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Gratitude for Staff

It’s impossible to have a month of gratitude without recognizing our awesome staff. These folks work behind the scenes to bring you Cafe Campesino. We are SOooo grateful for their hard work and positive energy. We want you to know them, too.

Our Production Crew

SO Grateful for Staff 1

Led by Esme Hernandez, this crew roasts, packs, grinds and seals all the coffee that leaves Cafe Campesino. They are some of the hardest working, most joyful people we know. Their laughter, attention-to-detail and pursuit of excellence makes our product what it is. We are so grateful to Esme, Itzel Reyes (not pictured here), Erika Hernandez, Barbie Phillips and Thomas Weber. This is a busy time of year, and they keep the coffee flowing. We. Are. Grateful.

SO Grateful for Staff 2

Our Location Manager

Cori Lyman-Barner is the voice behind the phone and the personality behind customer service emails. She makes sure your orders get entered and processed, working directly with Esme to get them out of the roastery. She also makes sure our roastery location stays sparkling clean, our production crew gets time off and every miscellaneous coffee need that comes through the door gets managed. We are so grateful to Cori for working diligently with all of our customers and staff to make sense of what could easily be coffee chaos.

SO Grateful for Staff 3

Our Delivery Driver

After 10 or so years in our customer service seat, Dave traded in his view of a computer for the open road. He knows our roastery, our customers, and so many back roads between Americus and Western North Carolina. We are so grateful to him for his long-running commitment to small-scale coffee farmers and his endurance to drive to and from Atlanta every week… and to and from North Carolina and Savannah every other week. Honk if you see Dave in our giant delivery van.

SO Grateful for Staff 4

Our COO

Coffee House Manager/New England Culinary Institute Alum-turned COO (chief operating officer), Lee Harris’s behind-the-scenes wisdom helps steer our ship. Whether it’s crunching numbers, cupping coffees, training coffee house staff on made-from-scratch baking or overseeing purchasing, Lee stays busy. He served as the company’s first roastmaster back in the day, and it’s so fun to have him back.

SO Grateful for Staff 5

Our Bookkeeper

We drive her crazy with our vacation requests and under-reported sick days and old invoices and need for petty cash…but (we think?) she love us anyway. We sure love her! We couldn’t survive without Marcia Dupree’s skillful management of our accounts receivables and our accounts payables and all things in between. She is truly a behind-the-scenes shero for our company.

Our Webmaster and BRAG Brewmaster

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget the folks who’ve been around the longest. But not Geoffrey! Geoffrey started as our first customer when he lived out at Koinonia, and he’s been with us ever since. His work is so critical to our team that we all have him on speed-dial. He’s an expert in bulk brewing, having brewed coffee for so many Bicycle Ride Across Georgia events we’ve quit counting. But most importantly, he’s our all-things-tech adviser and our webmaster. Making sure our sites stay secure, updated and optimized is critically important this time of year, and we are SOOO grateful to have his support on that.. and so many other things.

Last but not least OUR COFFEE HOUSE STAFF

These folks rock. Led by Ifah Hathcock, this amazing crew of food service industry professionals is one of the best in the biz. Not only do they make sure Cafe Campesino coffee is outstandingly brewed for both drip and espresso drinks, they also make breakfast and lunch FROM SCRATCH (thank you, Lee Harris). The baked goods and sandwiches are some of the best there are in any coffee shop anywhere. And the crew taking your order and prepping it always has such an amazing, positive attitude. They are: Ifah Hathcock, April Rustin, Savannah Morgan-Barber, Karen Montano, Javier Abendando, Heather Thornburgh, Kasie Ware, Conner Batchelor ,Nathan Gibson and Alex Exum. (Pictured here from left-to-right are: Javier, Alex, Savannah, Ifah and April). They inspire us.

five people posing for a picture that recognizes coffee house staff. They are wearing dark shirts and cafe campesino hats and are posing in what looks to be a coffee house.

WE ARE GRATEFUL. We could not do Cafe Campesino without these awesome people.

(Looking for someone not here? They’re awesome, too. Check out our staff page to learn more about our crew.)

