Fair Trade Month has come to a close, and we wanted to take the time to acknowledge the fair trade mark. There are many different aspects of the fair trade certification, and we want to share with you what it means to us!
There are many different types of certifications in the world of fair trade, but we chose ours for a very specific reason. Fair Trade International (FLO) has a strict set of standards that must be followed in order to be a certified part of the organization. While every fair trade certification has a set of rules, our research found FLO to be a leader in the industry: they set their standards higher, and continually challenge others in the community.
Thanksgiving Coffee History in Fair Trade
After Paul’s trip to Nicaragua in 1985, Thanksgiving Coffee Company took an important turn. When Paul realized how the coffee industry was affecting farmers and communities in Nicaragua and around the world, he decided it was time to make a change.
In 1999, we signed up with TransFair USA (now called Fair Trade USA), the only available certification at the time. We were the second company to sign up for this fair trade certification, and it was just one of the beginning steps toward “a just cup.”
In 2012, Fair Trade USA (FTUSA, originally TransFair USA) made some changes that we did not agree with, and we decided to make the change to Fair Trade International (FLO). At that time, FTUSA made the decision to allow larger coffee plantations to be certified. A move that may make sense in theory, but one that could hurt many of the smaller family coffee farms. We made the switch, and are honored to be a part of the FLO community now.
While fair trade certification is a vital part of Thanksgiving Coffee, there is so much more we do. Here are two more of the important certifications that we’ve acquired over the years:
B Corp Certification
The B Corps movement is people using business as force for good. They use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems all over the world. B Corporations are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Smithsonian Bird-Friendly Coffee
The “Bird-Friendly Coffee” certification was started by the The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. The strict standards for this certification are that the beans be 100% certified organic, as well as shade-grown. The Smithsonian seal ensures tropical “agroforests” are preserved for migratory birds to find a haven when they travel. From your backyard to faraway farms, the Bird-Friendly certification provides a much needed habitat for these birds.
How can you join in on the mission? There are so many ways! And not just during October, but throughout the year. One of the best ways to participate in the fair trade community is simply by purchasing fair trade products. There are thousands of amazing brands out there that are committed to creating goods that that do good.
Another way to celebrate is by sharing the love! Log onto your favorite social media network, and help brands promote their product. Follow Fair Trade International on Facebook and Instagram to find shareable content.
Not sure what fair trade coffee is right for you? Take a look at the coffee selector on our website to learn about the different roasts available.
The Green Festival is one of our favorite events of the calendar year, for a variety of reasons. There are great exhibitors and inspiring speakers – and the conversations we have at this event are always worthwhile. We will once again be attending and exhibiting at San Francisco’s Green Festival – this year as the exclusive coffee provider of the festival!
What is the Green Festival?
Green Festival has been a mainstay in the green community for almost fifteen years, and holds the title as both the largest and longest-running green living event. Over the course of a weekend, the green community comes together to discuss, to brainstorm and to be a part of something bigger. Brands, personalities and up-and-comers in every industry take part.
How is Thanksgiving Coffee ‘Green’?
From the start, Thanksgiving Coffee Company has always been focused on green living. We strive to make sure that from origin to your mug, our coffee is doing its part to save the earth and care for those living in it. This shows itself in a myriad of ways:
Ensuring our beans are shade grown, in order to provide a habitat for migratory birds that rely on tall trees in coffee growing communities.
Choosing our certifications with care, and striving to provide the best for the people who make our coffee.
Conserving energy in our roasting and administration facilities on the Mendocino Coast.
Meet the Thanksgiving Coffee Team at the Conference
We can’t wait to serve our coffee to the movers and shakers at the Green Festival! We’ll be situated in the food court, for easy access to caffeine during the conference. We would love to meet you all, so please stop by.
Come discuss green living with us, and order your eco-conscious holiday gifts for your friends and family! We will ship when the time comes. Solve your gift giving this year with our Roaster of the Year winning coffees.
We’ll also be giving away three coffee trees at the event, so be sure to stop by to enter your name in the drawing.
Don’t have a ticket just yet? Don’t worry, we have extras. Contact us to put your name down for a free ticket, courtesy of Thanksgiving Coffee Company.
We are beyond excited to announce that we have been chosen as the 2017 Macro Roaster of the Year! This prestigious award is chosen through a vigorous process by Roast Magazine, and we are so honored to have been selected.
Pictured Below: The Thanksgiving Coffee team outside our Fort Bragg headquarters
Roaster of the Year Selection Process
The selection process at Roast Magazine is truly impressive. In order to apply, the team at Thanksgiving Coffee compiled a 30 page booklet, outlining some of the most fascinating aspects of our company:
Pictured Below: CEO Paul Katzeff at the original headquarters in Noyo Harbor
Choosing the Coffee: Blind Tasting
Being Roaster of the Year is not just about what we’ve done or where we came from… it’s about the coffee. After choosing the finalists from the information submitted to them from coffee roasters around the globe, Roast Magazine does a blind taste test.
