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Sustainable Coffee

DOMA coffee, Brasil Organic

DOMA coffee, Brazil Organic

I buy coffee from all over.  It’s one of those things, along with wine and spices, that you can exempt yourself from feeling bad about not buying local.  Well, I don’t feel bad.  Not too much coffee grown in Connecticut.  So since it’s from elsewhere, I’m always happy to try a new roaster.  I like the place here in town Zumbach’s, which is a great little coffee shop, and when they’re roasting beans it makes town smell like toast.  I’ve stopped in on my way home from work just because I smell them roasting.  It’s pervasive and persuasive advertising.  But I’m also willing to look a little further afield.  My brother brought some Solar Roast Coffee home for the holidays from Colorado, and that was great.  I’m pretty sure he should bring some home every time he makes the trip back East.  Other companies pop up on the radar from time to time, and I’m willing to try those too.  So I was happy to read about the DOMA Coffee Roasting Company a little while ago on Bob DelGrosso’s blog, A Hunger Artist.

After DelGrosso’s initial post and subsequent reader interest, Doma owner and head roaster Terry Patano offered a deal where he’d throw in a free 1/2 lb of his choosing when you ordered a pound (follow “deal” link for details).  So I just ordered some coffee from them, a pound each of Brazil Organic, and a blend called Primo’s, and they sent a half pound of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.  Thanks, Terry!

Doma seems like an interesting company, doing what it can to be sustainable in a number of ways.  From a fair trade standpoint, they are a member of Cooperative Coffees, and they partner with coffee growers to form direct relationships that help local communities.  A recent Doma blog post describes a trip to Guatemala as part of the CRS Cafe Livlihood Project. They explain: “This is a three year project which aims to improve production practices (organic and shade farming), increase productivity and yields and increase quality.  We are working with groups in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico.” Additionally, from their website, “we’ve made a commitment to place the farmers, their identity, and their product front and center. We do not hide behind anecdotes of sourcing from secret, mystical mountains – we want you to know the people that grow our coffee and the cooperative organizations that they own and manage.” My Brazil Organic coffee comes with the following information, for example:

COUNTRY: Brasil
CO-OP GROWER: Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima
REGION: Perdizes, Cerrado
ALTITUDE: 950m

They’re also doing what they can for the environment at home.  A new eco-friendly roaster uses 80% less natural gas to roast their beans (source: http://www.smartroaster.com/).  It’s not just marketing (although that doesn’t hurt), but something that also makes sense for business.  Why not reduce your energy usage?  I know that they’re not the only independent coffee company that’s doing something good for the environment.  That’s a good thing.  I know that “sustainability” is a buzzword on the verge of being overused, and that in advertising as a whole, many claims are undocumented (see Greenwashing post).  But being ecologically sound and sustainable is one of those things that is going to happen eventually — needs to happen, actually — and I’m happy to support and highlight a company that seems to be doing the right things.  They also happen to make some really great coffee.  I’ve been enjoying both the Brazil and the Yirgacheffe for the past couple days.  Good stuff.

So, wherever you are, they’re worth checking out.  http://www.domacoffee.com

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