Meet the Roaster: Franc!

We are delighted to welcome our beautiful new Series-2 San Franciscan 25-pound roaster, “Franc”, to our team. Franc replaced faithful “Cisco”, and takes his place next to “Frannie”. With next-level controls and brand-new manufacturing, Franc enables us to provide even better coffee to you.

Celebrating Women: Cafe Femenino

Heads up, coffee folks: August 26th is Women’s Equality Day–but why limit the celebration to just 24 hours? We at Caravan Coffee have decided to dedicate the whole month of August to celebrating the equality of women, and what better way to do that than by featuring our Peru Café Femenino–“Women’s Coffee”? Medium-bodied, clean-tasting, with a fine acidity and sweet aroma, this certified Fair Trade, Organic coffee is grown, processed, and marketed solely by women farmers in the northern Peruvian highlands.

For every pound of this coffee purchased in the month of August, Caravan Coffee will donate $.50 to the Café Femenino Foundation. This means that not only will you enjoy a classic Peruvian coffee, but your purchase will help empower female farmers. By using the production and sale of its products as a vehicle to social change, the Café Femenino program impacts the lives of women around the world, building greater gender equality in families, co-operatives, and communities. We’d say that calls for a cup of coffee. Let’s celebrate together!

Peru Cafe Femenino: Certified Fair Trade, Certified Organic

Tasting Notes: A savory coffee with salted caramel and raw cacao up front with a pepper and peanut brittle finish.

Wholesale pricing: $10.25/lb

Order minimum: 5 lbs or 7 12 oz.pre-packs

Lessons from a First Grade Teacher: Affirmation

My friend, Austin Taylor, is a first grade teacher at North Marion Elementary School. At the beginning of the day, he stands at the doorway of his classroom greeting every single one of his twenty-eight students. He greets them each by name and gives them some encouraging words.

“Mary, I’m glad you are here today”.

“Good morning Jason, we have a fun art project planned for you” .

“Cindy, how are you? You look ready to go to work with that new backpack”.

Austin tells me that with this practice, every child who walks into his classroom will start out their day being affirmed. They will know that their teacher thinks they are special and that they are going to be successful today.

As a leader in my small business, I thought to myself that I can apply this leadership lesson with my team. So, I have been making a conscious effort at the beginning of my day to walk through our Roastery and Tasting Room to personally connect.

“Good morning Mica. How are you?”

“Josh, it’s a beautiful morning. I’m glad you’re here”

“Alex, good work on designing the new fair trade coffee label”.

We all like to be affirmed; to hear someone say our name with a pleasant greeting; to be recognized for who we are and what we contribute. This is a powerful leadership tool that not only impacts our followers; but changes us who lead as well. Thank you Austin.

– Pete Miller


Featured: Our Table

A small, dirt-scented revolution is taking place in Sherwood, Oregon, where the sixty acres of Our Table Cooperative are cultivated, relationships are forged, and the long-term perspective on food sourcing is at the forefront. Caravan Coffee is fortunate to be the coffee provider for this unique coop, so today we want to highlight the great work and the enthusiastic workers making Our Table possible. Our staff storyteller, Emily, spoke with Gianna Banducci, Director of Marketing and Sales, and Mallory Cochrane, Aggregation and Distribution Manager for the coop, over a shaky Skype connection. Here’s a small peek into the world of Our Table!

20130606_our_table_2489“We are a multi-stakeholder coop, with three different categories of members. First, there are workers, including Mallory and me, our retail manager, and the seven to eight farmers,” says Banducci. “Next we have the producer members, like Caravan. These are independent growers, artisans, or craftspeople whose businesses are off-site. These folks share in the services of the coop, including marketing, distribution, sales relationships, and eventually in the profit from the coop. Lastly are the consumers, an important piece of the puzzle. For them, the coop means that the more they shop with us the more they share the eventual profits.”

