There is a dizzying amount of advertising misinformation out there about quality and sustainability. Every bag touts their premium, gourmet, specialty, Fair Trade, Direct Trade, classic roast, dark roast beans…AH! At least, that’s how we felt. What do you need to know to get good, ethically produced coffee?
We only source, roast, and sell the highest quality, tastiest beans we can find.
- We look for specialty coffee. Technically, that means it would score an 80+ on an internationally recognized scale for grading coffee quality; in fact, we look for the absolute best we can find.
- We also strive to find unique, micro-lots. Micro-lots include unique, super high-quality beans that a farmer separated out from the bulk of his/her coffee based on altitude, varietal (type of coffee tree), selective sorting of the beans, etc.
- Finally, we only buy new crop coffee. Coffee, like any crop, is seasonal. In several parts of the world, coffee trees produce fruit once a year; elsewhere, twice a year. In any case, the fruit is picked and removed from the coffee seed (what we call a bean). Once the coffee beans are dried and sold, they are shipped and arrive in the US 2-6 months after harvest.
As a company, we believe that people and relationships matter. We, therefore, are working on developing relationships with the producers who grew our coffee. Sometimes this means one family on a tiny parcel of land; sometimes one family on a big estate; and sometimes a bunch of families who have grouped together (a cooperative or group). In each case, we are working on building long term relationships that benefit the producers, our business, and our respective communities.
We also strive to ensure that every coffee we sell respects the people and environment that produced it. To do this, traceability and transparency are the most important; that way you can hold us accountable for what we paid for our beans. We are always looking for ways to improve how we purchase, roast, and sell coffee, but here is where we’re at right now:
- Every coffee we sell meets or exceeds Fair Trade minimum prices, and Relationship or Direct Trade coffees means we have visited the farm and know how/what exactly the farmers got paid (if not directly from us);
- We support shade-grown, organic, and bird-friendly coffees;
- We provide as much information on the farmers and farms as possible;
- We buy from importers we trust, and we are looking to develop direct relationships ourselves; and,
- We are constantly listening and looking for ways to get better.