Farmer to Roaster – Personally delivering green coffee to Spirit Mountain Roasting Partners

Friendships w/ our Roasting Partners…it just happened!

Kate and Chad with Richard Duncan, Owner of Addison Coffee Roasters, during the 2019 coffee delivery.  Richard was one of the first roasters willing to give us a try.

In 2003, when Jeff and I bought the farm, I knew very little about the coffee industry.  I grew up in North Dallas, we still had family there and it just made sense to start in the area.  My brother, Gavin, and I called everyone in the DFW area who was into coffee.  There were fewer roasters back then, so it was a short list.  We got a few takers.  I asked my brother to pick up the coffee and personally deliver it to our first ‘clients’…or Roasting Partners as we say today.  Personal delivery was simply done out of necessity.  We were a small family farm with no corporate structure back then…we still operate in a similar manner today, just with more intentionality.

Summer deliveries have since become an annual Spirit Mountain tradition.  Gavin did much of the ‘heavy lifting’ in the early days, before we started spending more time in the States.  My mom and dad have also jumped in as needed.  Krista, Keren, Kate and I love getting to connect personally with so many of our roasting partners each summer when we personally deliver our harvest.  We enjoy catching up, seeing whats new with our roasters and getting to share first hand whats new on the farm….and with the Doulos Discovery School.

If we haven’t visited your roaster yet…were coming soon, I hope!

Keren and Kate helping to deliver coffee to another one of our first Partners in Dallas, Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters.

We have not been able to visit all of our roasters yet, someday soon I hope!  Many of our roasters, most in fact, have been to the farm.  Some even visit us on a regular basis.  It is always an honor when we get to host our friends in Manabao.  Coffee is one of the most complex agricultural products to grow, process and transport.  Roasters who have experienced what happens on a farm develop a deep appreciation for the coffee farmer’s life and the particular challenges they face on a regular basis.

Back when we started, we didn’t realize that this “personal touch” wasn’t the norm.  When I consider the friendships that have formed as a result of making the extra effort to personally deliver our coffee, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.  It’s been a great way for our girls to help with the business and get to know our roasters.

It’s a lot of work, but definitely, MORE FUN THAN WORK!

That was a lot of Bags…I’m all smiles…its still early!

In 2018, because of family scheduling conflicts, I needed to picked up and delivered the coffee by myself.  That was unusual…a one off.  208 sixty pound sacks of coffee loaded, unloaded and delivered, in one day!  In the beginning, we didn’t charge any delivery fees.  We were just happy to have a few roasters interested in our coffee.  Today, we still don’t charge for this service if your not too far from one of our “partner hubs” in Texas or Colorado). Getting coffee from a farm, high in the mountain of a Caribbean island to the door step of a roaster in the US can be a daunting challenge.  Laws change, shipments get lost, and have to be found, there can be weather delays on the DR side or logistical shipping delays.  Third World or Developing countries deal with obstacles we never think about in the developed world….so when I finally get all my coffee loaded up in a truck, even if I happened to be alone, its a GREAT day!

Getting into our roaster’s world…and having some fun!

Latte Art

Kate Wallace and Jonah pulling shots for latte art at Coffee Del Rey after delivering coffee this summer.  

Keren and Kate have both worked as baristas, so when we stop at one of our partners’ shops, its a treat when we get to have some extra fun.  Kate has worked with 5 coffee shops in NYC these past three years, and has earned a reputation for being one of the top female baristas in the 5 boroughs.  This summer, after we a;; unloaded 54 sacks of coffee at Kimberly Marcaccini’s roastery, Coffee del Rey, Kate and Kim’s right had man, Jonah, geeked out for a hour about coffee, pulled shots, poured latte art and discussed best practices in the barista world.  It is moments like this that would never happen if we didn’t personally deliver our coffee.  We may not have met Jonah….and how sad would that have been!

We get to share in much more than just Coffee

Chad and Tributary owner, Travis Colbert.

In 2016 we started spending more time in Crested Butte.  Keren was attending Western State Colorado University just down valley in Gunnison.  I had found this really special coffee shop in CB…they made a spectacular cup of coffee and were roasting their own beans.  The following summer I brought up some of my green beans at the request of the owner…in hopes we could get another partner in Colorado.  Mark really liked the coffee, but informed me that the shop would be closing the following season.  There was a silver lining….the head barista and assistant roaster, Travis, would be opening up his own shop in Gunnison the following summer.  The new location would be only 2 blocks from our house on main street…EVEN BETTER!!

Its been amazing, watching Travis Colbert and his wife Ann embark on this epic journey as they opened up Tributary Coffee Roasters!  Tributary is into it’s second season and has become synonimus for great coffee in the valley…and Spirit Mountain has become their standard!  I just dropped off the second shipment of coffee!  It’s special to be so far from our farm in the Dominican Republic…yet be able to walk down the street and get a brilliantly roasted and brewed cup of my coffee!!

Taking Porch Culture from Jarabacoa, RD to Tyler, Texas.

Luz Perez, Doulos discovery Alum and Keren Wallace delivering coffee to Jonathan Ramm.

To write about delivering confetti our partners and not mention Porch Culture Coffee Roasters  would be wrong.  Jonathan and Shelly Ramm worked with us at the Doulos Discovery School in the Dominican Republic.  They are both passionate about people, deep relationships and doing things right.  When they decided to move back to the states, coffee had become another passions that would not let go.  The Ramms moved to Ohio for a year to work and learn from a roaster friend there prior to their move back Jonathan’s home town of Tyler.  Jonathan and Shelly were two of our dearest friends and we were sad to say good bye.   Well, its a long and convoluted story, but today, Krista and I live a 2 minute walk from their house in the historic district of Tyler.  Jonathan delivers a fresh roasted bag of Spirit Mountain coffee to my door on a regular basis.   Our Partners really are much more than just clients, they are some of our dearest friends!

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