Questions we're asked frequently .....
I'm in town/coming to Asheville today, can I pick up some coffee at your roastery?
It depends. We try to keep the coffee as fresh as possible so we don't keep much on the shelf although we usually have a small stock of some popular coffees. If you need only 1lb of something, you can get it from High Noon (https://highnooncoffee.com/).
Do you take credit cards at the roastery?
No. We accept credit cards through PayPal. You can use their shopping cart and check out system, and pay with your credit card (or your PayPal account though it isn't necessary to have one). We're a trusting lot so you can also simply mail us a check for what you picked up.
Where do you get your coffee?
From green coffee importers -- sometimes called brokers, though they are actually resellers. These are companies that are in the business of importing green coffee into the US from the countries of origin. They visit the producing countries, meet the farmers, go to the auctions, make the deals. Coffee they buy is shipped in container lots to the US, mostly through the ports of New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Despite what you may have heard about "direct trade", most specialty roasters large and small work through brokers.
Should I store my coffee in the refrigerator?
No. The main culprit in the staling of coffee is oxygen in the air. For up to a week, it's fine to leave coffee at room temp, but it should be tightly sealed to keep out air. For longer periods, put it in the freezer, again sealed airtight. Loosely sealed coffee does make a great deodorizer for your refrigerator.
Is your coffee fair trade?
Most of it is but our fair trade offerings may change from time to time. Check the Price List page to see what is and isn't. Our Sumatra and the Honduras base for French roast are almost always fair trade. At the moment (Feb '22), the Colombia Sierra Nevada isn't but it's bird friendly and rain forest alliance certified. They are all organic. We do not have an agreement with TransFairUSA who own the well known fair trade logo and Fair Trade Certified ™ mark, so we cannot label our products with them. We strongly support the principle that the farmers who grow the coffee should be paid a fair price for it, both on humanitarian grounds as well as economic ones. If the farmers aren't receiving an adequate return on their investment and labor, one day they won't be there growing the coffee. In an ideal world, farmers who grow the best coffee would be able to sell it to roasters at the highest prices. In the meantime, fair trade does help the farmers. There are also auctions of particular origins and regions that generate higher prices for better coffees.
Is your coffee shade grown?
Most of it is. Certainly coffees from Sumatra and Ethiopia are, as well as most organic coffees. Central/South America coffees may or may not be. The general move back to shade-grown varieties (away from more recently developed ones that can tolerate full sun) should in the long term be beneficial to the quality of the coffee as well as to migratory bird populations that might use these trees. Unfortunately, some political-correctness seems to have crept in. There is no accepted standard for what "shade-grown" means, and there is disagreement on whether some "bird-friendly" plantations actually help any of the birds. There are, however, groups such as the Smithsonian and the Rain Forest Alliance who are doing valuable work in these areas.
Is your decaf water processed?
Yes, but it's NOT Swiss Water&trade It is a natural process without all those harsh chemicals. I have to admit I'm still a fan of CO2, but with Royal Coffee's Select decaf, they select the green beans for processing, and that means the decaf starts out as a coffee of top quality which comes through in the final decafed cup.
From the days we used to supply coffee shops --
I'm opening a coffee shop, but I don't know anything about coffee. Where should I start?
Join the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and go to the next conference. You'll find every imaginable resource available to you, from suppliers to training to equipment, as well as kindred souls with the same questions and problems.
I'm opening a coffee shop, what kind of equipment should I get?
It depends on how big the shop will be, how many kinds of coffee you'll serve, how you'll serve it, and many other things. Remember that the cost of your coffee brewing equipment will be a small fraction of the cost of starting a business, and that it will produce the product by which your customers will judge you. It's not the place to skimp.
If I buy coffee from you, will you give me the equipment for free?
No. And neither will anyone else. The price of "free" equipment is built into the cost of the coffee. You'll pay a higher price for the coffee, or you'll get a lower quality coffee to serve your customers, or you'll get inferior equipment, or some combination of those. Restaurants please take note.