In February of 2016, Thanksgiving Coffee made a commitment to honor a species that is necessary for the continued existence of the planet. Humans, plants and animals alike rely on bees for survival, and we decided it was time to start paying attention.
Friends of the Earth
At the end of 2015, much of the Western world was discussing Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees were dying across America and some European countries. Beekeepers and environmental experts were teaming up to raise awareness, and here in Fort Bragg, Paul Katzeff got an email from Friends of the Earth. It asked:
“Donate $25. Help us save the bees!”
He immediately wrote back, and explained a partnership concept to raise $100,000 using coffee. A year later, that partnership has grown into a movement. We created a product: Bee Bold Coffee. For every bag sold, we donate between 15 and 25% of the proceeds to Friends of the Earth, in support of their efforts to create legislation to protect our pollinators.
In addition, Bee Bold Coffee sold in Mendocino County supermarkets provides the funding for Bee Bold Mendocino, an organization Thanksgiving Coffee formed to help focus efforts on our local bee populations. (see below)
Since we began this journey in 2016, we have sold over 1,600 pounds of Bee Bold Coffee through our online store, and over a thousand pounds through our local supermarkets in Mendocino County. We’ve raised over $11,000 for Friends of the Earth, and $1,500 for our local Bee Bold Mendocino committee.
Saving the Bees in Mendocino
Because we wanted to make a difference within our local community, we contacted garden clubs, plant nurseries, beekeepers, and the school food and garden programs to ask how we could support them in their efforts to help bees and other pollinators. We partnered with the Noyo Food Forest so contributions could be tax deductible.
For every bag of Bee Bold Coffee sold at local businesses (see below), we donate a dollar to Bee Bold Mendocino. This local advisory committee is responsible for bee education and action in Mendocino County, and Thanksgiving Coffee has one representative on that committee.
Here are a few of the outlets in Mendocino County that have carried Bee Bold Coffee. Be sure to give them a call and see if they have your favorite roast in stock.
Fort Bragg: Harvest Market, Purity, Interior, Down Home Foods
Mendocino: Harvest at Mendosas, Corners of the Mouth
Laytonville: Long Valley Market
Willits: Mariposa Market
Gualala: Anchor Bay Store, Gualala Supermarket, Surf Supermarket
Ukiah: Ukiah Natural Foods
Moving Forward Locally
In July of 2016, Fort Bragg became the first city in California to be declared a Bee City, with San Francisco following close behind. We are currently working with local nurseries to eradicate the use of neonicotinoids in our community. The City of Fort Bragg has also re-purposed the lawns surrounding the Guest House Museum in our downtown area as a city park. This park will be re-planted with a bee-friendly garden.
We are also planning an observation hive at the Thanksgiving Coffee headquarters for installation in 2017. This beehive will be within the Company’s heirloom apple orchard, just north of our facility in Noyo Harbor. We also recently hosted a screening for everyone on staff of the documentary Queen of the Sun, a film we all needed to see together to better understand why we’re putting so much effort into saving the bees.
It all started with a simple email: a call to action to save this tiny creature. Our goal here is to now inspire YOU. Bees live in a community – they cannot exist on their own, and without their hive, they simply die. Our efforts to save the bees are very much the same; we are relying on our community to spread the word and to keep the awareness spreading. We couldn’t have done any of this without Friends of the Earth, Noyo Food Forest, local gardeners, nurseries, and the beekeepers who have studied and kept bees for so many years.
What Can You Do to Save the Bees
Whether you’re here in California or anywhere across the world, the plight of the bees is important for all of us. How can you be involved in saving the bees? There are so many ways to join in:
Only purchase plants from nurseries that have agreed to stop using neonicotinoids
Attend a showing of Queen of the Sun (more information coming soon!)
Ask your local supermarket to carry Bee Bold Coffee
One of the best ways you can be involved? Be aware. Do your research and be a conscious consumer. Shop from local farms, attend the farmers markets in your area, buy seeds from reputable sources, and share information you can with family and friends.