Gratitude for Customers text overlaid on a blue background

Running a small business might be one of the hardest jobs there is.  If you’re the one(s) in charge, you are always working.  You’re always solving problems.   Planning ahead.   Dealing with yesterday’s issues. Stocking product. Taking inventory, managing employees, dealing with human resources-related issues, marketing, selling, marketing, selling, overseeing customer service issues, cleaning, fixing that piece of equipment, marketing, selling, evaluating, tweaking.  Constantly improving. Your business is a child that always needs attention. You love it.  But it never stops needing attention.

Most of our wholesale customers are these people.  They’re the folks who had an idea and are wildly committed to seeing it through.   They are constantly learning, constantly working and constantly thinking about their business. 

We are so grateful to them. 

We are not only grateful that they had the courage to follow their dreams and jump into the world of small-business ownership- where they ‘dig-in” to the everyday life of their communities, offering folks a safe place to gather or others a place to work.  But we are also grateful that they’ve chosen us as their coffee roaster.

a gentleman in a black shirt that says "the sentient bean" stands holding a pan of cinnamon rolls in front of a wall of coffee beans.
The Sentient Bean in Savannah, Georgia, is one of our longest standing customers. They sell Cafe Campesino by the pound and by the cup….and make some pretty amazing vegan cinnamon rolls (as seen here). Photo by: The Sentient Bean.

By choosing to work with us, they’ve said that they care about the fate of the small-scale farmer.  They want to source organic coffee.  They believe in the power of farmer-owned cooperatives.  They don’t want coffee to be a nameless, faceless product.  And they know they can help.  They know they have a place in this supply chain.  They know their work is critical for creating the pull-through small farmers’ need to move their product.  They know these farmers are investing in the their own communities and farming in a way that helps preserve the planet.   AND…. They know that their customers will care.

Their coffee house customers are like our online customers…  or our own coffee house customers in Americus.  They’re conscious consumers.    We are convinced conscious consumers have the power to save the planet.

Conscious Consumers are Making a Difference

Just down the road from Americus, in Bluffton, Georgia, friends of ours at White Oak Pastures have been practicing rotational grazing, organics and regenerative agriculture for a little over 20 years.  Though they’ve been farming their land in Bluffton since the late 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1995 that Will Harris returned his farming operations to “radically traditional” farming practices that restore health to the livestock and to the soil. 

This year, international sustainability consultancy Quantis released a Life Cycle Assessment of White Oak’s beef. They wanted to assess the total environmental impact of White Oak’s beef production, because the conventional beef industry is known to be a top offender in the world’s green-house gas emissions.

The study found that White Oak’s soil teems with life.  The farm wasn’t just carbon neutral (which alone is hard-to-do in the world of livestock farming) but it was actually carbon positive.  A holistic approach to farming that includes planned rotational grazing has made White Oak’s soil capable of sequestering more carbon than their cows emit in their lifetimes. Keeping carbon in the soil ultimately helps cool the planet.

Now take that concept from the cattle farms of South Georgia to the coffee lands around the Equator. Small-scale coffee farmers are also practicing regenerative agriculture – fostering biodiversity in their soil and on their farms (and soon they will be able to measure their own carbon footprint) . Suddenly, a patchwork of healthy soils starts to form around the globe… helping to cool the planet.

But neither White Oak Pastures, nor small-scale coffee farmers would be able to survive if it weren’t for conscious consumers.  Customers who care enough to ask questions and seek business transparency.  Customers who demand a sustainable supply chain alongside a great-tasting product.  Customers who are willing to change their purchasing habits or spend a little more from time-to-time.

Man wearing white shirt and a hat talks with shorter women in a busy setting.

We are so grateful to those customers who care. Wholesale and retail.  Big and small. Coffee shops, natural food markets, food-service institutions, general stores, offices, restaurants, places of worship, individuals at home.  We absolutely would not exist if it weren’t for you. 

Thank you. And please stay engaged. Your purchases matter.

Conscious Consumption On-the-Road: Visit our Customers

If you’re a Cafe Campesino coffee drinker, and you’d like to support some of our wholesale customers, you can visit them at these locations.

"gratitude for producers" text sits on top of blue background. Word "producers" is yellow in the foreground

Anyone familiar with our company knows that we are extremely aligned with the interests of the small-scale coffee farmer.  After all, it’s in our name (“Café Campesino” loosely translates from Spanish to “coffee of the small farmer”).