Pictured Below: Roastmaster Jacob Long in the Roastery
For this test, they asked each finalist to submit three roasts, and our roastmaster Jacob Long made the decision:
“This is an international competition, we were competing against the best artisan roasters from around the world. With so many great coffees to select from, I chose to present the judges with a few of our freshest coffees with amazing flavor profiles, vibrant and rich Kenyan Peaberry, floral Ethiopian Gedeb, and the beloved fruity-chocolatey Paul’s Blend.”
These coffees were sent to two separate cupping labs for the blind tasting. The judges at these labs scored all of the coffees presented by the finalists, and then combined those with the scores from the written submissions. The top rated coffee company is then selected as Roaster of the Year.
Pictured Below: Vice President Jonah Katzeff accepting the award at Let’s Talk Coffee
We want to say THANK YOU to our fans, our friends and family, and everyone who has supported us over the 44 years of coffee roasting. This is such a huge honor, and we can’t wait to share even more of our coffees with the world over the next year!
Many of us were raised to think a certain way, regarding wolves: they’re to be feared, they’re dangerous, they’re destructive. This manner of thinking has been the cause of decades of wrongful acts against wolf populations all over the US. This is something we need to change.
For over thirteen years, Thanksgiving Coffee has partnered with the people at Defenders of Wildlife. Defenders is one of the leading wildlife information and action organizations in the United States, and a non-profit that we admire greatly. This partnership was born out of a realization of the decreasing wolf populations here in America, and the idea that a cup of coffee can do so much. Learn more about our partnership on the Thanksgiving Coffee Store.
Fact + Fiction About Wolves
This week, we want to challenge all of our supporters, our families, friends and fans to reevaluate the way you look at wolves. During National Wolf Awareness Week, we encourage you to read through the Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Fact v. Fiction page, and adjust your perspective on these animals. Take some time to understand that there are nonlethal options for protecting livestock, and read through the coexisting project in Idaho’s Wood River Valley.
If you’re interested in learning more, the Defenders of Wildlife website is a wealth of information, dedicated to the protection of endangered and threatened species all over the United States. Learn more at www.defenders.org.
Thanksgiving Coffee Company supports Defenders of Wildlife by donating a portion of the proceeds of the sale of our Save Our Wolves Coffee. Choose your favorite roast, and every sip you take goes to support the Defenders of Wildlife program.
How else can you participate during National Wolf Awareness Week? Adopt a wolf! The Defenders of Wildlife offers the opportunity to “adopt a wolf” through their website. This is an awesome way to spread awareness of the plight of the wolves, as well as pick up a few plush toys for the kiddos when the holidays roll around.
Join the Conversation about Wolf Awareness
Join the conversation on social media, and share the information you’ve learned today with your friends during National Wolf Awareness Week!
Here at Thanksgiving Coffee, we’re always striving to better ourselves and our coffee – and history has shown this has a positive effect on the specialty coffee industry as a whole. One of the ways that we participate in the industry is by attending coffee events all over the world in order to meet with other leaders. This week we find ourselves at the Let’s Talk Coffee Conference.
Let’s Talk Coffee is a four day coffee conference held in Puerto Vallarta. At this event, leaders in the coffee industry from all over the world come together for one purpose: to talk about the coffee industry. The theme of the conference this year is Prospering in the New Reality; we’ll be looking forward to the future and discussing ways we can better our companies while forging new relationships at the conference.
Every facet of the coffee industry comes together at this event to discuss how the specialty coffee industry can make changes for the better. This is one of the few times that coffee producers, distributors, roasters, bloggers and investors all join together to discuss issues brainstorm solutions. Specialty coffee has long been a leader in the movement toward a more sustainable future, so we can’t wait to see how they continue to lead the conversation.
The Let’s Talk Coffee conference is put on by Sustainable Harvest, a coffee importing company that we have worked with for many years. We’re also happy to see that they are a fellow B Corporation!
Thanksgiving Coffee’s vice president Jonah Katzeff is in Puerto Vallarta now for Let’s Talk Coffee this year! We cannot wait to join the rest of the industry for thought-provoking conversation and informative lectures. See you there!
Follow Let’s Talk Coffee on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date! Keep your eye out for some big news on Saturday…
Coffee trees are remarkable for their ability to regenerate after severe pruning.
Severe pruning is hard on the psyche. You have taken care of your tree for 15 years and it has produced an amazing amount of enjoyment as it took you through its seasonal life cycles for 12 of those years. You are no Paul Bunyan with an anxious ax. You want to save trees, not chop them down. So you are about to break your own heart and you know it. You are, however, about to rejuvenate your tree and it will love you for your bravery. Sharp pruning shears are all that you need (and faith).
