Author Archive

Fair Trade: A Movement for All

The following is an excerpt from a post from our fair trade certification: Fairtrade International:

True fair trade is about mutually beneficial relationships rooted in trust and respect spanning geographic and cultural boundaries.

As a global movement, fair trade brings attention to people around the world who work under exploitative conditions and highlights the true costs of goods in global supply chains. Organizations and activists, businesses and brands, farmers, workers and artisans have diligently worked for more than 40 years to bring greater balance to the terms of trade.

In recent months, we have watched as the term ‘fair trade’ has been grossly misused by politicians to energize their supporters while vilifying others. We have seen the term used to exclude people and encourage an isolationist agenda. These ideas stand in direct opposition to the concepts of justice and inclusivity that underlie our movement.

For far too long, conventional trade has maintained a narrow focus on the lowest common denominator. Efficiency at all costs, lower prices, and little consideration for the full social, economic and environmental impacts have been hallmarks of conventional international trade. Massive consolidation of power in supply chains has resulted in fewer options for consumers, farmers and workers, and unprecedented wealth controlled by few. Oxfam’s recent report on global inequality revealed that just eight men control more wealth than the world’s 3.6 billion poorest people combined.

IF WE HOPE FOR A SOCIETY – IN THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD – THAT IS MORE EQUAL AND JUST, WE MUST PRESS TRADE INTO THE SERVICE OF PEOPLE.

Global trade and the trade deals that accompany it are not inherently bad. They provide an opportunity to deliver the benefits of trade more broadly, but only if they are used for that purpose. Fair trade, with its focus on inclusion and empowerment, shows that trade can – and must – be more equitable.

If we hope for a society – in the U.S. and around the world – that is more equal and just, we must press trade into the service of people.

True fair trade creates shared value throughout supply chains.
True fair trade promotes openness and transparency.
True fair trade respects human rights.
True fair trade supports diversity.

We support trade that is truly equitable for all, including artisans, farmers and workers, traders and brands, consumers and civil society. Fair trade will never be about exclusion, but about expanding the benefits of trade for those who need it most.

As the U.S. considers renegotiating or entering into new international trade agreements, we encourage the inclusion of true fair trade principles. We urge all who care about human rights, shared value, transparency and diversity to call, write or meet with their elected officials and make your voice heard.


See the original article from Fairtrade International here, and check out the list of names that have signed on to this agreement!

Seasonality and (Great) Coffee

This is a write-up from the archives (2010) that is worth reading again. Former Thanksgiving Coffee employee Ben Corey-Moran discusses how seasonality affects great coffee.


Like all agricultural crops, coffee changes from year to year due to subtle shifts in environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall, sunshine, and equally subtle changes in harvesting, processing, and preparation by the farmer. This complex dance between farm and farmer produces a fascinating saga of flavor that tracks over time a mosaic of character, sweetness, nuance, and style.

Understanding the seasonality of coffee and working in harmony with its cycles allows us to deepen our relationship with coffee and the farmers who grow it. By focusing on coffee that is origin specific and in-season, we shorten the time and distance that separates us from the production of coffee. Featuring in-season coffees from specific farmers who are close partners transforms the experience of coffee from a generic commodity to a specifically local seasonal product.

Because coffee grows in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the coffee harvest is actually an ongoing cycle whose timing depends on latitude, elevation, and weather. Typically, coffees grown north of the equator are harvested between November and January while coffees grown south of the equator are harvested between May and July. After harvest and processing, coffee requires a resting period of two months before it can be shipped. Together, these steps add another three to four months to the arrival of new crop coffee. Consequently, late in our spring we expect the arrival of coffees from the northern hemisphere, while late in our fall we expect the arrival of coffees from the southern hemisphere.

Our monthly rotation of single-origin coffees features a fresh, in-season coffee produced by one of the farms or cooperatives we’ve worked with for years. Each is a unique expression of the farmer’s craft as it combines with the subtleties of varietal, soil, temperature, rainfall, and sunshine. Each is handpicked by our roasting team to showcase an exceptional example of the benefits that come from working directly with farmers, and the vibrancy of in-season coffee.

We hope you’ll join us as we explore the joys of coffee every month and for many years to come.

Ben Corey-Moran
Ben worked at Thanksgiving Coffee from 2003 to 2012, in charge of coffee buying and supply chain development operations, as well as working with farmers and cooperatives throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Ben is now the Director of Coffee Supply at Fair Trade USA, leading their investment in producer services, industry collaboration, and supply chain development.

Cold-Brewed Coffee Steak Marinade

re-posted from natalieparamore.com

Cold Brew Coffee Steak Marinade

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs skirt steak
1 cup cold brew (use the TCC Cold Brew Kit!)
4 tablespoons Maple Syrup
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, torn
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of kosher salt

Directions:
1. Whisk cold brew, syrup, garlic, rosemary, red pepper, black pepper and salt together. Marinate steak for two hours in the fridge, turning the meat over about half way through.

2. Sear steak on grill or cast iron pan on high heat for three minutes on each side for rare, five minutes on each side for medium.

3. Let skirt steak sit for five minutes after cooking, then slice and serve.

Serves 2-4

Marinade can be made a day in advance.

Buy the Cold Brew Kit

Basic Cold Brew (using our kit)

by Lawrence Bullock, Thanksgiving Coffee

Cold Brew

Here’s an inexpensive and easy way to make astounding cold-brew coffee.

1. Using the Thanksgiving Coffee Cold Brew Kit (the basic container and the mesh bag) grind up the entire 12 oz package worth of Thanksgiving Coffee. We recommend a medium to dark roast, (unless you’d like to experiment with other roasts) at a coarse grind. We’ve already ground the package that comes with your “starter” set. If you purchase whole beans later, and decide to grind your own, you are looking for a grind roughly the same consistency as breadcrumbs. Any finer and you risk cloudy, grimy-tasting coffee.
Buy the Cold Brew Kit

2. Fill the mesh bag with the ground coffee, and place it in the bottom of the empty container like a huge tea-bag, and top up the container with tap water (distilled water would be better — fewer dissolved solids means that it’ll absorb more of the coffee solids, but that’s not a huge difference).

3. Stick it in the fridge overnight. Easy peasy. In the morning, take the bag out of the container and give it a good squeeze to get the coffee liquor out of the mush inside. Voila, an amazing cold-brew concentrate that you can dilute.

4. Dilute 50/50, for example, one cup water to one cup concentrate, etc.

Cleanup is easy: invert the bag over a trashcan or garbage disposal, rinse off the bag, place somewhere clean to dry and you’re done.

This produces very, very good coffee concentrate, with only a little grit settled into the bottom of the container (easy to avoid). It may just be the cheapest and easiest cold-brewing method you’ll try.

Cold Brew Facts:

  • No fancy brewing equipment needed. If you outgrow our “starter” kit, you can expand using common household or easily acquirable items..
  • Big batch or small batch, you pick what’s best for you. The recipe is easy to scale depending on how much coffee you drink.
  • Your cold brew concentrate will last about a week in the refrigerator without losing its freshness.
  • You can mix your concentrate with water or milk, or if you are totally hard core you can drink it straight.

Buy the Cold Brew Kit

How do you take your coffee?

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