Sustainability In Coffee – Our View

Long before “sustainability” became a marketing and environmental buzzword,  Peerless Coffee Company operated with an eye toward sustainability.  In 1924, John Vukasin began building relationships with coffee farmers in far flung villages around the globe.   Three generations later, we travel the world maintaining these relationships and beginning new ones.  We get to know the farmers and help to develop their businesses, ensuring you the best coffee available and building a solid foundation for the future for both Peerless Coffee Company and the farmers.  Our definition of sustainability is expanding as is our commitment to continually innovate in all areas of our business.

We all hear a lot about “Fair Trade” these days.  What is “Fair Trade” exactly?  Fair Trade is simply a certification confirming that farmers were paid a fair price for their coffee.  We think this is a good thing, but Fair Trade certification alone isn’t perfect.  At Peerless, we believe in practicing both Fair and Direct Trade (Peer Trade).

Fair Trade excludes many small, worthy farmers that don’t belong to co-ops and the certification carries no quality guarantee.  We trade directly with many small farms that produce wonderful, undermarketed coffee.  Before we buy a coffee, we visit and taste for several seasons to check for consistency, while working with the farmers to improve quality.  Once we begin buying from a farmer, we set up long-term, fixed price contracts, in which Peerless commits to pay a fair, above market price for future beans.  The farmer has a guaranteed buyer, giving him or her an incentive to keep farming to Peerless standards.  What’s more, he’ll take that money and invest it directly in his/her local community raising the living standards of many.

When we source coffee that was grown responsibly and pay a fair price for it, everyone benefits.  Farmers who receive a good price for their coffee are more likely to care for the land with an eye toward its future productivity, thus preserving the health of the ecosystem and the quality of the coffee.  When farmers can make a living selling coffee, they will continue farming instead of migrating to the cities to find work.  This keeps societies and traditional cultures intact and is the first step toward sustainable development.  Our contacts in coffee producing areas, enable us to donate money directly to projects likes schools and clinics.  We visit these areas personally and are able to see first-hand, the impact of our giving.

COFFEE SURVIVAL TIPS

These are challenging times for the food industry. Skyrocketing costs of gas, food, and paper goods have left most of us scrambling for solutions. Peerless Coffee & Tea products are already the most profitable items on your table but they can do more. Here are some great ideas to keep customers coming in your doors.

1. ICED COFFEE – You’re seeing it everywhere – competitors advertising on TV, articles in the NY Times, but is it marketed in your establishment? Peerless wants to help you take advantage of the buzz. You already have the makings for iced coffee in your operation – no need to order special ingredients. You can dramatically increase coffee profits by chilling your excess brewed coffee and pouring it over ice. Add a shot of syrup and charge more to make a delicious iced coffee.

Peerless wants to help you market iced coffee. Just e-mail Peerless at sales@peerlesscoffee.com and we’ll send you a PDF file with a table talker for iced coffee – just print, cut and attach to your menu or display on your café tables. HINT: Freeze your excess brewed coffee in ice cube trays and use the cubes for a bolder iced coffee drink.

2. “ARNOLD PALMERS” – Are you making “Arnold Palmers”? Most of you have the ingredients in house. All you need is iced tea and lemonade. Make your “Arnold Palmers” with our Organic Tropic Star China Black Iced Tea and lemonade for a smooth and special quencher or use pomegranate or other exotic juices to make your own signature “Arnolds”. We’ve come up with a marketing piece for you to use on your menu or at your pay station. This marketing piece is just a mouse click away at sales@peerlesscoffee.com.

3. UPGRADING TO ORGANICS – Savvy operators know that they need to differentiate themselves from the competition. Increased quality and demand for natural, healthy products drive customers in the door. Go Organic! Peerless has a complete program of organic, single estate, and Fair Trade coffees and teas.

4. APPEAL TO BUDGET CONSCIOUS DINERS – Keep budget-conscious diners by creating new ways to help customers share. How about a “coffee & dessert share” promo where the table gets a carafe or French press and a signature dessert to share? Sharing can increase customer frequency and guest check averages.

5. SUGGESTIVE SELLING – Are you marketing to your customers? Do your servers suggestively sell? Merchandising is a great way to “focus” your customers on impulse products that can add to your bottom line. Are your Organic Tropic Star Iced Teas hidden behind the counter? Display Tropic Star on the counter in a beautiful pitcher, garnished with fresh fruit. It’s a perfect complement to any meal.

Peerless Proudly Features…Rwanda Grand Cru- Kanzu Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very special offering of a true artisan produced coffee. As rare as a Black Rhino, this light roasted coffee comes from a single washing station high above Lake Kivu surrounded by rainforests.   Creamy body, sweet pear, hints of dark cherry and a toasted honey finish.