We are excited about what’s happening with the Bee Bold Movement, and we want to get more people involved. If you have an idea about how to spread even more awareness for the bees, please reach out! We are always looking for more people to join our committee and rally the troops to save the bees.
Learn a little more about each of these cause coffees to benefit the bees below:
Our Bee Bold Light Roast has a soft acidity, featuring the sweetness of blueberry and plums. On our Medium Roast, blueberry notes add to hints of cashew and chocolate, while our Dark Roast is a bold, sweet blend with hints of nuts, chocolate, and caramel. The Very Dark (or French) Roast is distinctly smoky with hints of jammy fruit, roasted nuts, and baker’s chocolate. Each roast is unique and captivating in its own way, and it’s worth it to try every one!
Every morning as you grind and brew your coffee, remember that you’re drinking a coffee that the bees would be proud of. Help us support local and national programs to save the bees!
January 16 is Dian Fossey’s birthday, and we’re taking a moment to recognize a truly spectacular woman. Take a moment to learn more about Dian Fossey’s life through the interactive experience on the Gorilla Fund website.
Dr. Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke™ Research Center in Rwanda’s Virungas Mountains in 1967, to protect and study the endangered mountain gorillas. Although Fossey’s life was cut short, her work has continued through the Karisoke Research Center and grown into conservation efforts for other wildlife and programs for people who live near the gorillas.
Among the most legendary scientists of our time, Dian Fossey went to Africa at the urging of famed anthropologist Louis Leakey and began her groundbreaking studies of gorilla behavior. She faced and overcame many obstacles and ultimately gave her life to gorilla protection.
Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for over a decade, supporting their programs in Rwanda to save the mountain gorillas. Learn more about our partnership, and purchase Gorilla Fund Coffee from Rwanda on the Thanksgiving Coffee store.
Every month, we feature two of our coffees at a 20% discount. We do this to encourage you to try a new blend or roast, and see what kinds of new tastes you might like. Our special offers for January 2017 are our Bolivia, and our Dark Roast Guatemala. Learn more below:
Organic • Fair Trade • Kosher
This fine single-origin Bolivian coffee is crisp, with a syrupy, honey-toned sweetness marked by notes of cacao, spice, and a juicy plum acidity.
$12.40 during the month of January // usually $15.50
Dark Roast Guatemalan Coffee
Organic • Fair Trade • Kosher
Sweet cherry tartness, with notes of semi-sweet chocolate and caramel.
$13.20 during the month of January // usually $16.50
Guatemala + Bolivia Two exceptional coffees, 20% off this month.
The Guatemala coffee is from a group of farmers that know how to bring the rich volcanic soil to life. Our Bolivian farmers have learned the same magic. Although separated by thousands of miles of tropical forests and mountain ranges, both groups have similar farming practices.
We paired these two origins for a reason: when you blend these two coffees together some exceptional flavors emerge.
This pair of coffees gives you a chance to experiment with blending different roast colors. These two coffees are so compatible that the blend can often be better than the sum of its parts. But before you blend, you have to taste them individually at least twice – so you get to know them a little bit.
When you’re ready to blend, always add the dark roast to the light roast. Start by adding 5% dark Guatemala to the light Bolivia. by varying the percentage of dark to light in small increments you will discover dozens of coffee taste profiles. You have enough coffee to brew a different blend each day for a month. It’s what I do and I am always pleasantly surprised.
How are migratory birds and shade grown coffee trees linked?
The coffee industry has an enormous impact on migratory birds: when they fly south in the cold months, these birds rely on the trees that shade coffee farms throughout the tropics. When coffee plantations clear cut land to grow coffee in direct sunlight, not only does the loss of forested lands contribute to climate change, but our precious migratory birds lose their winter homes.