“The Cut” – May 4, 2016
On May 4th, 2016 the “cut” was made about 18” from the base of the tree; it broke my heart. That’s because I harvested 511 cherries from the tree, de-pulped them, soaked the seeds in a water-bath, dried them for a week on a window sill, and in the end had about 12 ounces of green beans. We invited the mayor of Fort Bragg, chefs, a winery owner, and our staff to a once in a lifetime “cupping.” We put the roasted beans on the cupping table with coffees from Central America and were pleasantly surprised when they received the highest praise for flavors we described as bright with hints of lemon, peanut butter, and dark chocolate.
27 Days Later – June 1, 2016
Note the small fresh leaves close to the trunk. This tree has plenty of root spore and therefore it is overpowered. It has stored its regenerative powers and now those roots have much less plant structure to support. It will put on a vigorous growth spurt over the next 6 months. Notice a new trunk beginning about 8” up the main trunk. We will watch it and hopefully 2 or 3 others will emerge from the lower trunk, proving the structure for the new tree.
48 Days After “The Cut” – June 21, 2016
The tree is beginning to fill in its remaining architecture with bright new leaves and a second trunk has emerged at about 10” from the base. We are on our way. There is nowhere to go but up and out.
Stay tuned for photos of its progress over the next 6 months.
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
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.
2 oranges 2 cups (packed) medium-ground coffee 5 or so cardamom pods, crushed 2 quarts (plus 1 cup, to replace water lost during filtering) filtered water
Zest the oranges, making sure not to include any of the white pith (a microplane is the best way to do this). Reserve the oranges for another use, like, you know–eating.
Combine coffee grounds, zest, cardamom and water in a large container, stir well, cover and let it rest at room temperature for 24 hours. To filter, pour through a fine-mesh strainer a couple of times. Line the strainer with a paper towel and filter again once or twice. Store in the fridge or a cool location.
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.
By Joan Katzeff, Co-Founder & Director of Operations
I first visited Nicaragua in the early 1990’s. The terrible years of the Iran Contra Civil War were still dominant in the memory of the people, and its effects had taken a huge toll on coffee farmers already enduring a difficult way of life.
At one of the beneficios (where coffee is processed), I watched an assembly line of women sitting on a motley collection of chairs on either side of a moving conveyor belt. Their job was to separate defective beans from those that made the grade for sale and export. It was noisy, hot and dusty, so the women also wore masks that covered their noses and mouths while working.
I left knowing that as soon as I returned home, I would figure out a way to raise money to purchase new ergonomic chairs for those women, and I did, in a gesture of solidarity. But, I knew it was just a drop in the bucket.
Thanksgiving Coffee staff with the women of SOPPEXCCA, 2013
On another small group trip in 2012, we visited the beneficio of Soppexcca, a cooperative composed predominantly of women.
We spent some time “helping” the women transfer coffee beans from the drying patio into sacks that were in process for export. I’m not sure how helpful we were, but it was an enjoyable cultural exchange. These women performed hard physical work on a daily basis. Many of them walked miles to and from work each day if transportation wasn’t available, preparing meals for their families before and after work at the beneficio, as well as doing the rest of the work required in the home, and child rearing responsibilities, as well.
We were invited to sit in on a Board of Directors meeting composed of some of the women we’d worked with, and others from the cooperative who had founded and were operating a small store at the beneficio that sold food and sundries, and was a source of additional income for them.
Women coffee workers of SOPPEXCCA, 2013
While there has been progress made in the recognition and fair and equal compensation for women who work in coffee, there is still a long way to go.
Women we’ve met on buying trips to Central America and Africa live in remote towns and villages without running, potable water or electricity. Homes are rustic, often with a dozen or more family members living in one or two rooms with dirt floors. Many women don’t have access to health care, marry young, and have children soon after. During the “thin months” when coffee income is low, they and their children often go hungry. They perform much of the physical labor required to grow and harvest coffee, but have almost no influence on decisions about how family income is spent. They are typically uneducated, impoverished and disconnected from resources.
Thanksgiving Coffee & ETICO staff meeting with the women of SOPPEXCCA, 2013
Thanksgiving Coffee began to address these issues in two ways.
First, by purchasing only from cooperatives that show a willingness to eradicate this kind of gender inequity. They do this through their actions in support of remedies to eliminate food insecurity, and promoting, providing and ensuring access to training and education for women. These actions will enable women to participate as equal partners in the industry.
The second way we, as a company, have supported women in coffee is through “The Recognition of the Unpaid Work of Women.” We began this work in 2014, in Nicaragua by adding $0.10 per pound to all coffees we purchase from the Prodecoop and Soppexcca Coopperatives. They have committed to using these funds to improve the lives of women in coffee. The next post will go into detail about what has been accomplished to date.
– Joan Katzeff
Joan Katzeff, Co-Founder, Thanksgiving Coffee and Fatima Ismail, General Manager, SOPPEXCCA, 2013