This revolution is like many; it is about the people and the crops, as well as the land. This revolution struggles for fairness, and (dare I say?), righteousness. This revolution seeks to return what was stolen from the people that create; they grow the crops, nurture the soil, toil in the fields. This revolution is about coffee.
With lofty beginnings in the cups of kings and queens and the bourgeoisie of the day, coffee was an imported beverage to Europe and, much later, North America. Just like the origin of chocolate, it was originally difficult and expensive to obtain. But, like a surge in the history of many products, advances in travel and production allowed the unique to become the ubiquitous. Now Folgers and Maxwell House, Starbucks and smaller boutique chains, bring the caffeinated goodness to the world at a rate of just over three cups per person per day in the United States. And this brings me to the question – the one I have to keep asking and beg of you to ask the same – each time I delve into a new subject: where does it come from, and who is our money going to? The short answer is, probably not the farmers.
The New Normal
Vega Coffee is the new kid in town, and their idea to combine the growing with the roasting is an ingenious approach to delivering the freshest possible bag of beans. But they haven’t just teamed with farms and farmers to bring you the best warm cup-of-yum they can, they have also insisted on disruption of the status quo. As you can see from the infographic below, the bean you drink passed through many hands, many countries, and traveled untold miles to make it to your mug.
Where Vega is different is in their foresight to recognize that, with help from our advancing technology, they can now bring the coffee directly to you from the source, putting your money in the hands of the farmers and cooperatives that grow the crop. Starting in Nicaragua, they are currently working with a few specific coffee farmers, but they hope to branch out to other farms and countries as they grow. According to the Vega team, “90% of the profits in the coffee supply chain are in roasting, leaving farmers with the most at stake earning the smallest share.” Clearly, something needed to be done, and I believe Vega is hoping they are not the only one to employ this new approach.
The Final Word
For me, it mostly comes down to the steaming hot cup. After accidentally getting the wrong grind on my first bag and having to order a second bag (a fortuitous moment, but I’ll come right back to that), I finally managed to brew the first french press pot. Is it cheating if you make it in the forest, surrounded by towering trees and bird song? Whether or not the woods make everything taste better, I was very pleased with the result of my first brew.
However, that mistaken bag was the clincher for me and I am now a Vega-die-hard! I am not a fan of my Aeropress and its position on my shelf is masked in dust, but with a grind less than coarse, it was my only option to use up that first bag. So out comes the Aero, and with it a whole new world of coffee. Who knew I’d just been drinking substandard grinds my whole life? The complexity of flavors sink into an earthy base, leaving your palate with a taste that is both exactly coffee, but so much more than that as well. I didn’t know the tasting notes you so often encounter with the finer roastings could be taken so seriously or appreciated so fully.
The Moment Of Bliss
I used to live at the bottom of a cliff. Every Sunday I would climb the trail up the cliff, partly for exercise, but mostly to make the treat at the top taste that much more deserved. For those Seattleites among you, you may experience a slight flutter of the heart, a beat of anticipation, at the name, Caffe Fiore. This small chain organic coffee shop trained real baristas to make real coffee. My Valencia Mocha featured shaved dark chocolate and candied orange zest. This was a coffee I wanted to work for. It was too good for me to drink if unworthy. I need you to understand the level to which this coffee inspired me to be better (at least on Sunday mornings) so that when I tell you Vega in my Aeropress has changed my life in much the same way, you will understand.
New customers get an (almost) unheard of 30% off their initial subscription, which is easily tailored to your unique drinking requirements when signing up for the newsletter. Their flexible business model also allows for single purchases for your home, office, or for gifts. So dust off your Aeropress, or get your reusable Keurig cup ready, and get to tasting!
After a lot of hard work and planning, Vega Coffee seems ready to meet any challenge head-on, and you know they’ll be doing it with all the vigor of a recently caffeinated warrior.