It’s worth taking a moment to explain why.

Small-Scale Coffee Farmers are the Backbone of the Specialty Coffee Industry

Some 14 billion pounds of specialty grade Arabica coffee is produced every year, according to the International Coffee Organization.  Eighty percent of that is grown by small land holders who do not have full-time employees. 

Unlike Robusta (the other commercialized coffee species) Arabica is notoriously difficult to farm with machines.  For starters, it grows at higher altitudes on the sides of steep mountainsides, which are unfriendly to machines. The stems of the Arabica plant can also be easily damaged during a harvest cycle if the coffee cherry is not removed with just the right amount of finesse. If damaged, the stem risks not flowering or producing fruit the following season. And finally, the human eye is better than any machine at discerning the optimum ripeness of a coffee cherry, a detail that impacts the overall sweetness and flavor profile of a cup.

So, the majority of the world’s specialty-grade coffee – some 11.2 billion pounds- is picked by hand by small-scale farmers.

This raw product gets cleaned and processed by farmers. Then it gets exported to coffee drinking countries where it is roasted and brewed and leveraged into what in 2018 was a $ 45.4 billion industry in the United States. The specialty coffee explosion we’ve come to love in the United States- the one that supports importers, baristas, truck drivers, marketers, roasters, real-estate developers- it all happens because 25 million people around the world pick Arabica coffee by hand. We are immensely grateful to them for their work.

Small-Scale Farmers Preserve Indigenous Cultures

Nearly all of the farmers we source coffee from are indigenous people living in geographically remote places around the world. Coffee is their livelihood and a means of survival for communities. Ancient indigenous languages and traditions are kept alive in these communities. In Colombia, the Nasa farmers at the Fondo Paez co-op are preserving heirloom varietals of corn by saving and sharing seeds among cooperative members. In Mexico, Maya Vinic is able to practice ancient traditions of self-government and a reverence for mother earth with traditional farming practices and cooperative organizing structures. At the Asociacion Chajulense in Guatemala, women are paid to hand-sort coffees, earning money that supports a tradition of weaving colorful huipil textiles that are characteristic of their region.

In every farming community where we source coffee, indigenous cultures live on. We are grateful for this cultural diversity on the planet.

Small-Scale Farmers Teach us about Community

Last October, Yuri Pilliume, the first female general manager of the Fondo Paez cooperative of Cauca, Colombia, visited us in Americus for our 20th Anniversary celebration. She joined our staff for our daily morning huddle, and after everyone had shared their work plans for the day, she presented us each with a gift. Rainbow-colored woven belts she and other Fondo Paez members hand-made for us before her trip. “Each color has a meaning,” she told us. The blue is for the clean blue waters that run near their farm lands, green for the health of the earth, the red for the blood that has run from years of past violence in their area, the black for the dark times we all have to go through to get to the lightness, and the orange for the natural minerals found in their soils.

woman is talking to man with another woman listening in. She has a group of rainbow-colored hand-woven belts in front of her.
Yuri Pilliume the general manager of the Fondo Paez cooperative presents Tripp Pomeroy and Cafe Campesino staff with colorful hand-woven belts as a gift. Esperanza Dionisio Castillo, general manager of Peru’s CAC Pangoa cooperative, listens.

She, like so many small-scale producers over the years, reminded us of the power of community. That together, we can love and support one another to be our best selves- for the benefit of our community and for the planet. Freddy Perez of Honduras’s COMSA cooperative sums it up like this: “It’s one big give and take. Alone, we can move faster, but together we can go much further. This is our proposal, and it’s what we’re betting on.”

Small-Scale Farmers Show Us How to Preserve the Planet

A layered tree canopy and biological diversity of plants and animals are hallmarks of shade-grown coffee farms. Organic coffee farming at its best is regenerative – sequestering carbon and preserving life in and around the soil. You see this from small-scale farmers who live and farm in these environments. Their commitment to composting, applying micro-organisms to their soil, planting and caring for trees and preserving biological diversity in their fields reminds us that being human is about living with nature.

