There is a month for everything. November is Historic Bridge Awareness Month. March is National Peanut Month. September is National Potato Month AND National Papaya Month. With as many month-long holidays as we have, it’s easy to overlook the more meaningful ones – but we don’t want to do that in April.
April: National Volunteer Month
April is National Volunteer Month, and that’s something special to us here at Thanksgiving Coffee. Our facility is in a town with a population under 8,000 – and that means we’re about as close-knit as a community can get. We all rely on each other to join in on the events and fundraisers that happen all along our coastline. Without each other, we would have nothing.
At Thanksgiving Coffee, we participate in multiple local events every month. Whether it’s the Whale Festival, the Crab Festival, the Abalone Feeds or Paul Bunyan Days, you’ll find one of our team donating weekend time to keeping people happy and caffeinated. In 2016 alone, employees of Thanksgiving Coffee spent over 250 hours at Mendocino County events, pouring coffee and chatting with our neighbors. We love it!
In addition to that, we have an amazing crew of people within our office that donate their time outside of work. During football season, Donald Arnold is coaching the Fort Bragg High School team. On lunch breaks, you can find Marchelo Bresciani and Megan Smithyman walking dogs at the Mendocino Coast Humane Society. Susan Coy is a regular volunteer at the Three Rivers Charter School, and Jen Lewis spends her Saturday afternoons at the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Lorraine Lee-Chorley manages all the fundraisers for the Temple of Kwan-Tai in Mendocino, and even our own co-founder Joan Katzeff waits tables during the Caspar Community Center fundraiser breakfasts.
We are proud to be a company of hardworking people, who are dedicated to making our community a better place.
THANK YOU to all you volunteers out there who participate in your cities and neighborhoods. You make the world a better place!
How are you involved with volunteering in your local area? Tell us how you participate on Facebook!
The world is lush with coffee growing regions, and inside those regions are thousands of small-scale coffee farmers, growing coffee in hundreds of different micro-climates and soil types. This is where we find the “micro-lot.”
Together with dozens of varietals (air, shade, wind, sun, rain, soil type, etc.), the coffee flavor is created in all its possibilities.
We have been in the coffee game for over forty years, and know the territory well, from Papua New Guinea to Nicaragua.
We know the farmers and they know us. Together we find these small, exceptional “micro-lots” produced by individual farms in quantities of no more than 10-20 sacks (1500-3000 pounds).
We pay the farmer a premium, and everyone involved is happy that a rare and quality coffee did not get lost in the crowd of good and quality coffee.
When the coffee finally arrives at Thanksgiving Coffee Company, our Roastmaster Jacob Long roasts the coffee 3-5 pounds at a time, using his knowledge to bring out the magic from each bean.
So when you see Thanksgiving Coffee offering a micro-lot coffee, you can be certain that you’re purchasing one hell of a great coffee.
– Paul Katzeff
Shop micro-lot coffee online.
San Francisco’s Exploratorium is one of the great gems of the bay area. The exhibits inside Pier 15 will keep you and your family enthralled for hours on end. But before walking through those doors, it’s always a good idea to get caffeinated.
And we have just the place.
Seismic Joint Cafe
In the same building as the Exploratorium is the Seismic Joint Cafe at Pier 15. This little coffee shop is the perfect pit stop before (or after, or during!) your visit to the Exploratorium. Grab a cup of the I Love Curiosity Blend, roasted by Thanksgiving Coffee! This coffee was grown in Nicaragua and Rwanda, and roasted along California’s North Coast.
The Exploratorium isn’t just a museum; it’s an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception. Learn more about them in this quote from their website:
Located in San Francisco, California, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception. Our mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide. The vision is a world where people think for themselves and can confidently ask questions, question answers, and understand the world around them. We value lifelong learning and teaching, curiosity and inquiry, our community, iteration and evidence, integrity and authenticity, sustainability, and inclusion and respect.
The Exploratorium creates tools and experiences that help you to become an active explorer: hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits, a website with over 50,000 pages of content, film screenings, evening art and science events for adults, plus much more. We also create professional development programs for educators, and are at the forefront of changing the way science is taught. We share our exhibits and expertise with museums worldwide.
