A lot of companies talk about ‘ethical coffee,’ beans that don’t harm the earth or the workers that produce them. At Camano Island Coffee Roasters, a small artisan, subscription-based coffee company on beautiful Camano Island just west of Seattle, they’ve taken making a difference to a new level and they’ve done it while producing great coffee.
In a Ted Talk that’s posted on the company’s website, Camano Island Coffee owner Jeff Ericson lays out the company’s far-reaching plan that mixes the social ethics of a non-profit with the business savvy of a for-profit business. Ericson says his company is interested in “generational change” that positively impacts entire families for years to come and that also benefits the earth’s environment. To do that, they’ve invested in an ownership program where they help coffee farmers in some of the poorest countries in the world buy and own the land they work. Then they pay them a premium to grow top 1% of Arabica organic beans in the shade to protect the rain forest. They pay their farmers a fair price for a beautiful product. The extra money helps the farmers make their land payments as well as provide food, clothing, shelter, and education for their children.
Ericson says when people are owners and “have skin in the game” they become committed to doing a great job. They’re also helping the farmers expand into other sustainably grown crops. To date, Camano Island Coffee Roasters has generationally changed the lives of 24,000 farmers.
The company’s Coffee Lovers Box Club further supports these farmers by donating $1 from every Coffee Lover’s Box shipment to Agros Guatamala and other non-profits that benefit the farmers and the environment.
Company founder Jeff Ericson writes on the company’s website, “In 2000, we founded Camano Island Coffee Roasters with the simple philosophy that a business can change the world for good. Our vision was to combine our passion for ethical coffee with generational change in coffee growing regions. We believe that our company’s value is not solely in the quality of the ethical coffee we roast, or in the people who grow it, but in the coffee lover (YOU) who drinks Camano Island Coffee.”
Okay, we’re impressed—really impressed—with the work Camano Island Coffee Roasters is doing. Now the question for java lovers is how does their coffee taste? I sampled a pound of their medium roast Paupa New Guinea whole bean coffee and found it super-fresh with a lovely roasty-toasty aroma and rich, fruity notes. Definitely great coffee.
The company roasts beans dark, medium, light and decaf and half and half for $18.99/lb. They also offer espresso blend, special roaster’s reserve beans ($21.99), and coffee of the month. For Coffee Lover’s members who can’t decide, they also offer coffee ‘tours,’ selections of single origin coffees such as medium roast Sumatra, Paupa New Guinea, Guatemala and Brazil beans on a monthly basis. Coffee is available in whole bean and ground (drip cone, drip flat, espresso #1 and #2, French press, Keurig grind, Percolator, Universal and even Turkish). They also offer recyclable k-cup pods that are 100% BPA free.
So coffee hounds, if you love great coffee and want to really make a difference in the lives of poor people around the world and do good for the planet, Camano Island Coffee Roasters is your new coffee company. It’s a great choice. – Bobbie Hasselbring, Editor realfoodtraveler.com
Camano Island Coffee is available from their roasting facility on beautiful Camano Island (848 N. Sunrise Blvd. Building B, Camano Island, WA 98282) or at camanoislandcoffee.com