Background

 

 

 

 

 

KANZU Coffee Washing Station is located in the Western Province of Nyamasheke. Sitting on the shoulders of Lake Kivu, and a stone’s throw from Nyungwe National Park, the washing station is located on the Rwanda Congo Nile Mountain Chain. The Coffee Washing Station is situated 1800m above sea level, and sources coffee from above 2000m+. The average annual rainfall is 1100mm. The climate, accompanied with the rich, fertile volcanic soils and the high altitude, make this an ideal region for coffee cultivation.

The local population survives on agriculture, cultivating subsistence crops like peas, cassava and banana. Coffee is used as their predominant cash crop. The money earned from coffee helps farmers educate their children, and provide medical care to those in need of it.

Nyamasheke District, Western Rwanda

In 2010, Kanzu only received and processed a total of 7,500 kgs of cherry, and in 2011 the washing station was not operational. In 2012, the washing station processed around 430,000 kgs of cherries, re-engaging the farmers’ confidence in coffee.

Operations

The coffee season in Rwanda runs from March-July. Kanzu receives coffee cherries from farmers and issues immediately to process. Once processed, the coffee is then dried on tables. The CWS employs 50 local men and women during the coffee season. Once dried, the parchment is bagged up and sent to the C.Dorman Rwanda main office in Kigali for further processing and export.

The main goal of C.Dorman Rwanda is to increase coffee production through farmer training and farm input incentives. C.Dorman Rwanda is focused on coffee processing protocol as a means of ensuring quality coffee for its customers, and premium price for the farmer. In 2007, Kanzu was one of the runners up in the Rwandan Golden Cup, and received an award at the Cup of Excellence in 2008.

The coffee form Kanzu Coffee Washing Station attracts buyers of the world’s top specialty coffees including Peerless Coffee and Tea, Stumptown, and Sweet Maria’s.

The Brights: Single origin coffees from Peerless Coffee. Roasted light. Roasted right.

There was a recent article called “Hot Blonde in the Coffee Shop” about the current trend with the mega coffee companies towards a lighter roasted coffee. Doing business in the dark roast world of Northern California, Peerless has been called unfashionable for using a lighter hand when roasting our coffees. So this trend is right in our wheelhouse.

Peerless is grounded in the philosophy that every coffee needs to be roasted to varying degrees to bring out its unique traits, which are most pronounced in single origin coffees. Characteristics of flavor vary depending on the bean, terroir, varietal, and how the “cherry” is processed.

Brightness carries the flavor; without brightness the coffee can taste flat. Lighter roasts tend to preserve brightness, which lets varietal subtleties shine through.

Most of our “Brights “ are estate coffees.  We have visited many of these farms, getting a first hand view of their practices and nurturing business ties that go back three generations.

Single Origin Coffee Primer

For a single origin coffee, the flavor of the beans are heavily influenced by terroir, giving you the complete experience of the region.

Peerless 89 Year Anniversary

89 YEARS OF LOOKING FORWARD…

John Vukasin Opens Peerless Coffee at 9th & Washington in Oakland – 1924 • Pioneers Dry Roasting • Survives World War II & Depression • Begins Roasting Fresh Peanuts – 1943 • George Sr. & Sonja Join Peerless • Patents Coffee Urn – 1964 • Survives the 60’s in Downtown Oakland • Moves to Current Location at 260 Oak Street – 1975 • Begins Roasting Organic Coffee – 1979 • George Sr. President, Pacific Coast Coffee Assoc. – 1984 • Purchases United Coffee Corp. – 1991 • Peerless Roastery Becomes an Official Organic Facility – 1992 • Chosen as Best Bay Area Coffee by the SF Chronicle – 1993• George Jr. & His Sister Kristina Join Peerless – 1996 & 1999 • George Sr. President, National Coffee Assoc. – 1997 to 2000

Begins Offering Fair Trade – 2000 • Certified as a Green Business- 2000 • Manuel Mejia Award Winner from the Colombian Coffee Federation – 2001 • Purchases Adam’s Organics – 2001 • Introduces Tropic Star Organic Iced Tea Line – 2002 • Introduces New Brand & Package Design – 2003 • George Jr. & Kristina Each Named One of 40 Under 40 in the Bay Area – 2003 & 2005 • Introduces Biodynamic Coffees – 2009 • Stop Waste Award Winner – 2010 • George Jr. President, Pacific Coast Coffee Assoc. – 2010 • 3rd Generation of Vukasin’s Take Over the Helm – 2010 • Sea Smoke™ a New Blend Perfect to Chase Away the Winter Blues – Winter 2011 • Introduces New Tropic Star Organic Iced Tea Retail Packaging at the Fancy Food Show – January 2012

THINGS TO COME IN 90 …

Introducing Single Cup Pods for in-room – 2012 • Unveiling new 2lb. loose leaf tea program – 2013 • New packaging for Espresso Nuovo – 2013