For these and so many other reasons, we are deeply grateful to the world’s small-scale coffee farmers who are the true leaders of specialty coffee. Their work and commitment to community and the planet, have been and will remain our guiding posts for business at Cafe Campesino.

the word "Gratitude" written in yellow on top of a blue square. Colorful cafe campesino-brand coffee mug in bottom right hand corner and hashtag coffee gratitude in the bottom left hand corner

“It Takes a Village,” and We Couldn’t be Happier with Ours

There is no better way for us to celebrate Thanksgiving than through gratitude.  Each week in November we will showcase a critical element in our supply chain for which we are IMMENSELY grateful. 

From the small-scale farmers who grow our coffee, to our customers who purchase it, to our staff who take great care in their jobs, to our overall community both at home and abroad who support  fair-trade, organic coffee – we are so grateful for everyone who makes Café Campesino happen.

What is happening at Café Campesino?

Over the summer, we quietly produced our first-ever impact report.   For years, we’ve been so busy doing the work of fair-trade, organic coffee, we’ve often forgotten to take a step back and assess what’s been happening. 

With the help of Cooperative Coffees, our green-coffee importer that has taken a leadership role in price transparency and farmer-oriented sourcing, we were able to distill some pretty interesting information.

Here’s what we’ve learned from our first-ever Impact Report

  • Since 1998, Café Campesino Inc. has purchased more than 2.6 million pounds of fair trade, organic coffee. 
  • We’ve made more than 55 trips to origin to visit coffee producers. 
  • We’ve maintained long-term trading relationships with farmer-owned cooperatives- at least five having lasted 14 years or longer. 
An excel-type list with 15 entries including country names, followed by cooperative names, followed by number of members for each cooperative, followed by years we've source coffee from each cooperative, followed by number of visits to each cooperative. The longest relationship is 18 years with Maya Vinic of Mexico, which has 340 farmer members. We've visited Maya Vinic 6 times.
An excerpt from our Impact Report that lists all of the farmer cooperatives we source coffee from. The list shows how many members are in each co-op, how long we’ve sourced from each co-op and how many times we’ve visited since 1998.
  • In 2018, $66,583 or our green coffee purchases were directed to fair trade and organic premiums, meaning farmers were either reinvesting in their own capacity to farm organically or in their ability to sustain their communities.
  • From 2017-2018, we directed an additional $15,000 to farmer-designed projects that helped farmers improve their organic farming techniques. 

2019 Work to Share

Not featured in our 2018 Impact Report are two other key developments we look forward to documenting in the future.

This year, we supported a Cooperative Coffees-led initiative that will one day allow small-scale farmers to measure the amount of carbon they sequester on their lands.  More on this to come in 2020, but the prospect of measuring the carbon sequestration power of a small-scale coffee farm is exciting to us. It could help create true incentives for regenerative agricultural practices.

Also this year, we took a price transparency pledge alongside coffee companies from around the world. We believe that making free-on-board (FOB) pricing available to the public is the first step of many to help correct a broken pricing structure in the specialty coffee industry.

You’re on the Team

Café Campesino doesn’t do this on its own.  We do it in partnership with you- coffee consumers who care- and with coffee producers who know how to improve their own livelihoods.  Together, we are making an impact where it matters. 

And we know time is of the essence.  Coffee yields have already been affected by changes in weather patterns.  Carbon emissions are continuing to warm the planet at a rapid pace.  Coffee farmers face – yet again- a pricing crisis that makes the prospect of farming untenable for future generations. 

But – together- we can do our part to find solutions.  We can pay for (and hopefully incentivize) regenerative agricultural practices.  We can ensure farmers get a minimum of $2.20 per pound- a price requested by the Small Producers Group nearly 2 years ago. We can hold businesses accountable – asking for price-and-volume transparency from some of our favorite coffee companies.

How We Say ‘Thanks’: 20% off All Coffees in November

As we propel toward a more sustainable hope for specialty coffee, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude for how far we’ve come.  As a small token or our appreciation, we are offering 20% off all roasted coffees purchased online in November. 

Simply use the code thanks20 at online checkout to redeem the discount. Shop Now.

Thank you so much for your support.  Share your coffee passion with friends.  And be ready to galvanize your friends and followers, because we’ve got a lot of work to do in the coming years to take our sustainable supply chain even further. 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead