What is the thinking on Roaster Co-ops such as Coffee Cooperative founded by Bill Harris of Cafe Campesino? Are there others interested in banding together to leverage resources to buy direct from grower cooperatives and single estate growers?
I would be real interested in something like that. I belong to the Green Coffee co-op but you can't sell the beans. I also belong to the Green Coffee Buying club. I don't know if they deal directly with the farms or not.
If I go by the standard set by Coffee Coop., partners have to roast a minimum of 80 bags per year to be considered. The thinking is any less than that and most roasters won't survive.
They are also striving to source Certified Organic, and I don't see where they are using non-organic coffees. I have tlaked briefy with Bill Harris, but we need to meet for a more lengthy and detailed discussion.
I am firmly convinced now that the value and quality of the small growers and their ability to produce really great crops has been discovered, there will be huge opportunities for the small to medium roasters to source some single origin, 1st rate beans.
More importantly, this will change the fortunes of the small growers who have been abused for so many decades by all the middlemen, who have decimated profits and dictated the lives of the small growers.
On top of that, it gives the small to medium roaster a chance at better prices by buying all of one growers crop. It lowers shipping costs which you know all too well can kill your profit margin if you don't buy by the pallet. Since small growers typically produce 15-30 bags per crop, it's too small for the big boys, and too big for most others individually.
The advantages on both sides are huge, and many stand to benefit. I like the idea of being a part of that. How about you?