We donate brewed coffee to numerous charity events across the State of California. We usually show up, plug in a couple of pour over brewers and serve our Weaver's Astral Blend Coffee. It is not an easy thing to do after working an eighty hour week, but we feel it is important to give back to the community whenever possible.
Last year, at a large San Francisco Parade, one young man came up to our coffee booth and mentioned he was a coffee roaster. I immediately pulled him out of the blazing sun and into our shaded booth. We shared a cup of coffee and he was incredibly charming and kind. He ended up spending a few hours with our team, helping to serve our coffee to parade goers whom were in desperate need of caffeine.
We discussed many things pertaining to the art of managing a coffee roasting company. Issues surrounding forecasting, the best way to pick up 152 pound sacks of green coffee, the costs associated with labels and bags, staffing issues and of course the drama of collecting checks from the wholesale accounts. Then he made a comment about the coffee wars. I replied, "What coffee wars?" Whereas he threw back his head and laughed a deep guttural laugh and repeated, "You know, the coffee wars?"
Initially, I thought my new friend was discoursing on how wars have affected the lives of coffee farmers in Sudan and other coffee growing regions by decimating their farms and trees as well as their ability to provide food, water and education to their children.
My blank stare confirmed that I had no idea what he was talking about until he went on to explain that he had recently been at an event with a group of Bay Area coffee roasters, all of whom were engrossed in a conversation about the San Francisco coffee wars. One of the other coffee roasters mentioned our company's brand in the discussion, he asked, “what about Weaver's?” Whereas, another coffee roaster replied, “they seem like they are above it all. They probably don't even know there is a coffee war going on in San Francisco. “
He was right. We are so busy in our day to day, doing the best we can to create a perfect cup of coffee on a consistent basis that we usually don’t have time to talk to other coffee roasters, let alone about coffee wars between artisan roasters in a small community like the Bay Area.
Coffee is a tough business. We have nothing but respect for anyone involved in the art of roasting coffee. However, we are completely focused on the coffee itself, taking care of our staff, because it is all about your people, and serving our customers, whom we adore, because they are fiercely loyal and stand by us through thick and thin.
There are real wars that plague the world, destroying lives and communities. There is corruption and turmoil in countries where we source our Arabica coffee beans. We are just artisan coffee roasters in the Bay Area and we often ask ourselves what is it we can do to help?
One thing we do is source Fair Trade Certified Coffee. John Weaver sources beautiful Arabica coffee from along the equatorial belt and in sourcing these beans we find a way to give back. Weaver’s Astral Blend Coffee contains a percentage of Ethiopian Coffee from the OCFCU – OROMIA COFFEE FARMERS COOPERATIVE UNION.
"Fair Trade premiums have allowed us to better our transportation and solved rural community communications issues.” -Tadesse Meskela
"The Fair Trade premium has created more schools in the local region consequently improving the enrollment of female youth and adults in schools.” -Tadesse Meskela
I learn something every day in the coffee business. The most important thing I have learned is that every purchase matters. If you, as a consumer, are willing to pay seven cents more per cup of coffee because it guarantees a farmer a better life then you are doing the right thing. It helps a farmer if you spend a few minutes each day educating someone about the power of Fair Trade Certified Coffee, because you can change the world, if you just go out there and do it.