We have coffees from 14 producers in ten countries. We buy those coffees from five or more different roasters. We want to have a relationship with every coffee producer represented in our store. We don’t believe buying coffee from someone who says they have a relationship with a coffee producer counts.
So, we ask lots of questions, demand lots of information from our roasters, and generally become a big pain in the butt for those supplying us with coffee.
When we don’t get clear answers, we travel. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to travel often enough to keep up with the lack of information available. So, we have relied on third-party verification organizations to provide certain certifications like Fair Trade, Rain Forest Alliance, USDA Organic, Shade Grown, etc.
We have, by traveling, learned that these certifications often don’t represent the principles we thought they did.
We want to take the responsibility for the coffee we sell.
We will now personally visit every farm and cooperative represented at our cafes. We will form a personal relationship with the farmer or cooperative representative. We will share all information we have concerning these efforts with anyone who asks.