Pittsburgh-based coffee roaster and retailer Banal coffee organized a group of eight Pennsylvania roasters to participate in a fundraiser called Be The Bridge, offering eight separate commercial roasts of a single, high-quality green coffee.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bag sold is donated to efforts to address food insecurity in Keystone State.
Each roaster handles the same green bean as they see fit, but all are packaged in the same type of bag under a Be The Bridge label. A personalized secondary label identifies the roaster and the roast date.
Each company sells 12-ounce bags through their own sales channels for $ 16.50, of which $ 5 will be donated to Feed Pennsylvania, a nonprofit association of nine food banks located across the state. The first roasted coffees sold for fundraising shipped last weekend, and sales will continue while supplies last.
Project coffee comes from a Minneapolis-based importer Coffee imports. This is a Colombian bean from El Tambo, Cauca, produced by AMACA (Asociación de Mujeres Productoras Agropecuarias del Cauca), a group of 140 smallholders who are farmers and heads of household.
For consumers, the project offers a tantalizing way to taste eight different interpretations of the same coffee. Between these companies, the only Colombian bean passes into human hands, plus two approval roasters, two San Franciscan roasters, two Diedrich roasters, one Mill City Rotisserie and an Bellwether machine.
“They will not only multiply their impact with every bag of coffee they buy, but they will also have fun identifying and appreciating the differences and nuances between roasting styles,” Lauren Young, Marketing and Communications Manager at Commonplace Coffee, Daily Coffee News reported.
The project follows a similar effort in which nine different Minnesota-based roasters accepted a single bean for the benefit of service industry workers under the name Minnesota Roasted.
For many roasters involved in Be The Bridge, the project represents a way to give back to the people and communities who have helped support their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having such an experience with a great group of people has helped us bond and reminded us to never take anything for granted,” Matt Marietti, president and founder of De Fer Coffee & Tea, told DCN. “And it was absolutely humbling to see how many customers were really concerned about us and went out of their way to support us and help us survive.”
Be The Bridge is a particularly fitting tribute to Arriviste Coffee Bar, whose roasting program is a direct result of the pandemic. Heavily reliant on the student body for his business, Arriviste acquired a Bellwether roaster with the help of a URA recovery loan in order to expand beyond coffee sales.
“It was a way to immediately diversify our revenue streams to include something that wouldn’t be too sensitive to blockages or guest capacity limits,” Kim Lopez, managing partner at Arriviste, told DCN. “Roasting for ourselves has always been part of the future growth strategy, but COVID has actually accelerated it.”
Be The Bridge coffee is sold primarily as whole bean, although customers can order single-cup pourers at some cafes, such as Commonplace locations. The roasters collectively purchased 1,389 pounds of coffee for the project, which will represent a donation of over $ 7,500 once all the bags are sold.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.