Being a producer member of Our Table means that Caravan has the chance to share coffee with a unique group of Oregonians. Cochrane says, “We love Caravan because the team really prioritizes that it’s about relationships throughout the entire supply chain. Our standards for a certified local brand say everything must be Oregon-source, but of course coffee can’t grow here. So with Caravan, we chose them because they prioritize the relationships with the growers of their coffee and have even visited the farms. They know how the workers are treated, which makes it much more justifiable to have coffee in our offerings.”

20141105_farm_stand_opening_8259Our Table’s widely diverse team members—Banducci has a Master’s from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in northern Italy, and Cochrane learned about Our Table when she was the buyer for a Portland grocery store—and the incredibly thoughtful planning that has gone into the coop set it apart, even if it weren’t already exceptional. Certified organic, with nine acres of blueberries that are sold wholesale and an 800 square foot retail store with 90% certified organic offerings, Our Table is growing rapidly. Still, says Banducci, “We don’t have a short-term vision. What we are doing is changing things up in the food chain and doing it in a way that really supports everyone who’s involved, instead of the conventional system that extracts all the value for the producers and hikes up prices for consumers. We are in this for the long game. Local food as an industry is growing quickly, attracting lots of entrepreneurs, but this model is much deeper than just another farm, restaurant, or food business. We are at our two-year anniversary, so we’re babies! It’s a big experiment… we’re excited to see the results ten year down the road!

Holidays: Motherhood in Coffee

Recently I traveled with Paul, Marcus, and Mica up to Seattle for the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) trade show. I was prepared to attend a few lectures, bring home plenty of swag from vendors, and check out new gadgets our coffee-loving friends might like in our Tasting Room. What I was NOT prepared for was my entire perspective on the coffee industry changing at the core.

I’m mom to two small boys. I think about what’s for dinner, when I can fit in grocery shopping, where my oldest will go to preschool when he’s potty-trained, and how they can be kind to each other and themselves. Basically, I think a lot about how my husband and I can provide for them and help them succeed in the world.

As a coffee professional I hadn’t thought about other mothers and their children, but the vulnerability of a coffee picker from Nicaragua named Marlena changed my perspective forever. In a room of over 150 coffee professionals she shared her story.

photo 4Marlena was ten years old when she began working on a coffee farm. The farm was badly organized and there were many children picking coffee cherries from the trees. Since the farmers did not treat the workers well or pay them fairly, there was high turnover, resulting in much of the coffee cherries falling to the ground and rotting.

Now, years later, as a mother of four, she still works on this farm. Conditions have improved–children no longer work in the fields–but she is not the only mother who hears her children say, “When will we eat again, mama? When can I go to school?” She began to tear up as she shared her fears, and I began to cry with her.

On this trip to the United States, she was treated with respect and given plenty of food. But she still worries about her neighbors back on the farm: “What did they eat today? Did they start work at three A.M. again to fit in a few more hours of work and give their children food? Did they get to see their children at all, other than asleep?” I felt my heart opening as I heard her speak, and her final point resonated deeply with me: “The savage is not one who lives in the wild. The savage is the one who destroys it.”

To apply all this to the here-and-now, as baristas we carry the weight of presenting the combined efforts and reputations of the farmers, coffee pickers, coffee buyers, and roasters. If we don’t take that responsibility to heart, we are part of the problem.

Coffee will never be just coffee for me or anyone working at Caravan. Each cup of coffee I prepare for you has a family’s provision behind it. It has a story. Its tiny impact will ripple through history.

For myself, our team, and for every other person who touches this coffee, I want to thank you for choosing to partner with us as we take steps to impact this world of coffee together.

Public Coffee Cupping 4/24/2015

Public Tasting at Caravan

Join us for our Public Coffee Cupping where we will compare the following two coffees side by side:


Papua New Guinea – Fair Trade, Organic
Latitude:   6° 39′ S
Longitude: 145° 33′ E
Altitude: 1800m
Process:  Wet
Varietal: Bourbon, Typica, Arusha
Region: Purusa
Farm/Farmer: Purosa Coop
Broker: OPTCO

Mexico ( SAMPLE )
Farm/Farmer: Ixhuatlan del Cafe Veracruz
Process: Wet
Broker: IPCoffees

Our Public Coffee Cuppings are always
complimentary to the public!

