In my continued search for sustainable coffee, I have been doing some research on the local Brooklyn roasters and cafés. I have written up a quick summary of the three most popular roasters that I have found in my coffee saturated neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn so far…this will be a work in progress so stay tuned for more information on other roasters and hopefully more sustainable farm sources.
Toby’s Estate Coffee
Toby’s Estate Coffee (http://tobysestate.com) is a retailer and roaster which is actually an Australian company that branched out to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2012, named for its founder Toby Smith. They have since exploded in NYC and have four other locations here, although they are worldwide entity with shops in Singapore, the Philippines, and of course in Australia. They have a page on sustainability on their website, but the wording is not really clear as to what that means to them in terms of farm management. They do mention that all of their to-go ware is biodegradable which is cool (http://tobysestate.com/sustainability). In a recent interview, the new managing director of the company based in Sydney said that they are changing the way they do things at origin, but wanted to keep that under wraps for now (http://sprudge.com/cosimo-libardo-interview-97241.html).
Parlour Coffee (http://parlorcoffee.com /) is a local, small, independent roaster that has exploded on the scene in Brooklyn. Parlour started off as an espresso bar in the back of a Williamsburg barbershop in 2012 and are now the main roasters for several well-known Brooklyn restaurants and cafes. Their website is simple, classy, and sleek and currently have coffee offerings from Ethiopia, Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala, and Colombia. The focus is on quality and taste profile – which is obviously a must, but it is tough to tell if their coffee is sustainably sourced and what that definition would mean to them.
Stumptown Coffee (www.stumptowncoffee.com) is a pioneer roaster and retailer that has been a major player in the Third Wave coffee roasters for several years. It was one of the first small, independent roasters to come onto the coffee scene in 1999 in Portland, OR. Stumptown was predominately a west coast outfit, but they have slowly migrated across to the country to the east coast. They now have shops in Portland, Seattle, New York, LA, and New Orleans and sell their beans to cafes and restaurants all over the country. They have a great success story in terms of their business and coffee education, but have recently been getting some flak for selling out. They were bought by the huge conglomerate Peet’s Tea and Coffee last year in 2015. There is not a lot of information on their website about sustainably sourced coffee. I have spoken with them a year or so ago about coffee sustainability and it seemed like something they were interested in but did not really have the bandwidth to get into at the time (this was also right before it was announced that they were being bought by Peet’s). It seems that they do a lot of single origin coffee, working directly with the farmers, but there is no mention of how the coffee is grown.