If we want to continue enjoying these birds, we have to preserve their winter habitat – and choosing to purchase only shade grown coffee is an integral part of that habitat preservation. Our SongBird Coffee is Organic and Fairtrade, and certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
“In this picture of shade grown coffee we see the lower level, dark green coffee trees. On the second level there are banana trees and on the overstay third level, native trees. From the mottled bark I can see that the tree is Inga, a tree with nitrogen setting qualities in the root system. It shades the coffee trees from above while providing leaf litter to refresh the thin topsoil layer, while at the same time adding Nitrogen to the soil with its roots.
This was taken on a trip to Jinotega, Nicaragua. Altitude is 5,000 feet ” – Paul Katzeff
Every month, we feature a specific coffee that has just recently arrived at the Thanksgiving Coffee Roastery. The most recent green coffee arrival is our Organic Peruvian Coffee, and this batch is tasting spectacular. Order the freshest coffee we have, and snag yourself a bag of our 100% Peru!
Light Roast • Organic • FairTrade • 12oz • $15.50
Delicate honey-toned sweetness, juicy citric acidity, subtle chocolate notes, and hints of ripe papaya.
We drank a LOT of coffee this year. American adults drink an average of 382 million cups of coffee every day – multiply that by the 365 days of 2016, and we have a pretty caffeinated nation. As for the year 2016, there were a couple coffees that you (our customers) especially enjoyed this past year… let’s take a look at the top five!
Top Selling (Favorite!) Coffees of 2016
SongBird French Roast
Full-bodied, smoky, and intense.
Below: A shade-grown coffee farm in Guatemala, where some of the coffee beans from this blend were grown.
2016 has been a whirlwind of a year. These past twelve months have sped by, and it’s crazy to think that we have only a few days left until a brand new year is upon us! A lot has happened at Thanksgiving Coffee Company in 2016. Let’s take a look back at the year we’re leaving behind.
Roaster of the Year Win
The highlight of our year would have to be our win of Roast Magazine’s 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year. We worked hard to accomplish this goal, and are honored to be able to share it with our customers, whose loyalty and support got us where we are.
The three coffees chosen during Roast Magazine’s blind tasting are available as a gift pack, complete with our article in Roast Magazine and a tasting card for your own experimentation.
Best For the World
We were honored to be named as one of B Corporation’s Best for the World companies this year. This distinction recognizes our efforts at home and abroad to better the coffee industry and our communities. We scored in the top 10% of all B Corporations!
“These companies redefining business success are the enterprises we celebrate in our Best for the World coverage. The 1,800-plus businesses around the world that have undergone the B Impact Assessment and certified as B Corporations – as verified by the independent nonprofit B Lab* – are all leaders demonstrating the many ways businesses can be a force for good in the world. The B Impact Assessment gives companies a score based on how they perform on metrics for impact on their communities, the environment, workers and customers.” – bftw.bthechange.com
2016 Cause Coffee Partnerships
In 2016, we had the opportunity to launch TWO new Cause Coffee partnerships, and we’re enthusiastic about both of them. Learn more below:
Bee Bold Mendocino
The Bee Bold Mendocino partnership was the brain child of Thanksgiving Coffee Company’s co-founder, Paul Katzeff. In an effort to save the bees here in Mendocino County, we created a local action committee. On a global scale, we partnered with Friends of the Earth to create our Bee Bold Coffee.
We are very happy to be partnering with Baby Rhino Rescue to support the orphaned rhinos of Africa. At the largest rhino orphan sanctuary in South Africa, Baby Rhino Rescue provides essential physical, nutritional, medical and emotional support to rehabilitate those baby rhinos fortunate enough to be found in time to save them.
We released two new coffees this year, as a part of our Roastmaster’s Select Coffee Club. Every month, members of this club receive two 12oz bags of our latest coffee arrivals. They’re the first to receive all of our newest blends and single origins. These two coffees were our favorites of the new single origins released in 2016.
Lively and complex. Milk chocolate and caramel notes give way to a smooth, lasting finish.
Kenya Peaberry Coffee
A unique mouthfeel with hints of milk chocolate, ripe peach, and caramel.
Thanksgiving Coffee in the Community
Here at Thanksgiving Coffee, we’re lucky enough to live in a community that cares about one another. Every individual has their place, and tries to give back with what they can.
