Join our talk with Tripp Pomeroy CEO of Sweetwater Organic Coffee! We chat about certified Fair Trade, certified Organic, and sustainable coffee. We also touch on the unprecedented times we are living in along with Tripp’s efforts to adapt and protect business, people, and earth!
In 2004, Tripp was given the opportunity to buy-in and co-own, Café Campesino in Americus, GA. Tripp mentions this opportunity being the perfect marriage between his interests: international development and an environmentally sustainable, fair traded operation. During 2008, Café Campesino was approached by Sweetwater Organic Coffee to take over the roaster. Some of Sweetwater staff owns part of the company as they stay true to their principles.
Fair Trade Coffee
Tripp tells us Fair Trade is the identity of their business. Café Campesino has followed Fair Trade standards for 20 years, while Sweetwater has done it for 10 years.
There is a known misconception about Fair Trade items having a higher price tag. Tripp tells us that ethically sourced coffee does not cost more to the consumer since the business absorbs the cost. Tripp emphasizes that it is possible to run and grow a sustainable business, for people and planet, and being profitable at the same time.
Café Campesino is a founding member of Cooperative Coffees, a green coffee importing organization committed to fair or alternative trading relationships between farmers and roasters. Café campesino and Sweetwater Organic Coffee have maintained relationships with trading partners for 5 – 20 years.
If done properly: principles + federation that regulates fair trade. change the industry equity, fair trade, transparency.
COVID-19 and Sweetwater Organic Coffee
Tripp touches on 4 important factors during these unprecedented times;
- Staff: the health and wellbeing of Sweetwater staff is primordial. Staff is provided protective equipment, while all sanitary procedures that already existed are leveled up. Staff has split into two teams that rotate to restrict the amount of people in the building at a given time.
- Costumers: Sweetwater is keeping coffee going! They are upholding safety measures, running promotions to support customers, and focused on online retail to support the business.
- Trading partners: main issue Sweetwater trading partners face is food security. Sweetwater and Cooperative Coffees have allocated 130K impact fund to be used as response to the needs of farmers.
- Community: Sweetwater is committed to support community, doing their part to keep everyone safe and healthy. Tripp talks to us about the re-opining plan for their restaurant in Americus, GA. He says that even though GA gave the green light to open restaurant businesses, they want to carefully balance the re-opening by taking all precautions to protect the community.
Tripp says this pandemic has brought opportunities to connect with people online and create a virtual community. Also, he mentions this chaotic time can be used as an opportunity to spend more time talking with costumers and building links in the community. Furthermore, Tripp says he is using this time to expand dialogue and share information with other specialty coffee teams.
Certified Organic Coffee
Coffee prefers to be grown naturally, says Tripp. He believes organic coffee is superior in taste and in nature. Organic growing methods protect farmers and their families form harsh chemicals used in traditional farming. Tripp shares how a well-run organic coffee farm can sequester carbon creating healthy soil!