The specialty coffee industry, like all other food and beverage services, is very finicky. There are mountains of people working on creating a single perfect cup of coffee. While you’re drinking your latte think about all of the people that played a part in making that coffee delicious, from the coffee cherry growers and pickers living overseas, to the roasters getting that bean to taste just right, to the cows producing milk, farmers milking them, all the way to the barista steaming the milk and grinding the coffee. All of those factors and more were constantly running through our minds when we were deciding on where to get our coffee from.
When Rochelle and I were first talking about our coffee shop we knew we wanted our beans to be locally roasted. Initially, we tossed around the idea of roasting them ourselves, but the complications that come with roasting seemed too big of a responsibility for a brand new coffee shop. After looking into a few roasters, Rochelle brought me to the Honeybee coffee shop in West Knoxville, we both tried their coffee and decided to reach out. Our experience with Honeybee has been nothing but wonderful. Alex, the wholesale manager, sat down and had a cupping with us in the midst of the pandemic to help us decide if Honeybee was the route we wanted to take. He gave us all of the information we needed and more for using their coffee.
While there are many people working on the beans, I want to focus our attention to the farms the beans come from. Roasting the beans plays a huge role in the flavor of the coffee however, it all starts with the farms. Since coffee is such a modern and popular commodity it is easy to overlook the thousands to millions of people that work on our daily cup. If you’re interested in learning about roasting or Honeybee Coffee Company, I encourage you to consider checking out their website to learn more.
The Soulful Cup purchases the Harvester blend, we use that coffee for everything including our drip and iced coffee, as well as our espresso. This blend is made up of beans from three different farms. Forty percent of the beans are Brazil Sul de Minas, from the farm Fazenda do Salto in Sul de Minas, Minas Gerais. This is a family run farm started by the father Dr. Fabio Araujo Reis; with the help of his two sons Andre and Juca, as well as thirty five year round employees who are all well educated.
Another forty percent of the coffee beans is El Salvador Mapache which comes from a farm owned and managed by Jan-Carlo and Sofia Handtke in the Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range of El Salvador. Every year the Mapache Coffee employs over 125 locals, however, during harvest season around 600 people work together to process the cherries that come from the Mapache’s six farms.
The last kind of bean comes from Ethiopia and makes up twenty percent of the Harvester blend. Ture Waji is a gentleman who owns the company Sookoo Coffee which processes the coffee at the Raro Nensebo washing station in Uraga, Guji (in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia). Something that really caught our attention when reading about this company in particular was they offer pre-harvest loans to farmers who need it to hire for farm maintenance like weeding and planting. The washing stations also have a “women-first” policy and even built a school for the children.
There is something so wonderful about knowing the coffee we drink on a daily basis comes from places that treat ALL employees fairly and takes their time picking the perfect cherry.
Please consider getting to know our friends over at Honeybee Coffee by checking out their blog!
Some of my favorite articles include: