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Real People, Really Good Coffee July/August 2016

The last few months have been a flurry of activity. (So what else is new!) Besides wearing the green coffee importer hat, we’ve been steadily growing our retail, online, and wholesale roasted (and green) coffee business. I do have a couple of unfinished posts that I hope to publish soon.

The green coffee business has slowed over the summer, but we’re diligent in contacting new roasters to see if we can build a friendship, and some interest in the work (and coffee) that we’ve been doing. The direct trade coffee business is challenging in the real world, because although most would love to help the farmers, sometimes the bottom line seems to outweigh those “out of sight, out of mind” families that labor intensively to harvest, ferment, dry, and bag our daily cup.

The competition is ferocious. The large companies own farms, and contract for the cheapest possible price whenever they buy from local growers. In the ever changing commodity coffee market, this often places the value of the farmer on the bottom end.

Our direct trade model requires the farmer to put in a little more quality control, and attention, but allows earnings that are double or more for their efforts.

Paying more though, puts the smaller direct trade coffee importers at an immediate price disadvantage vs. the “big boys.”

Luckily, we do find many roasters that are interested in more than just price. While the idea of a truly sustainable coffee supply chain may never be completely realizable, we’ll never know what the possibilities are unless we make the attempt. We truly appreciate those who see the bigger picture, and support the small family farmers. The Curibamba Coffee Project is changing lives, and every cup makes a difference.

Meanwhile, the roasting part of the coffee business allows for a better profit potential. Here, the most important thing is quality. We recently purchased a Sonofresco Coffee Roaster for use at Farmer’s Markets & Shows. It’s a fun roaster, and produces excellent flavor in the cup. It works via hot air, and results in an amazingly consistent roast every time. Because we can roast live, it’s an attention getter. Most people are surprised to know that we actually went to the farm to buy our coffee. It’s a wonderful story, and we love to share what we learned along the way. Being warmly received makes it all worth while.

We recently had to contact Sonofresco regarding changes to accommodate roasting at high elevation. The response was very fast, and it’s always nice to know that there is someone behind the scenes. It was relatively easy, so we’re ready to roast fresh coffee sea level to Colorado Rockies!

Farmers Market – Candy Kitchen, New Mexico

Farmers Market, El Morro, New Mexico

Farmers Market, El Morro, New Mexico

Musicians at the Farmers Market, El Morro, New Mexico

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Real People, Really Good Coffee: Wild Goose Coffee

If one word could describe the mission of Wild Goose Coffee Roasters’ Nathan Westwick & Joe Capraro it would be community. This amazing duo has not only set the bar high with quality coffee, but have made their business into a vital part of the Redlands, California community.

From a humble start in 2008 at local farmers market, Wild Goose now sells thousands of pounds of fresh roasted coffee, and with each sale, food is donated to local food banks and charities.

Nathan Westwick generously offered to allow us an interview. Read more

Real People, Really Good Coffee – Don & Erik Anderson – Colorado River Coffee Roasters

Our Real People, Really Good Coffee this week spotlights Don & Erik Anderson, owners of Colorado River Coffee Roasters in Boulder City, Nevada in Greater Las Vegas.

Don Anderson retired as a teacher & administrator for the Clark County School District after 30 years. In 2009, he and son Erik decided to pursue a life long passion of producing fine roasted coffees. Don had been frustrated with the quality of coffee encountered in the Las Vegas marketplace, and decided to roast his own.

Starting small, this father and son team began with a modest 3 kilogram roaster to see what kind of market response there might be.

After all, Vegas hadn’t been known as a coffee Mecca. Read more