Enjoy your trip to the Exploratorium, and don’t miss out on a cup of Thanksgiving Coffee, right there on Pier 15!
Not just a cup, but a just cup.
For the Birds is a blog series from Thanksgiving Coffee Company, highlighting one of the 200 Neotropical migratory birds who rely on shade grown coffee during their winter migration. In January, we featured the Cedar Waxwing, in February, the Magnolia Warbler, this month we’re focusing on the Blackburnian Warbler – the bird featured on our dark roast Songbird coffee.
Songbird Coffee Dark Roast from Colombia
With their bright colors and trilling songs, it’s no surprise that a group or flock of vibrant warblers is often called a ‘bouquet’. However, one of the most striking members of the warbler family would rather not join the bunch.
Common along the eastern region of the United States during their migration, the Blackburnian warbler can be easily identified as the only orange-throated warbler in North America. Named after botanist Anna Blackburn, the Blackburnian warbler is territorial on its breeding grounds, solitary in the winter, and only forms flocks during migration. In fact, this little bird is such a loner that even though both parents feed and care for the chicks, the parents separate when the young are old enough to fledge and leave the nest, each taking part of the brood with them.
But even the most solitary parent needs the support of a group every once in a while. After going their separate ways, the parents will sometimes join foraging flocks of kinglets and nuthatches with their begging young, the cries of which have been known to also attract chickadees.
Of the over 50 species of New World warblers to be found in North America, perhaps it is the colorful Blackburnian that stands out as a lone bloom, refusing to join the colorful assemblage of other warblers.
Help protect the winter habitat of Blackburnian warblers by buying SMBC Song Bird Colombian dark roast shade-grown coffee.
Dark Roast Colombian Coffee
Toasted • Spicy • Dark Chocolate
A rich coffee with flavors of toasted nut and dark chocolate followed by a smooth lasting finish, making this a clear winner for dark roast coffee enthusiasts.
The changing of the seasons is always energizing. From Summer to Fall, we get to enjoy the new colors, and the crispness in the air. Fall to Winter may bring a chill, but the promise of family home for the holidays, and cozy evenings by the fire. And now, we arrive at the transition from Winter to Spring. The days are getting longer, the air is getting warmer, and the flowers are beginning to bloom.
Along the Mendocino Coast, we get to enjoy an abundance of colors, as the daffodils have been making their way above ground, and brightening up our lives. The deluge of rainfall these past few months has turned the golden hillsides green and fresh!
The Spring Equinox is here. The official beginning of Spring, and the promise of new life all around us.
Sip a cup of coffee to keep you warm while we finish off the rest of this cold season. Whether you begin your spring cleaning, set a new goal for the season ahead, or begin preparations for your Easter celebrations, the First Day of Spring is a great time to look forward, and create a fresh start.
Frank Van Curen, Art Explorer and Paul Katzeff, CEO of Thanksgiving Coffee
“I love doing art because until recently I had never done it before. It makes me feel really good. It makes me happy because I love learning new things.”
“Doing art calms me down. I feel happy while I’m planning a design and working on my pictures.”
“Art makes me feel calm…art makes life better.”
“When I do my art I feel calm and like I’m experiencing what I think in my mind and throwing it onto the paper. The colors came from my brain and from nature. God gave me my talent and a giant heart that can love and do art and do other things.”
“Art is both relaxing and exciting. It makes me feel good about myself.”
“I like to spend a long time working on my portraits, often for weeks, even months. Sometimes I wake up in the night and plan what I’m going to do when I get to Art Explorers.”
If you haven’t taken the time to stop by and meet the artists at the Art Explorers Studio and Gallery, then you are missing out on one of the great hidden treasures of downtown Fort Bragg.
Art Explorers has been supporting artists with mental disabilities since 1996, providing a safe space for them to express themselves and find peace of mind with the stoke of a paint brush.
Last weekend, the Art Explorers celebrated a new ceramics show in Town Hall in collaboration with their artist in residence, Sabine Brunner of the Little Cup ceramics studio. A departure from their usual work, the artists got to enjoy expressing themselves in ceramics with hand made sculptures and painted mugs. And what goes perfectly with a new, one of a kind hand painted mug? Why, a fresh cup of coffee of course! Which is why the event also debuted a new fundraiser for the Art Explorers program: Thanksgiving Coffee.