Public Coffee Cupping 4/17/2015

Public Tasting at Caravan

Join us for our Public Coffee Cupping where we will compare the following coffees side by side.

Ethiopia Kochere 
Latitude:   6° 15′ 36.61″N
Longitude:  38° 17′ 48.96″E
Altitude: 1820 m
Process:  Wet
Drying: Sun dried. raised beds
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia
Region: Kochere
Farm/Farmer: Coop
Broker: Dominion Coffee Importers

Ethiopia Sidamo Peaberry ( SAMPLE )
Farm/Farmer: Coop
Process: Wet
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia
Broker: Dominion Coffee Importers

Our Public Coffee Cuppings are always
complimentary to the public!

Caravaning in Andalucia, Part 4

Farther north of Granada, we cross the plains of Andalucia, where olive groves dominate the scenery, and arrive in Cordoba. Our hosts, Maria and Javier, put us up in a room built on their second-floor patio overlooking the city. This is Maria’s family home, which she inherited from her grandmother. The house is hundreds of years old and from the patio we can almost reach out to touch the oldest church in Cordoba, built about 500 years ago.

Contrasting our previous home stays on this trip, Maria and Javier are a modern Spanish family who own a car, both work outside of the home, and have laptops on their kitchen counter. What really confirms this impression for me is the Kuerig in our room, complete with foil-wrapped coffee pods. Convenience over quality and ecology is not just an American problem.

The Mezquita is on our priority list to see. This is an ancient Moorish Palace with unique arches that are striped red. Most remarkable is that the Catholics built a cathedral inside this palace after they reconquered Andalucia from the Moors in the 17th century. The cathedral’s Renaissance architecture juxtaposes the Moor’s Palace. Most notably, the statue of St. James the Moor-Slayer is the transition between the two spaces. Here, St. James rides his stallion with his sword high, trampling underfoot the body of a recently-beheaded Moor.

KirstaAfter the Mesquita, we walk down to the river and cross the Roman bridge, built in the first century. We are reminded that even before the Moors, came another conqueror: the Romans reached the farthest stretches of the Iberian Peninsula over two thousand years ago. From this historic reflection we head out for tapas. As we head up the hill through windy narrow streets, we get lost and finally, about 1 am, we come across a bar with an open door and emanating laughter. As we walk in, the laughter stops and the dozen men on bar stools look at us with indignant eyes. We have broken the unwritten code that this space is for men only.

We order two glasses of vino tinto and sit at a table across from the bar. We sip and smile as the locals continue their rivalry and suddenly the bartender begins to sing a Flamenco song and the patrons join in with the arabian rhythmic clapping of hands. The old man sitting at the far end of the bar gets up and approaches Krista, who thinks she is invited to dance and stands to greet him. He holds her hand and guides us back toward a room behind the bar. All patrons follow, the light is turned on, and to our astonishment we see four mounted bull heads (minus ears). The old man continues telling us about his bullfighting days (we think), drawing our attention to the black and white photos of matadors and their bulls.

The next morning our host tells us we came across the legendary tailor of the Matadors from the 1950’s. He was famous not for the demise of the bulls, but for outfitting the brave bull fighters in Andulacia. We walk down the street from our flat for breakfast to a modern-style cafe with windows overlooking Roman ruins. The customers are mostly men and women in business suits, starting with their toasted bread soaked in olive oil and tomato paste. We order our espresso, once again served with hot thin steamed milk. Again the espresso is not bad, just lacks punch (mostly from staleness). From here we head out for more pictures and adventures.

Our caravaning: Some places you visit are old and some are really old. Espresso in Andulacia, if unremarkable, is predictable and gets the job done.