We're a tiny little roasting operation right next to Pike Place Market, in the heart of the world's coffee capital, Seattle. Actually, as far as we know we're the only active roastery in downtown Seattle.
Roasting right next to the cafe affords us the ability to always have the freshest coffees on sale. Often, you'll find that the oldest coffee you can buy from us was roasted the same day. Any coffee you buy will never have been roasted more than a week before you pick it up. For our mail order customers, we roast to order. That means we roast and ship the same day.
Roasting downtown gives our customers the opportunity to experience coffee roasting first hand. In fact, when you're visiting our cafe, please stop by in the adjacent roastery. We love visitors!
Early on in our history we made a commitment to delivering the highest possible quality of goods and service to our customers.
Quality starts with the sourcing of the coffee. We take great care in sourcing only the highest quality coffees. Here is our sourcing philosophy in a nutshell:
If we can, we source our coffees directly from the farmers who grow them. With these farmers, we form a strong bond. We negotiate a fair price with them. (Usually we ask them what they need to produce really good coffee.) We receive and give feedback on the quality and possible quality improvements to these farmers, and we cut out all middlemen. We find that by doing so, we're solving many issues important to us: we know personally that our farmers treat their workers fairly; we can avoid the use of pesticides and inorganic fertilizers; moneys often put into certification can go directly to the farmers. Ultimately, we find that our direct relationship with farmers helps us get the best quality of coffee possible. The incentives are aligned.
Building working relationships directly with farmers takes time. We're working diligently on increasing our reach. Eventually, we aim to source all of our coffees directly from farmers.
In the meantime, our primary objective is to source only the highest quality coffees not only for our own good, but because we believe that high-quality also means better business for the growers.
We think of ourselves as part of the slow-food movement. When it comes to food and coffee, we prefer less quantity and higher quality.
When we source coffees from regions we have not yet reached, we prefer sourcing coffees from a specific estate. Knowing more background on the coffees we carry helps us to ascertain that at least the fundamentals are right: workers' rights and sustainable growing practices. In the category of estate coffees, if the quality of two coffees is comparable, we'll pick the coffee which is certified Organic and Fair Trade. We're working on our own certification so we can tell you when a coffee is certified in these ways.
If we can't find the highest-grade certified (or non-certified) estate coffee, we'll turn to certified coffees with a regional appellation. If we have to make a choice between a mediocre coffee which has been certified and great coffee which has neither a specific estate-origin nor a certification, we'll choose the latter. In the end, life is too short to drink anything but great-tasting coffee. We believe that better-quality coffee is highly correlated with a better quality of life for the folks who grow the coffee.
All of us here at Seattle Coffee Works look forward to the thrill of tasting amazing coffee every morning.