Showcasing the artwork of 5 current Art Explorers, each bag label shares the story of the artist who created it. As the program grows, the work of more artists will have the opportunity to grace the front labels, highlighting the incredible talent of our local artists.
Packages of Art Explorers Coffee, dark roast and decaf, are currently available for purchase at the studio, online, or at special events. Each bag sold supports the artists and staff members of the Art Explorers program, and with 5 different labels to choose from, you’ll want to collect them all!
So take the time to stop on by the studio at 305 E. Redwood Ave (Tues. Thurs. + Fri. 9:00am – 3:00pm, Saturday 12:00pm – 3:00pm) and meet the artists, maybe buy a painting or some greeting cards, and pick up a bag of truly beautiful and one of a kind Art Explorers Coffee.
Learn more: www.artexplorers.org
Thanksgiving Coffee was featured in this season’s Word of Mouth Magazine, here in Mendocino County! Holly Madrigal and Torrey Douglass created a beautiful piece, centered around the B Corporations of Mendocino County.
B Corporations of Mendocino
Mendocino County boasts a total of nine B Corporations, including Thanksgiving Coffee Company. This is an astonishing amount, considering we are one of the smaller counties in California. We are happy to be one of the many, and are continually encouraging other companies to become certified as well. Other B Corporations include North Coast Brewing, FloBeds, Heather Paulsen Consulting, Eleek Custom Lighting, Harvest Market, Bed Bandits, Beckman Printing and Fetzer Vineyards.
“According to the B Corp community website, B Corporations ‘aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.’ The certification process is voluntary, and companies must receive at least 80 out of 200 on their Impact Assessment, a process that measures an applicant’s impact on the environment, their workers, their customers, and the community. The rigorous vetting can benefit both the planet and a company’s bottom line.”
Read the article here: http://wordofmouthmendo.com/winter-2016/2017/2/27/thanksgiving-coffee-shows-us-how-to-bee-the-change
Mendocino Bee Bold Movement
The piece in Word of Mouth’s Spring issue also discussed our participation in the Bee Bold Movement of Mendocino. This is something that we have been working tirelessly at for over a year now, and have seen some amazing results within our community. Check out our recent update on Bee Bold on our blog to learn more about how we’re working on a local and national level to save the bees.
“Recently Paul Katzeff was contacted by the non-profit Friends of the Earth regarding the perilous health of bees and other pollinators, and true to form he dove in and helped create an initiative: the Bee Bold Mendocino campaign, which seeks to educate the community about how to make our county ‘Bee Friendly’. The Bee Bold coffee comes in different roasts and features organic, shade grown coffee from Guatemala, Rwanda, Peru and Nicaragua. One dollar of the proceeds from every bag of Bee Bold coffee helps fund the Bee Bold Mendocino initiative, whose board of directors includes Thanksgiving Coffee Company, the Noyo Food Forest, master gardeners and local bee keepers. This motived group was the driving force behind Fort Bragg, California becoming the first ‘Bee City’ in the state.”
Be sure to pick up a copy of this season’s Word of Mouth Magazine to read more, and flip to page 17 to visits our accounts in Mendocino County!
Not just a cup, but a just cup.
The MacCallum House is a cornerstone of the village of Mendocino. This gorgeous Victorian home once housed the most prominent family of the Mendocino Coast, and now houses the #1 rated hotel in the village of Mendocino, according to Tripadvisor!
This stunning building sits tall on Albion Street, looking over the houses and water towers, with views of the bay below. The house is surrounded by one of the most stunning gardens in the village, begun by Daisy MacCallum herself in the late 1800s. Daisy was an early member of the American Rose Society, and her passion for gardening is still evident on the MacCallum House grounds today. The restaurant often serves produce grown in their own Chef’s Garden.
The MacCallum House is a landmark of Mendocino, and the favorite hotel for many of the tourists that visit our area. The Mendocino Coast would not exist as it does today had it not been for Daisy MacCallum’s family, and their prominence in the community made this area what it is today!
