From the beginning of my coffee journey, it was my dream to find coffee producers with whom we could form meaningful relationships that would lead to sustained economic impact and opportunities for works of compassion in their communities. Along the way I discovered that this is much more challenging than I believed, but I am proud of the fact that presently we are sourcing about 60% (60K pounds) of the coffees we roast from producers whom I can confidently call my friends.
Since 2016 we have packaged these coffees in a bag with a blue label, calling out direct relationships. While this was a good first step, I was recently convinced that we could do a much better job helping you develop a more meaningful connection to who these amazing people are.
Starting this September, you will notice four major changes to this part of our line up. The goal of these changes is to do a better job connecting you with these folks. Knowing their names is great, but we want you to know their faces, know their stories, and know the history of our friendships with them.
Expanded Direct Relationship Coffee Selection
This fall we are expanding the number of coffees we buy and feature from producers with whom we have maintained active friendships. The reason behind this is pretty simple: God has blessed us with these relationships and it brings us joy to share coffees with you from people whom we know. Over the next few months, you will begin to see more blue labeled bags and fewer brown labeled (single origin coffees from producers we do not know) bags. Since our Direct Relationships are still quite limited geographically when you consider how large the coffee world is, we will continue to source and roast fantastic coffees from all over the world.
Producer Faces Now on Direct Relationship Labels
Now when you buy one of our Direct Relationship coffees, you will immediately be greeted by an illustration of the producer's face on the label. We hope this helps bring a little more of the human element into your coffee experience. After all, there are wonderful people on the other side of your morning cups of coffee. As much as possible, we want you to know who they are, and what they look like.
Meet Our Producers Web Page
We now have a Meet Our Producers page on our website that contains the stories of these folks we are working with. While we have done a decent job of explaining the stories of some of our Nicaraguan producers, we have never had them all in one place for easy access. This changes all of that, and I hope it means you get to know them and the history of how we came to begin working together.
Shelf Talkers for Each Coffee in Our Cafe
If you’ve ever been to a wine store and found it helpful that certain wines have small blurbs of info about them on cards hanging below the bottles, you engaged with a “shelf talker.” Each of our Direct Relationship coffees that are displayed in our cafe will now have a shelf talker underneath them that contains a photo of the producer from one of our visits and some (hopefully) helpful information that makes choosing a coffee easier.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope these changes lead to more meaningful connections for you as you enjoy the fantastic coffees we bring you from around the world. It may sound cliché, but these coffees really do have a story to tell about the people who grow them. They are the fruit of a labor of love for these folks. For some of these people, their livelihoods honestly do depend on whether they sell these coffees, and for others it has become a source of passion, pride, and great joy to share their work with the world.
We invite you to take a moment to read their stories and get to know them.