Why Sourcing matters
There is more coffee grown in the world than one could possibly imagine. There are many differing factors in coffee cultivation; species, country of origin, altitude, size of the farm, processing method, and grade quality to name the big ones. However some things are always constant; coffee needs to grow at a high altitude and the plants can never freeze, it needs cool temperatures and a lot of rain and it is a very delicate crop that is usually harvested by hand.
Coffee farmers and pickers are famously poor people who often do not make enough family to feed their families for part of the year. Commodity and Fair Trade pricing for the beans fluctuate and is often far below the cost of production. Coffee farming is famously hard on the natural environment with practices like cutting down the rain forest to make way for plants, spraying of pesticides and chemical weed killers, and pollution of the local water supply during the processing of the cherries all being too commonly used. Organizations and certifications exist and new ones are created regularly as the coffee consuming world seeks ways to use their purchase power to do right. There is much evidence and debate within the coffee industry that these stamps that roasters, importers, producers and farmers alike must pay for do not mean the same thing everywhere. Corruption is a real challenge and there are a fast growing minority of us who believe the only way to really know what's going on is to go to the farm and see what is happening for yourself.
We say that we direct source, that we use ethical sourcing. We ask a lot of hard questions, We travel to the farm and meet the farmer, and if we are doing due diligence we meet the pickers and processors too. We go back more than once. We have a relationship. We do not pay for certification stamps to put on our coffee bags but do expect that those same standards are being upheld. We are not in a hurry to add every country of origin to our offerings. To find that right farmer with the right product that we can have a long-term relationship with is more important. But we are always looking, always asking questions, never taking anyone's word for it. You will see our farmers tagged on our social media and we encourage you to follow them as well. Transparency is a better guarantee than any sticker we could buy. We do business this way because it is the right thing to do and because it's good business. If done correctly the model works... everyone makes a profit from the farmer, to the producer, to the exporter, to the roaster, to the cafe owner. And whenever that is happening it means that the customer is getting the best coffee they can. It's OK if you only care about the taste of your cup of coffee... but enjoy it knowing that is was sourced with thought and care. We are building our reputation on it.