a photo of the rwandan landscape

How often do you think about where your ethically sourced coffee comes from?

Not what the ‘ethically traded’ label says or the origin claim stated by the company…but where it really comes from. If you’re rubbing the back of your neck or avoiding eye contact with your screen, rest assured this is a common problem.

Not just among consumers, but among companies and businesses that work in direct trade with coffee farmers. In our whirlwind day-to-day, thinking about just where our goods come from and at what cost can feel like a tall order (pardon the pun). You’re just trying to get through the workweek in one piece! When it comes to positive change, however…now is always the best time for it. From grower to roaster to customer, the journey of coffee is a winding one. One we can neglect on our way to get the most convenient cup.

An ‘ethical trade’ label on a box or recycling claim on a lid isn’t enough. Several troubling developments concerning coffee sustainability and ethical trading have cropped up these past few weeks, showing that green sentiments are often only skin deep. One story analyzing coffee culture in Rwanda — or rather, the lack thereof — speaks to the real disconnect the West has with the rest of the world. Farmers are caught in such a chokehold between consistent production rates and high costs they’re not even able to taste their own creations. To the Western ear, this is completely surreal…

…and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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roasted coffee beans

A cup of coffee made without a single bean.

Sound like something you’d want to try? I took a look at this interesting scientific development earlier on LinkedIn, but I have a few more thoughts on the matter.

Beanless coffee is a (kind of) modern development currently being polished by today’s best scientists. This technique is similar to chicory — a method that involves brewing roots instead of beans — but whittles down the ingredients even further. Everything from the flavor to the way the brew sits on your tongue is meant to replicate traditional coffee near-flawlessly. On one hand, it’s fascinating how science can break down what we consume to its barest components. On the other hand, environmental concerns are cited as a major reason to continue this research.

Beanless coffee could help…as long as the industry’s priorities are kept straight.

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Small Roaster, Big Potential: How A New Roasting Business Emerges

Carving out your path means refusing to walk down certain trails.

This sounds like conventional wisdom, and yet, you’d be surprised by how easily the prospect of a juicy sale gets in the way of it. As a new roaster you have the unenviable position of having to market to thousands of cafes who are then trying to market to millions of people. However…quality, not quantity, is what sets one roaster apart from the next. You wouldn’t expect to see a chocolate factory with the highest quality cocoa beans advertising their products for children’s birthday parties. Likewise, you wouldn’t expect an instant noodle brand to aim at five-star restaurants in upscale New York City.

Why would your roasts be a one-size-fits-all?

When you sell your roast you create a path for cafes and customers to wander down. Your specialty roast tells cafes which customers they appeal to. Customers are then told how this cafe will intersect with their busy lifestyle. Keeping this path clear of proverbial pitfalls means learning about every step of the way: getting in touch with the why and the how of your new microroasting business so you can sell that plain, ever-so-coveted what. We’re going to take a journey through all the little details that go toward creating a delicious and memorable specialty roast people want to buy.

Emphasizing the peripheral information surrounding your new roasting business, promoting lifestyle benefits and stressing the unique traits of your coffee are all small steps that add up to an unforgettable experience.

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Three Great Things That Taste Great: Alcohol, Tea And Coffee Mixed Together For That Extra Kick

You don’t have to choose when it comes to enjoying the tangy pop of beer or the smooth bitterness of coffee. As the saying goes? The more, the merrier!

Drinks are just as much an experience as they are a way to wet our throat. Coffee is commonly associated with the morning rush in the West, with many working Americans having entire morning rituals around a cup of joe. Tea is commonly seen as a relaxing drink — particularly a hot mug of herbal goodness — and beer shares a similar reputation…alongside being the key ingredient to a rowdy party!

It can seem like overkill to mix all these contrasting flavors and stimulants together, but a few places are choosing to embrace this happy balance.

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A Conversation With Joe: What A Mug, Cup Or Can Of Coffee Has To Say About You

Coffee isn’t just a drink to perk you up in the morning. It’s a personality test.

One person may drink their coffee black with a nigh-religious fervor because they like to keep things simple. Others need a big dollop of sugar and milk to get it tasting right because what is life but a series of indulgences? Yet more prefer to brew at home rather than swing by their coffee shop of choice because they’re flat broke. It’s fascinating how much coffee speaks to our personality, lifestyle and interests.

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