These days, the property has a restaurant, bar, hotel, a community hot tub, a greenhouse, and two floors of suites above the first floor cafe. We are delighted to be working with such an amazing partner, to participate in the history that this property offers.
Thanksgiving Coffee and the MacCallum House
The MacCallum House was originally completed in 1882, and became a bed and breakfast almost a century later in 1974. Thanksgiving Coffee became one of their first vendors in 1975 – providing coffee for the guests of the inn, and later the restaurant itself.
We created a special blend for guests of the MacCallum House, and now sell this unique coffee on our own website:
The MacCallum House Blend is full-bodied with dark chocolate overtones and a finish of sweet spices. This coffee is grown in the mountains of northern Nicaragua, surrounded by mango, guava trees, and avocados.
The gorgeous Victorian-style craftsmanship of the MacCallum House graces the label of this organic blend, so every time you reach for your bag of coffee in the morning, you’ll be reminded of the stunning Mendocino Coast.
During the month of March, our MacCallum House Blend is 20% off as our Monthly Special! Usually $14.50, you can purchase a 12oz bag for only $11.60 until April.
“In 1971 when I first arrived on the Mendocino Coast, Daisy MacCallum had just been moved to a nursing home. I would sneak into the MacCallum House and climb to the attic to read 100 year old books and journals – and imagine myself living back in the early days of Mendocino.”
Paul Katzeff, Co-Founder and CEO
Along the Mendocino Coast, we are lucky to have some of the most picturesque views in the world. From the stunning sunsets at Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, to the trails and forests in the Mendocino Woodlands: our coastline is a sight to behold.
In addition to our stunning views, we are lucky enough to have some truly magnificent restaurants and hotels – and one in particular has been a mainstay of the Mendocino Coast.
Albion River Inn has been operating for over 35 years, and even before that was a successful restaurant. Located on some of the most beautiful property in Albion, any family who gets the chance to view a sunset from the grounds will never forget it. Sometimes it rains, but we promise – it’s still stunning.
This facility has been featured in countless publications, including Sunset Magazine and Wine Spectator. With only 22 rooms, the Albion River Inn is often difficult to book – but always worth the wait.
Albion River Inn Restaurant
The restaurant on the Albion River Inn property uses ingredients grown and caught locally, and specializes in some of the best seafood you’ll find along the North Coast. A fun tidbit about the restaurant building: it was built out of wood salvaged from the Girlie Mahoney shipwreck, from 1919! This restaurant has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence on nineteen different occasions, thanks to the great Chef Stephen Smith, and sommelier Mark Bowery.
Thanksgiving Coffee and the Albion River Inn
The Albion River Inn Restaurant serves Thanksgiving Coffee, and has done so for the entirety of its existence. We worked with the restaurant and inn to create an organic blend unique to their brand. The Albion River Inn Blend is consistently a top-seller on our website, and those who enjoy it at the Inn are consistently impressed with the flavors presented in the dark roast.
A full-bodied and well-rounded blend with sweet chocolate tones and a crisp, toasty flavor, our Organic blend is grown high in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. Its rich complex flavor is a delightful reminder of the Albion River Inn and California’s magnificent North Coast.
This unique coffee is 20% off during the month of March, and is a coffee you’ll likely order again and again. This coffee is one of our bestsellers, and has never been on sale before now! Snag a bag or two online for your next morning cup of coffee, and be sure to stop by for a meal next time you’re near the Albion River Inn.
“Before it became the Albion River Inn, it was a rickety old dance hall that the hippies commandeered back in the day to dance to psychedelic music. The floor shook and being so close to the edge of the cliff, overlooking the shore 60ft below – I thought it might just fall into the ocean. That was back in the early 70’s.”
– Paul Katzeff, Co-Founder and CEO
The Incredible Story of a War-Torn Region Redeemed by the Coffee Bean
The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the heart of central Africa and considered to be the most bio-diverse country in the entire continent, which is quite a distinction. Iconic African wildlife such as jungle elephants and white rhino roam throughout the four national parks, and it is one of the few places on Earth that many great ape species, such as gorilla, chimpanzee and bonobo, call home. Its lush forests and equatorial climate means that the DRC is also an excellent region for growing some of the best sweet Bourbon varietals of coffee trees in the world.
