Our co-op works with nearly 500 local vendors and has more than 3,000 local products on its shelves. Last year, local products equaled 40% of our overall sales. Each month, we shine the spotlight on a featured local vendor to help share their stories and celebrate their role in our community.
We recently spoke with Vermont Coffee Company. The following are excerpts from our conversation.
How did Vermont Coffee Company get its start?
In the late ‘90s Paul Ralston started roasting coffee for his friends with a 10 lb. capacity Royal roaster in his garage in Bristol. Having perfected a big, bold roast profile that proved popular with his friends, Vermont Coffee Company® and the tagline Coffee Roasted for Friends® were born.
I understand that you roast your beans with biogas. Can you explain what that means?
Our connection to biogas is twofold. Our electricity comes from local dairy farms that operate anaerobic digesters to extract methane gas from cow manure and convert it into electricity (known locally as Cow Power). The energy powering our coffee roasters is biogas generated by a landfill built specifically to recover methane from organic materials.
Tell me about where your raw coffee beans come from.
Our 100% organic beans come from small farms and cooperatives in many of the well-known coffee-growing regions – Central and South America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, among others.
How do you evaluate the quality of coffee?
Our Quality Lab conducts daily coffee cuppings, sample roastings, and color analyzing with an Agtron scale, which categorizes roasts by the depth of their color. These ensure that our friends will have a consistently big, bold cup of coffee. We each have our idea of what makes the perfect cup of coffee. Ultimately the pleasing aroma and rich taste are what we all want.
Your motto is “Coffee Roasted for Friends.” How does Vermont Coffee Company contribute to the larger community?
Coffee Roasted for Friends® isn’t just our motto, it’s our philosophy for how we do business. Our electricity comes from local dairy farms that operate anaerobic digesters to extract methane gas from cow manure and convert it into electricity (known locally as Cow Power). The energy powering our coffee roasters is biogas generated by a landfill built specifically to recover methane from organic materials. Our organic coffee is grown in habitat that is healthy for people, animals, plants, and soil. We pay a fair price to our growers, cultivating long-term relationships, staying with them through difficult times, as friends do. And we support our neighbors in need — Addison County and Vermont food banks, the John Graham Shelter, to name a few.