Our busiest day of the week is the local Farm Market on a Saturday morning. We work all week to make sure we have enough coffee, but it seems we never have enough. Since we get a lot of questions at the markets, I thought I would list a few of them here.
1. Where do you get your beans?
We get our beans primarily from one of two licensed coffee importers in the Midwest. The coffee importer is the one who buys directly from from the processing mills that the farmers take their coffee to. Usually though, I think the person asking the question wants to know what country the beans are from. On the small label below the roast date stamp, the first word will almost always be the the country they come from. The second is the region the beans come from, and after that, the roast level.
Most countries have different regions for growing that produce different results. Peaches, for example, are grown in Georgia, and Michigan. Neither is better or worse, but they have different characteristics when you look at them and eat them. It's the same thing with coffee. The coffee grown and processed in the southern part of a country are different than coffee grown in the northern part of the same country.
2. Do you roast your own beans?
Yes, we do. Orders placed online, in person, or over the phone are roasted to order. At the Farm Markets, we have to have coffee ready to buy, so those are usually roasted the 6 days before the market. We may have a few bags from the previous week, but if our coffee gets to be older than 14 days, we will either drink it ourselves, or offer it at discounted price. Fortunately, we have not had that problem much.
3. Is your coffee organic, or fair trade, or (place your preference here)?
When we are looking at buying coffee, we look at the region the coffee comes from first and foremost. From there, we look at grading scales of the coffee from the importer, as well as cupping (tasting) notes. Only after that, do we look at price. We have no problem paying a higher price for coffee, but only if it improves the quality of it. If the coffee happens to be organic, or fair trade, or shade only, ect. then that's a bonus. Most of the coffee in the world is grown on small farms. The farmer gets paid based on what the mill gets paid from the importer. The importer sets the price we buy at based on what they think they can get for it. Once it gets to the importer, the farmer has already been paid.
That being said, we do want to make sure that what we can control, is controlled well. We use only paper cups. When we make coffee for drinks, our grounds end up in someones garden, or compost pile. (If you would like to have some grounds for your compost, let us know.) Our coffee bags are recycled kraft paper with a biodegradable foil lining. We try to use refillable water containers for our markets instead of buying gallon jugs each week. We do what we can to make sure our footprint on the environment remains as small as we can make it.
4. What's the best way to store the coffee once we get it home, and how long will it last?
Here is a link to the National Coffee Association of America that covers how to store the coffee you buy. Basically, it says that oxygen, light, and moisture are the biggest enemies of coffee. Store it in an opaque or dark container that is air tight. Want to freeze them? Again, make sure you container is air tight so moisture and smells from your freezer cannot get to the beans.
5. Where is your store? Where can I buy your coffee?
To have a food processor license from the State of Wisconsin, we have to meet certain health safety requirements. One of those is that we operate out of a commercial kitchen that is inspected yearly or more often. The kitchen we operate out of is a store called The Green Tomato. It is an artisan market that has about 9 or so different vendors working out of the kitchen. Our coffee is for sale inside The Green Tomato. If you can't make it to the store, you are welcome to reach out to us. Our phone number is on each bag, along with our website. You can call me to place an order, or ask a question. I still work a full time day job, so I might not answer, but leave a message, and I will call you back the same day. We are in Oshkosh twice a week, and we are happy to deliver to your door. The same applies for the rest of the Fox Valley. If you have a request for a coffee you would like to see us carry, let us know. We like to try different coffees or flavors, and will do all we can to accommodate special requests.
Thank you for enjoying our coffee. We really do value our customers, and look forward to getting to know you.