But despite the country’s wealth of natural resources, decades of war, genocide, and political unrest has condemned many of the 68 million civilians to lives of poverty, disease and violence.
The lack of businesses and income-generating activity pushed the DRC into deeper turmoil and left the once=productive coffee sector neglected or abandoned. Most of the coffee farmers could no longer bring their harvest to market and fled the region, while others resorted to smuggling their beans into Rwanda in hopes to barter for food and supplies. So near, and yet so far: smuggling coffee is very dangerous and many people have lost their lives in the attempt.
Due to these circumstances, the small amount of coffee still produced in DRC was coming from small farms with old or rudimentary equipment and no access to international markets. All of that changed when Joachim Munganga founded the now-famous SOPACDI co-op.
Congo Coffee Farm
SOPACDI (Solidarité Paysanne pour la Promotion des Actions Café et Développement Intégral) was created by Joachim Munganga in 2002, as a means to bridge the ethnic strife of the region in order to tap into the international specialty coffee market. The co-op is located on the shores of Lake Kivu, which straddles the border between the DRC on the west bank and Rwanda to the east. Joachim started with his own farm and worked to rehabilitate an old, rundown estate with a central washing station for the co-op to process coffee. It wasn’t until 2008, when SOPACDI joined forces with the UK’s Twin Trading Company, that the doors to the international coffee market were opened wide. Together, they designed and obtained funding for a program to assist them with business skills and to begin rehabilitating the farms and improving the infrastructure, which included spearheading the construction of the first new central coffee washing station to be built in the country in over 40 years.
Since then, SOPACDI has grown to include over 5,200 farmers, 20% of whom are women. In a region infamous for rampant sexual violence, SOPACDI has been a leader in promoting gender equality and supporting the widows of those farmers who died trying to smuggle their beans into Rwanda. In addition to the revitalizing their lost coffee economy, SOPACDI has earned the distinction of being the first certified fair-trade co-op in the DRC and was also named 2014 Sustainability Award Recipient from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. They even hosted the DRC’s first internationally recognized coffee cupping competition, Saveur du Kivu, in 2015.
Economic stability saves lives, and not just human ones. Poor economic conditions result in the rise of eating and selling bushmeat, further endangering the sensitive wildlife of the DRC. As the animals are hunted, their numbers drop and they retreat deeper into the dense jungle. As logging companies and farmers clear away the forests at an alarming rate, they provide poachers an even greater access to hunt. That is, of course, unless the forest and the animals who live there can become a better economic resource to the people of DRC as a sustainable living ecosystem. Such is the hope of shade-grown coffee.
Coffee trees love the shade and they naturally thrive under a jungle canopy. Many coffee farmers additionally supplement their resources by growing shade-loving food crops, such as banana and avocado, along side their coffee trees, all within the natural infrastructure of the forest. By weaving the livelihood of the farmers into the success of a thriving jungle ecosystem, we are simultaneously supporting sustainable commercial goods and conservation.
Grauer’s gorillas are the world’s largest ape and only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over the last two decades their population has plummeted by an estimated 80 percent, which is why the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International has set up a program to help save them based on their success working with mountain gorilla populations in Rwanda. These efforts include daily protection and monitoring, tracking the gorilla groups, scientific research, data collection, local education programs, and community engagement.
By employing the local Congolese people to protect the gorillas, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is helping to foster a love for these creatures within the community while also creating an economic benefit. They now operate a permanent research and conservation field station in the core of Grauer’s gorilla range, working closely with traditional landowners and other local partners to help ensure the future of the species and countless others at risk in DRC.
Thanksgiving Coffee is proud to support the economic renewal of the DRC by partnering with SOPACDI to bring you Grauer’s Gorilla Congo Coffee. Not only does the purchase of this coffee promote the livelihoods of the SOPACDI farmers, but a percentage of all online sales benefit the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and their continuing efforts to conserve and study the great apes of the DRC.
Coffee changes the world, but it is quite possible that there is nowhere on Earth more profoundly impacted by the humble coffee bean than the Democratic Republic of Congo is right now. Together, we can all do our part to help stabilize this unique ecological treasure for future generations to enjoy by simply enjoying a good cup of coffee.
Not just a cup, but a just cup.