company - education - coffee - tea - equipment

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boston Local Food Festival and sustainability

We will be at the Boston Local food fest providing one more reason to get tickets and show up.  We do however need a few extra hands for the event so we are hoping to wrangle a few local barista to collaborate with us for the event.

We have put a lot of thought into the concepts of local, sustainable, and why that matters in an industry that has coffees coming from all over the world.  It makes sense that people lump sustainability solely into terms of anything that happens at the farm level or cafe level in coffee.  Coffees come from all over the world so it seems like then shipping them across the country is not really that big a deal.  Truth is, it really is kind of a big deal.

Here's something for you to think about next time you are in a cafe that talks about zero waste or sustainability, where does the coffee come from?  Though coffees come from all over the world, maritime or cargo freight by sea has an extremely low cost (and carbon footprint) compared to truck and air freight.  The argument can easily be made that coffees delivered by maritime freight to the closest port to a roaster and sold locally are easily the most sustainable model in our industry.  Shipping roasted coffee cross country is one of the least common sense habits our industry has developed and adds a lot of costs to the final product.

What value could be added to ship a coffee across eight (or however many) states?  What quality can be increased by shipping coffee a thousand (or more) miles from roaster to cafe?  Short answer, none.  Anyone who tells you they can't find a good quality coffee roaster in region or their local metro is not giving enough thought or research to it.  There are so many new roasting operations starting up in every part of the country that the argument can be made we are in a renaissance for small batch micro roasters (or the beginning of one).

On a quality level, there are big arguments for local roasters like us to stay hyper local in our business model.  Bags roasted within days (if not hours) showing up on shelves in locations that we can often bike to.  Being able to train, teach, and share with those serving and buying our coffees.  You can even easily meet the green buyer or roaster daily to talk about what is special about that farm or how that roast tastes in different methods.

Nevertheless, it's a complex topic that can ponder as you drop our booth the 7th for the Boston Local Food fest. It's going to be fun.  Think 'local'.