Without coffee to roast, ShareWell Coffee does not have a product. As a roaster, what we do is connect everyday consumers to coffee farmers all over the world.
As a consumer, every cup of coffee that you drink begins as a plant carefully grown, cultivated and harvested by a farmer or group of farmers. The coffee is then washed and dried at the farm. After washing and drying, the coffee is taken to a mill where it is processed to be sorted, bagged and shipped out. This is a highly simplified summary of the process. (For more information join us for a coffee class!) Every step along this process effects the quality of the coffee.
The truth is, the coffee that you decide to drink is actually an ethical decision. For that matter, every decision you make as a consumer is an ethical decision, because every product you purchase to eat or drink or wear was created by human beings. Unfortunately, many products we have come to love have been created and distributed in an unethical manner. It is very difficult to be reminded of the humanity of the production of a product when you see it neatly packaged and on a shelf. Conscious consumerism may be one of the most important ethical matters of our time. The key is to know what you are buying.
So, since ShareWell is a part of your daily consumer choice, how do we find the coffee that you drink everyday?
We primarily work with coffee importers. Importing companies range in size just like organizations in any industry. When we are working with an importer, our primary concern is what information the importer can tell us about the coffee farm or coop (group of farms). Since we can't travel around the world to personally meet coffee farmers (YET!), we trust the relationships that these importers have with the farmers. Our importers have pictures of the farms and lots of information about the farms and the surrounding region. The posts to come will highlight the stories behind the coffee you have been drinking!
2. Direct Trade
Direct trade means we don't have to work with an importer to get the coffee, but we can work with the farmer directly. At the moment we have one long-term direct trade relationship with
Alexis Batista who owns and operates a farm in Panama, he is also a resident of Asheville (more on that relationship to come!). BUY A BAG OF HIS COFFEE HERE! Ideally, all of our coffee would be direct trade, until then we will continue working with importers who are doing an incredible job in connecting roasters with farmers.
The sad reality of the coffee industry is that at the end of the day, even buying coffee from the most ethical coffee importers is still not enough to pay the farmers what they deserve. No amount of FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC certifications are going to change that. What can and will change that is conscious consumers realizing that every one of their consumer decisions effect the lives of people at the end of the supply chain. Coffee prices should be higher, not so the roaster can make more money, but so that farmers can get paid what they deserve to take care of their families and communities. Therefore, we aren't stagnant in our coffee partner search. We are always looking for importers we can purchase coffee from who are building authentic and long lasting relationships with farmers.
We tell our wholesale partners that our price is as low as it can possibly be in order to purchase the most ethical coffee possible, we don't price high in order to negotiate.
It may certainly be cliche to say, but every coffee does have a story. Coffee can be a beautiful product that connects conscious consumers to hard working farmers all over the globe. We are grateful for our customers, wholesalers, importers and farmers!
Thank you for drinking ShareWell and be on the look out for some more posts highlighting the story behind our coffee.