What makes anything great? We think it’s a focus and appreciation for everything that goes into it - the raw materials, the process, the people. Behind a fine wine, an exceptional grape and attentive vinification. Your favorite craft beer or cider? Carefully curated hops, grains, fruits and an outstanding brew recipe. Coffee is no different: it starts with a farmer and a cherry. We take great lengths to source the highest quality coffees, and roast them to accentuate their inherent complexities.
THE RAW MATERIALS
When it comes to sourcing, we focus on sustainability and excellence. To do so, we work exclusively with importers and farming collectives that share these core values.
But what does sustainability actually mean in the coffee industry? It starts with transparency.
In most of the areas we source coffee from small farmers sell their coffee to consolidators at commodity price, far below even the cost of their production. These coffees are then mixed and sold to commodity grade buyers, regardless of varietal, farming practices, or cup quality. In this system, which is the status quo for many coffee producing regions, there is little to no traceability or transparency, and farmers are left undercompensated.
Our partners at origin work closely with small farmers directly, often offering technical assistance to ensure improving cup quality. Coffees are kept separate, and are purchased based on cup quality and how the coffee was produced. We, in turn, pay premiums for these coffees, finding value in high-quality, unique processing, and environmental responsibility. This incentivizes further investment in cup quality and environmental responsibility at origin. Once we find a farmer who prioritizes environmental sustainability, and whose coffees continually taste excellent we strive to create a long term relationship with them. This commitment builds a level of insurance and stability for all involved.
We roast in Brightwood Park, Washington DC on a 6 kilo Mill City Roaster. At origin and on the cupping table, we are looking for coffees that are sweet, bright, complex, and juicy. We’re looking for coffees that challenge the conceptions of what coffee can taste like. An experimentally fermented coffee that’s showing notes of pineapple and cinnamon....we want it. But we also appreciate and understand the need for a sweet, balanced, nutty, chocolatey cup. A variety of offerings is important to us.
We take into account origin, varietal, bean density, and processing when developing our roast profiles. These tend to yield light to medium roasts. Profiles are then continually cupped to ensure quality control.
At the end of the day, we want our roasting to showcase the work of the farmer.
Passion is the last but most important ingredient that makes all this possible, and that comes from the people. The farmers, the exporters, the importers, the roasters, the baristas, and the customers. Our team is a small one, but not short of passion.
Jeff Yerxa. Nico Cabrera. JR Harris