Buena Vista Roastery

Coffee and the Mountains

Archive for decision-making

Darwinism and the Green Mountain

Green Mountain Roasters appears to be growing. The roaster out of New England bought up Tully’s out of Seattle. At least, it bought the wholesale arm of things, as well as the brand. The roasting facility is to be leased, and the brand will stay as Tully’s. I have not frequented a Tully’s, but see in the Seattle Times article that they are scattered all over the US and Japan. The article simply points out that there is a sale going on for bookoo dollars and that everyone of its 70 employees will remain employed. From my seat here in the mountains of Colorado, I am baffled over the corporate model and how a company can grow to the size of being worth $40.3 million.

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SCAA Sustainability Committee – Meeting Numero Uno

Next week I begin in earnest my tenure on the Specialty Coffee Association of America Sustainability Committee with a trip to a quarterly meeting in Atlanta. The meeting is a joint committee meeting, sort of a ‘mini SCAA conference’, as one person called it on a conference call the other day. I am interested to see how ‘sustainable’ the meeting is, especially as compared to the MN SCAA gathering last May. It was during that meeting that I obligatorily had to pay $7 to offset my carbon footprint, when the pomp and circumstance, signage, etc clearly paled the $7. Without really understanding the inner workings of the conference and expressing a little too much hubris, I found this was a curious notion to offset the barrage of signage and technological necessities of the conference. I look forward to learning more and to playing a part on the organizing side of things.

The Sustainability Committee has tasked itself to meet the United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDG). This is a wonderful aim. People have already been working on these goals and perhaps there are ways to help effect policy to encourage more progress. This fits in with the Roastery’s work with BBI International and becoming a certified Green Business. We still would like to work on a carbon footprint assessment and subsequent ways to reduce that footprint.

Coffee for a Cause, 10 Mountains, Exhibit Darfur

After a month hiatus, we are back on the blog. Thank you for the patience. We have been pulling together a few things here at the roastery, including hiring a new roaster, Stacy Cowan, to help with our increasing demand. We have also launched our Coffees for a Cause program, and helped coordinate two additional philanthropic activities. The Coffees for a Cause program donates 10% of the purchase price to one of six causes, each associated with their own blend/coffee. The two other activities we are aligned with are first, 10 Mountains – 10 Years, finding a cure to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and second, Exhibit Darfur, bringing awareness to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Please help us support these efforts.

SCAA Sustainability Committee

I am happy to say that I have been selected to serve on the SCAA Sustainability Committee for the next couple of years. A group of us from the coffee industry will work to progress efforts of sustainability – working with producers, suppliers, certifiers, roasters, retailers, etc. I am unsure who else is recently appointed to the committee, but know the previous and current members were a respected and thoughtful group. It will be an interesting experience and a great opportunity to help fashion or influence policy for the industry.


We at the Roastery think of ourselves as fairly ‘green’ when it comes to our practices and philosophies. Green will mean different things to different people. On someone’s scale we will be neon, on someone else’s, a dull sage. In any case, there is always room for improvement in my eyes, and through the balancing juggernaut of day-to-day business, we can tackle evermore environmentally, socially and economically sound initiatives. We have declared some carbon reduction initiatives for the present year and are monitoring to check how well we are achieving these. One thing we are in the midst of is working with BBI International and their Green Business certification. An energy audit will commence sometime soon, we hope, and we will have a starting basis from which to work. We will post progress with our initiatives as it happens overtime.

Scratching Biofuels with Coffee

The Washington Post has an interesting op-ed this morning, by Vinod Khosla. You might need to be signed up with the Post to read the whole article. In his piece entitled, “All Biofuels Are Not the Same”, he answers a Wall Street Journal critique of his advocacy of subsidies for food-based ethanol. He says,

Cellulosic biofuels offer a chance to have an environmentally meaningful impact on petroleum use while benefiting farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers…biodiesel from food oils such as soybean or palm oil has traditionally created environmental negatives. But corn ethanol has been a stepping stone to cellulosic ethanol, a preferred alternative that is likely to achieve unsubsidized market competitiveness with oil within a few years.

His arguments seem sound from a certain perspective, yet some may question whether they get to the root of the issue and may be rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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The ‘Localness’ in Local Coffee

I know Localness is not a real word. But local coffee may be just as real a concept. It depends heavily on the boundaries that we the consumer define as acceptable and okay. Consumers will define ‘local’ upteen ways, and then the retailer or wholesaler has to decide which definitions fit his or her business plan, or create their business model based on what’s important to them and let the chips fall where they may.

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