australia, to her hometown of Newport Beach to launch the U.S. outpost of their award-winning branding agency, Passport Brand Design. The family purchased an antiquated warehouse and converted it into a creative hub for their team of branding specialists. Today, nearly half of the 8,000-square-foot space is home to their second business, Freelance Coffee Project.

“We found that the coffee culture in Melbourne served as somewhat of a super-connector for our team,” comments Creighton, Passport’s co-founder and chief brand strategist. “When we expanded back to the U.S. in 2014, we bought a commercial espresso machine for our office with the simple mission of fostering connection and fueling creative fire. Today, we’re proud to extend that mission beyond our brand by sharing it with our community.”

Taormina designed the space with an energy that elicits a sense of creativity, connection, and community. Earthy neutrals and deep black accents throughout offer an artistic contrast brought to life with pops of vivacious greenery. Rich with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee, the Tasting Room allows Freelance’s baristas to experiment with extractions through a selection of classic and specialty drinks offered alongside artisanal snacks. The Freelance Shop is lined with burlap sacks of single-origin beans and offers a curated collection of home-brewing equipment, homewares, ceramics, gifts, and bags of its single-origin coffees. Freelance’s open floorplan gives guests a glimpse of its roastery, where Okko’s scientific approach to a nuanced roast or a coffee cupping is on display.

“We’re going beyond what our coffees look and taste like by exploring their origins in-depth,” comments Okko. “Focusing on single-origin coffees allows our guests to isolate, identify, and understand their palette preferences while discovering qualities that are unique to that farm or region.”

While Freelance focuses solely on serving single-origin coffees to Tasting Room guests, its wholesale program offers partners one-of-a-kind blends. Designed to be unique yet universal, the partners work directly with wholesale customers to develop exclusive blends to complement their vibe, palate, and desired flavor profiles.

Since its opening in May, the specialty roastery is already gearing up for growth, with a second location set to open in Laguna Beach this year and partnerships poised to take its wholesale program to the next level.

Freelance Coffee Project is located in Newport Beach (882 Production Place) and is open daily from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. For more information Freelance Coffee Project, please visit the website and connect on Instagram at @freelancecoffeeproject.

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