Sourcing the best-tasting coffee has always been a priority of Roasted Brown from the very beginning. We’ve never found it within ourselves to buy coffee that we don’t love out of fear of not liking our jobs or not believing in our coffee.
Finding great green bean is a huge undertaking and has become a full time role for Ferg in the last two years. We take our values very seriously when it comes to buying coffee and we never ever waiver on them.
Taste, quality of farming, the farmer and the workers, traceability and sustainability: these are the keys that define how we decide what to buy.
Taste - we spend hours and hours tasting samples of high grade specialty coffee (a tough life for sure) and when we find what we like, we find out more...
The Farmers, The Co-op and the Chain - Green bean farming and sourcing is a very complex business. We’re often dealing with developing nations where politics and corruption play a significant role in the coffee industry. We get asked regularly “is this coffee bought direct? or “are the farmers paid well?”.
The answer to the first question isn’t always straightforward because there are so many links in the chain, from farming to processing coffee cherries to wet milling and dry milling. These stages can be split into separate services and business in and of themselves. this means our objective here is traceability. We work with some of the best coffee hunters in the world to make sure we’re on track to traceable coffee as quickly as possible.
The answer to the second question is always a big resounding YES and thankfully there are a few reasons this is possible for us. Our pursuit of great tasting coffee typically leads us in the direction of well-paid farmers, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. For a huge amount of the coffee we buy, farmers are actually getting paid twice; the first time by the mill or the exporter and then again when the coffee is sold to the roaster or importer. This model allows the farmer to maintain cash flow and quality of life and also get an extra kick-back because a roaster like us has paid really good money for it.
Quality of Farming - We have the benefit of working with farmers who are on the cutting edge when it comes to agronomy, organics and systems. On the last few origin trips it’s been amazing to see that farmers can invest money into farming equipment and eliminating chemicals because they’re seeing the result in coffee flavour, sustainability and the high price great-tasting coffee brings in. Quite often we can look across the valley at a farm we’re not buying from only to see pale mud and soil between the tree rows whilst standing on rich mulchy greens and organics on the farms we work with.
Sustainability - Once we’ve found the coffees and farmers we want to work with our first priority is that those involved are paid well, have a good quality of life and the financial strength to develop community. That being the case, the hard part is still motivating people who buy a cup of coffee to pay more for their coffee. There’s still a long way to go in getting people to see great coffee comes at a very high cost to a roaster and a coffee shop. A lot of coffee lovers would still prefer to pay as low as price as possible for their daily treat and leave the farmers pay up to the coffee roaster and the coffee shop but we think this will change.
This creates a bit of an issue for a company who are dedicated to taste and paying farmers well. As we never want to sell coffee that doesn’t excite us we’ve positioned ourselves outside the city in a smaller and cheaper property and work as a hard-working small team to keep our coffee at a competitive price for some of the best single origin coffee you’ll find in the country.
Every cup of coffee is connected to a huge chain of events from the farmer to the barista, it’s our objective to be as involved as possible in as many areas as we can and make sure we do justice to the hard working hands that made these coffees possible.