Volunteer Hours worked
As a certified B Corp, we encourage and support participation in building community. From volunteering at the humane society to coaching the high school football team, our team of people here at Thanksgiving have given their heart and soul to our local community. Over 275 hours were volunteered during 2016!
Pounds of Coffee Donated
Another piece that comes along with being part of the community is the opportunity to give back what we make here at the roastery: coffee!! We make sure that local events and fundraisers are always well-stocked with Thanksgiving Coffee. During 2016, we had the opportunity to donate over $12,000 worth of coffee to community events and fundraisers. These dollars translate into substantial income for the non-profits involved, who sell our coffee by the cup.
Events Thanksgiving Coffee Attended
Roasters Guild Retreat
Back in August, we got the chance to send our Roastmaster Jacob Long to the Roasters Guild Retreat in Wisconsin. Jacob and his team won the team challenge at the event, and had the opportunity to work with many of the greats in the coffee roasting community.
Let’s Talk Coffee
Let’s Talk Coffee had to be one of our favorite events of the year – for good reason. During the red carpet event, Roast Magazine and Let’s Talk Coffee announced our win for the 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year! Jonah Katzeff accepted the award at the event in Puerto Vallarta.
B Corporation Champions Retreat
Co-founders Paul and Joan Katzeff attended the annual Champions Retreat for the B Corporation in Philadelphia in 2016. This event was an excellent way to spend time with the brands and leaders that are shaping our world. The champions retreat brought leaders from every industry together for lectures, community events and stimulating conversation. We are so honored to be a part of such an inspiring group of innovators!
At this year’s San Francisco Green Festival, we had the opportunity to serve thousands of lattes, americanos, cappuccinos, pour-overs and more, to the amazing folks of San Francisco. Being around brands and individuals that care about taking care of our planet was a truly wonderful experience. The conversations that we had with everyone who stopped by our booth were inspiring!
New Coffee Reviews in 2016
It’s always a highlight of our year to hear that people are loving our coffee – and that it’s scoring GREAT! Take a look at what the experts at CoffeeReview.com had to say about two of our favorite roasts…
Paul’s Blend: 92 Points
“Richly and sweetly pungent. Concord grape, roasted cacao nib, cedar, hazelnut, lemon blossom in aroma and cup. Brisk, lightly juicy acidity; delicate, satiny mouthfeel. The crisp, nut-toned finish leads with Concord grape notes in the short and cedar in the long, with hazelnut throughout.”
“Delicate, deeply sweet. Baker’s chocolate, magnolia, peach, black peppercorn, sandalwood in aroma and cup. Gentle, rounded acidity; velvety mouthfeel. The richly drying finish consolidates to baker’s chocolate and peach. An engaging coffee particularly appealing to those who value delicate, cocoa-toned coffees with gentle acidity and engaging spice notes. Reassuring environmental and socio-economic credentials.”
Now that 2016 is coming to a close, we look forward to what 2017 has to offer. What were your highlights from this past year? Share with us on social media.
Be sure to follow us to get the latest updates on what’s happening at Thanksgiving Coffee Company!
There’s a myriad of traditions surrounding December 25 – exchanging gifts, singing carols, attending midnight mass and so many more. One of these traditions, and one especially close to our hearts, is the Christmas Bird Count.
For fifty years, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has worked tirelessly to save the gorillas of Rwanda. Thanksgiving Coffee and the Gorilla Fund first partnered over a decade ago because we were inspired by their work, and we wanted to be a part of such a stirring movement. There are many ways to help support the Gorilla Fund, and we want to provide a list of great brands that are supporting this cause.
With the holiday season in mind, take a look at these brilliant products that are not only useful and lovely – but meaningful.
This brand has a huge variety of cute clothing, but there was one product in particular that we were drawn to… the coffee mug, of course! An adorable design and a great cause make this one of our favorite gifts this holiday season. And it’s even better when paired with our Gorilla Fund Coffee.