Philosophy


Roasting Philosophy:

Roasting coffee is a contemplative art form, a solitary craft. And at the same time it connects us to something greater than ourselves.  It is our privilege to roast for you because as we do we participate in the story of coffee, and when our coffee arrives in your cup, in a small way, we participate in your story too.

Creating a magnificent cup of coffee does not happen by accident.  It unfolds with great care, hard work, and rigorous attention to detail in the roasting studio.  An important aspect of our process involves developing roast profiles tailored to each coffee’s individual idiosyncrasies and flavor nuances.  In fact, we choose not to label our coffee with a roast level because we think it is truer to the story to focus on the flavor profile. But because it may be helpful, broadly speaking the majority of our coffee is best described as light-medium to medium.  We roast on what we humbly believe is the best artisan coffee roaster in the world – The San Franciscan Roaster.

In a given week we roast more days than no, and our coffee ships in less than 48 hours from the time it is roasted.  We package our coffee in heat-sealed, foil-lined bags equipped with a one way degassing valve.  This combination of roasting and shipping quickly with impeccable packaging ensures the freshest coffee possible.

We care deeply about our craft, and we think it shows in every cup.

Sourcing Philosophy:

Sourcing is a broad term used to describe how coffee companies procure their coffees.  Sourcing is more complicated than it seems like it should be, and definitely more complicated than it is often made out to be.

Some say coffee should only be purchased if it is Fair Trade Certified.  Others say Fair Trade Certification can actually lead to lower quality coffee and lower prices paid to farmers, particularly farmers who produce specialty coffee.  Still others contend the only ethical way to purchase coffee is a method called direct trade, which most of the time implies, but does not always mean, developing relationships with farmers and buying the coffee directly from them.  Then there are those who argue the only thing that really matters is transparency, because if coffee companies are required to show the prices being paid to farmers the prices will be fair regardless of Fair Trade Certification or direct trade philosophies.  There are yet others who say the most important thing is for coffee to be Certified Organic, because that means the purchase price will be higher and the coffee will be grown using sustainable practices.  The counterpoint is then often made that Certified Organic is great for large farms, but small farms cannot afford the certification even though their growing practices are the same or even exceed Certified Organic standards. We take all of these points into consideration when purchasing our coffee because we care deeply about offering magnificent coffee sourced as ethically as possible.  We wish this was easier to do than it is in reality, but there are some ways we can and will make sure people on every level are benefiting from our sourcing practices:

1) We can make sure the coffee we purchase has an intelligible story.  This means traceability that goes beyond country of origin is a priority.  Knowing what region, co-op, and even what farm our coffee comes from is at least a gateway to ensuring nobody is mistreated or taken advantage of prior to our coffee arriving in our roasting studio.

2) We can sample coffee before we purchase it so we know it meets our standards in terms of quality.

3) We can do business exclusively with importers who share our values.

4) We can purchase Fair Trade Certified coffee, which is often also Certified Organic.  We think it is inadequate to rely on this method alone, but as long as the quality of the coffee meets our standards it is a reasonable option.  Here’s a video that offers an important perspective that closely resembles our own. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7zvSO43SOtk

5) We can purchase coffee from unique co-ops such as those run exclusively by women.

6) We can procure coffee from co-ops that have special programs designed to ensure both quality and fair wages, such as programs that pay farmers a premium for delivering only ripe cherries to the mill.

7) We can purchase coffee from well-established and well-known co-ops and farmers because they set their own prices based on the quality of their coffee and their reputation.

As our company grows we will be able to more fully align our sourcing practice with our imagination and ambition, which includes one day developing legitimate direct buying relationships with farmers around the world.

Significance of Story:

When someone wants to know who you are, at first they probably want to know your name, and maybe what you do.  But to really, actually get to know you, what they're asking is something closer to Where do you come from?  What has shaped you, molded you, what has made you, You?  To answer in a way that honors the depth of the question, you don't offer facts, tidbits of information void of emotion and meaning.  Instead, you tell a story.  And as you tell, story after story, the other can start to comprehend Who You Are.  We think coffee has a story too.  The coffee we serve comes from somewhere, and we think knowing the story of coffee makes it more meaningful.

We created Narrativality Coffee Roasters and The Coffee Room to be a place where stories can be told; where you can tell and Find Your Story.  And we think a great cup of coffee, with a story of its own, is the perfect medium for storytelling!

Story Revision Project:

The Story Revision Project is a small way we participate in helping to craft good stories, particularly when there is adequate reason to question if good stories are real.

Good stories certainly beg to be told and retold. But the storytelling rights to some stories belong only to the story’s  owner. This means, that while we will always be helping to craft good stories, you will not hear us talking about it constantly, and you will never see us posting online or otherwise surrounding ourselves with pictures of people who might have benefited from what we do. We do not participate in crafting good stories so you will buy our coffee – our coffee is reason enough to buy our coffee. We do it because to not would be acquiescence to something other than the kind of people we want to be.

So whether sponsoring children in an under-resourced country, providing insecticide-treated anti-malarial bed nets to families who need them, giving to organizations intent on ensuring everyone in the world has clean water, or at a local level involving ourselves with helping to meet needs within our community, we will be helping to craft good stories – because sometimes even the slightest revision can alter the story line.