Our Story

Having spent decades in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry, Rick Appleton found himself at a crossroads in his career, with an opportunity to make a change and try something new.

He seized the chance to embark on a new path – one that fit  his passions and could give him a more balanced life. Having dreamed for years of owning his own company, he imagined creating a brand that people believed in and building a team where he could support personal development, something he had done in the corporate world for more than 30 years.

Now it was time to envision the new company. What would it be? A serious jazz enthusiast, amateur saxophone player, and serious coffee lover, he pondered how to transform these interests into a new adventure.

Looking back, he remembered the business plan he had created for the launch of a jazz club and decided to rework it. It was just by chance that he came across the new Food Modernization Act (FMA) update, which brought coffee under FDA guidelines. It sparked him to dig a bit deeper, and he soon decided that his new business would be a coffee business.

Getting it done

Having spent his entire career in operations, facilities, procurement, and supply chain management, he was eminently qualified to open and operate a business, but how do you roast coffee?

“I decided that if I wanted to do this properly, I needed to be trained – I needed to learn everything there is to know about producing coffee,” Rick commented. He committed a great deal of time to learning the coffee business and  training to become certified through the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), all the while fine-tuning his business plan.

Rick wanted to ensure the business was set up to showcase his personal passions: helping others, protecting the environment, and ensuring the highest quality control. His goal was to give people who love coffee a product that is ethically produced and has full traceability, and, of course, lets them experience the full complexity and flavor of specialty coffee.

During the SCA training, Rick was surprised to see how complex coffee can be and how the skill of the roaster can accentuate the nuances and evoke characteristics of the bean.

Finding a name

Burwell Beans takes its name from the English town of Burwell, a medieval settlement near a river or stream. In fact, the word Burwell is derived from an Anglo-Saxon settlement (Burgh) close to water.

Proximity to water represents new life and new trade opportunities. The Burwell Beans logo design was intended to follow the shape of the settlement, with the inside of the shape representing water droplets. It also resembles a butterfly, also associated with new life. Having once lived in the village of Burwell in England, Rick knew he’d discovered the perfect name and image for his new beginning.

With the loving support and encouragement of his wife Laura, family, and friends, Burwell Beans began to take shape, and Rick turned his attention to finalizing plans, securing new space for the roastery, and finding equipment that would be extremely energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly.

Today, Rick Appleton remains passionate about his dream:

“Burwell Beans gives our customers outstanding choices for their daily cup of coffee, with quality and transparency in what they purchase. I want to help people discover new flavors and aromatics and get excited over coffee. This was a new beginning for me, and I want everyone to share it!”

Make a fresh start with us today.


Our Mission

Our mission is COFFEE

Customer service at its finest
Operational excellence 
Friends of the Earth 
Fresh start to your day
Exceptional beans
Engagement in the community



‭(978) 883-6017




421 Newburyport Turnpike
Rowley, MA 01969