Fair for All: necessary & sufficient partners with Olympia Coffee Roasters

We believe in social responsibility. That is why we choose to work with companies that proactively positively impact the lives of those they work with. That is why we are so honored to present world class coffees from Olympia Coffee Roasters. Olympia Coffee Roasters exists “to improve the quality of life for our producers, for our staff, and for our customers”

Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. is a small-batch, boutique coffee roaster that sources, roasts and prepares the finest coffee in the world. Olympia Coffee's success is grounded in their quality-of-life mission, which has lead them to create direct partnerships with coffee farmers worldwide in six countries spanning 3 continents.

They are a certified B Corporation. What is a B Corporation?

B Corporations are leaders of the global movement of people using business as a force for good. There are over 2,200 Certified B Corporations from more than 130 industries in 50+ countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business. B Corps are important because they inspire all businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world. Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

Their company wasn’t born into success; it has been built that way from the ground up. Olympia Coffee’s humble beginnings started 2005 in an unmarked warehouse in downtown Olympia, WA. Olympia Coffee is owned and operated by Oliver Stormshak and Brothers Sam and Andrew Schroeder. They currently operate a coffee roastery and five retail cafes in Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle. They are a small company with lots of critical acclaim. They won international recognition by being named Roast Magazine’s 2013 Micro Roaster of the Year. They have also been featured in a variety of regional and national press including Fresh Cup Magazine, Northwest Travel Magazine, Imbibe Magazine, The Olympian, Barista Magazine, and The New York Times.  They have frequently won Best Coffee as well as Best Customer Service in 2012. They also have received numerous 90+ Point reviews from the world’s lead coffee buying guide, CoffeeReview.com. They have also won four Good Food Awards for their sustainably grown delicious coffee. They have won and or placed in the top ten of the United States Barista, Brewers and Cup Tasters Competition countless times. All of these awards put them as the most award winning coffee roaster from the Pacific Northwest.

Olympia Coffee Roasting Company believes they can improve our world through coffee; that everyone in the story of their coffees–from farm laborers to café customers, and all those in between–should find satisfaction by being a part of what they do. Olympia Coffee views themselves as a Quality of Life company. High-quality coffee is their passion, but seeking a higher quality of life for their farmers, staff, and customers is their mission.

Both historically and currently, the global coffee trade has exploited the poorest and most vulnerable people in the supply chain to benefit those who wield power. Fair Trade was an early answer to this injustice, offering a farmer about 20 cents more than commodity pricing for every pound of coffee. However, Fair Trade is limiting. It includes only cooperatives and large estates and does not benefit small-scale, individual farmers. It also lacks the level of transparency Olympia Coffee values and doesn’t incentivize high-quality or innovation at the farm level. Fair Trade pays the same rate for the very highest and lowest quality coffees.

Olympia Coffee, therefore, became an early adopter of the Direct Trade model. Direct Trade is a term used liberally in the coffee industry, but typically implies that a coffee buyer agrees to a fair price directly with the coffee farmer and based on quality. In 2010, Olympia Coffee began using this model and developing their own standards to ensure that farmers were rewarded for high-quality coffee. Currently, all of their farmers are paid more than double the Fair Trade rate, and as of 2016, every coffee they purchased met this requirement. While answering the injustice of sustainability for the farm owner they are now ready to take a critical next step.

Simply put, no Direct Trade system has ever ensured a minimum wage or safe working conditions for coffee pickers, processors, or other laborers within the farm itself. So, in 2019 Olympia Coffee is leading the industry by ensuring that their coffee is Fair for All. They seek to provide a higher quality of life for every individual in the story, including every part of the supply chain. They seek to be pioneers in this effort, setting an example they hope that many companies will follow.

This is their commitment to customers, producers, and all who are involved in the production of their Fair for All coffees:

·       Pay more than double the Fair Trade rate for all of their coffees. Their minimum price (FOB) will remain at $3.50 per pound.

·       Set coffee prices directly with the farmer, to ensure transparency.

·       Guarantee a sustainable minimum wage to all laborers involved in the production of their coffee (pickers, processors, farm workers), set seasonally with the farm owner or cooperative board.

·       Work only with farmers who provide safe working conditions free of unnecessary danger, oppression and violence and with access to clean water and healthy foods.

·       Visit each farm or producer group every year to provide feedback for improved quality and opportunity for growth.

·       Purchase coffees with quality standards of 85 points or higher according to SCA cupping standards.

Excerpted from “Fair for All” Posted by Oliver Stormshak on January 09, 2018