Have you tasted our organic coffee in Organico Cafe? It supports the (often overlooked) people who cultivate the beans and a local producer who is exceptional at his craft — in other words, it’s the perfect cup.
You may have noticed a change in the cafe several months ago when we started stocking and serving a new coffee. It comes from Red Strand Coffee, a company based in Clonakilty, and we couldn’t be happier with it.
The Man with the (Coffee) Van
Red Strand coffee is owned by Shane Kelleher. Have you seen his bright red van in Bantry Market? It cleverly serves a dual purpose: transportation and cafe premises. Shane parks the van, opens the back to reveal a very nice espresso machine, and just like that: he’s in business and ready to fulfill your coffee desires.
Chat with him for 2 minutes and see if you don’t catch his enthusiasm and passion for coffee.
Shane isn’t just a talented barista, but an exceptional coffee roaster as well. He roasts all of Red Strand’s beans in the company’s headquarters in Clonakilty.
We’re really into Shane’s commitment to sourcing high-quality coffee beans from farmers who are fairly paid.
A Bitter Industry
The coffee industry is riddled with compromised labourers and unfair payment distribution. Too often the people who grow and process coffee beans live in developing countries where they suffer unfair wages, poverty and hard living. The people who prosper in coffee tend to be the distributors, roasters and cafes of the consumer countries.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Thankfully, a growing force of coffee professionals, like Shane, look for sources with more than just flavor and quality in mind. They seek out supply channels and farms that establish equality from the very beginning of the supply chain.
Women Farmers Find Hope Out of Hardship
We’re particularly proud and honored to offer you a type of coffee that Shane roasts exclusively for Organico. Our organic Guatemalan beans come from a group of women who are part of a strong and thriving co-op of female coffee growers. They’ve named themselves Red de Mujeres, which means 'network of women'.
Several of these women are widows of men killed during the 36 years of civil war in Guatemala. Other women were left alone when their husbands fled the country after employment opportunities collapsed during the coffee crisis from 2001 to 2004.
The women who stayed behind proved they are far from helpless. In their tragic circumstances they united to learn how to farm organically and to market their coffee to international buyers. Now, they produce a premium product and, most importantly, a desirable livelihood for themselves.
A Better Bean
The organic Guatemala coffee grown by these women and roasted by Red Strand Coffee is perfect for espresso and filter styles. Its aromas of blueberries, raspberries and milk chocolate leave us craving a cup throughout the day. We also have beans from Mexico, in regular and decaf, with dreamy notes of praline, vanilla and cocoa.
Soon we'll select another coffee from Red Strand Coffee to serve in the cafe over the next year or so. The tasting we'll do with Shane is a great opportunity for us to acknowledge that coffee is an ever-changing agricultural product. We shouldn't expect the same flavours from harvest to harvest when so many factors influence the nature of the beans over the years—exactly the way wine changes from vintage to vintage. You can be certain that the beans we choose will support a viable livelihood for every person involved in their production.
By the way, if you're looking for the perfect reusable cup for your coffee, we have just the one to recommend.
We support Red Strand Coffee because it’s delicious, but also because we can be sure our first sip of the day and our afternoon pick-me-up is as good for the people who grew the coffee beans as it is for us—and we don’t think it gets much better than that.