In This Moment...
In 2018 I had the opportunity to take my fledgling coffee roasting business to the next level with the construction of a new roasting facility. Until now I have not spoken much about my new roastery or shared many photos of it. After all, it is a wholesale operation, not a retail space, so it never seemed, at least to me, something people cared much about. Promoting the physical space never seemed important relative to producing a product we are proud of and that our customers enjoy. Plus, our facility is approved by the State Department of Health and is registered with the FDA, so, for me, that was all that was truly important. However, with the health crisis we are now facing, now more than ever it seems imperative to assure those who consume food products know that the facility it is produced in is clean, orderly and meets proper health and safety standards.
Having previously worked in food service and taken food sanitation courses, I knew the importance good sanitary practices played in the health and wellbeing of others. So, I knew I wanted to build a roastery that was uncompromisingly focused on food safety. And, I set out to do just that.
When I was looking for a space for my new roasting operation I had a particular list of criteria in mind that the space had to meet. I ultimately had the good fortune to be offered a completely empty space in a new building that provided me the opportunity to design a facility from the ground up, to my specification. The result is what you see in the photo above. It is a space I am very proud of. It includes wash-down surfaces throughout, and food-safe materials and automation equipment not normally required for a wholesale coffee roasting facility. And, at the core of the operation is a state-of-the-art, Loring coffee roaster. Which, is 100% stainless steel, completely sanitary, and eco-friendly - it releases no smoke into the atmosphere and is energy and gas efficient. Our workflow was also designed so that once coffee enters the roaster it never has the need to touch human hands all the way through the packaging process.
And, from day-one we implemented a best practices policy requiring the use of food-service gloves, protective aprons and hair protection. Masks are also available, but are mostly used for dust when working with green, un-roasted coffee beans and when cleaning chaff from our coffee roaster. With the health risks we are now facing, face masks have been added to our daily safety protocol.
While I am fortunate to have been able to build the facility of my dreams, it was not the product of chance, lottery winnings, or outside investment. Rather, it was a commitment to something I am very passionate about and have dreamt about for years... and the willingness to risk everything, including cashing out all of my personal savings and a 401K plan to see it through. Plus, and most important, the good fortune to have a group of friends and family who also believed in the potential and pitched in to make it possible.
But, we are a small business, and with the closing of restaurants and cafes due to the current health crises we lost a majority of our business, literally overnight. However, we are lucky to still be able to work. But, despite what little work we have right now, we don’t take our ability to stay working during this time lightly. In fact, I was hesitant to write this, as in some way it feels inappropriate, perhaps even callous to talk about being able to work when so many businesses were forced to shutter completely, and abruptly. Leaving them with no pre-planning for closure or an idea when they might reopen. Or, if they will even be able to weather the storm and resume business once this crisis passes. But, without our cafe and restaurant partners even our ability to make it through the next few months is questionable.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country and our economy. But they typically do not have the reserves to weather events like this. Small businesses exist month-to-month just to keep their businesses operational and employees paid, while putting anything extra back into the business to help it grow. As the economic impact of this pandemic sets in people will not have as much money to spend and will have to turn to cheaper product alternatives. This will be the death knell for small producers, as small producers do not have economies of scale or the buying power necessary to lower their prices enough to compete with larger brands.
With so many out of work we know money is tight and getting tighter every day, but we hope you will still try to do whatever possible to continue to support the small businesses you love, as well as charities and foundations that help those displaced. The service sector of our country certainly saw the brunt of the layoffs, so we would like to suggest donating to the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation or sign the Save America’s Restaurants petition at Change.org. Plate magazine has put together a comprehensive list of national and state-by-state charities and organizations to consider.
Together ( apart :) we will get through this.
Please be well.
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To our customers -
We are forever grateful and truly thankful for your support. However, while we are all in this together, we know that the longer this goes on the harder it will be to financially support the small businesses you love. To provide a little relief and give back for your loyalty we would like to offer a discount. But, we would like to take a somewhat unconventional approach and offer a tiered discount based on the notion that every little bit helps... both for you as well as us.
Here is our discount proposal - it applies to all bags of coffee, subscriptions and merchandise are excluded. The discounts can be used as many times as you like and are currently set to expire in July. Let's hope we're back to some semblance of normalcy before then.
20% Discount - code: together20
15% Discount - code: together15
10% Discount - code: together10
5% Discount - code: together5
0% Discount - .. : )
A note from Alex - ffeine founder
Committed to quality, safety, best practices, and, most importantly, you.