Just Coffee Co-op Winter 2017 Farmer Newsletter

2016 Year In Review
Meet Just Coffee Co-op: Susan Bacher
Just Coffee Retailer: Willy Street Co-op


2016 Year In Review

Just Coffee Cooperative 2016 Year In Review


Meet Just Coffee Co-op:
Susan Bacher, Worker-Owner & Account Specialist
Sue + Thor Circle

1- How long have you been with Just Coffee?

Once my son and daughter finished college, I was able to look for a more rewarding work situation for myself. So, when an opportunity at Just Coffee presented itself in the fall of 2005, I jumped at it and have never looked back. I have worked full time for Just Coffee for almost 11 years now.

2- Why do you choose to serve/sell Just Coffee?
I think that Just Coffee’s dedication to fair trade and long term relationships is unique and very important. All relationships, starting with the coffee farmers and their coops, to the coffee importing co-op we belong to – Co-op Coffees, to our own coop – Just Coffee Co-op, to our vendors, and finally to our customers. Through good times and hard times, all of theses relationships are valued and maintained. I have worked for other small businesses where profit was their only goal. Where say, a farmer who raised prices or didn’t have a good harvest was just dropped and replaced by another cheaper and perhaps larger, corporate farm. I am very proud to work at a place where people and relationships are valued.

3- Why do you purchase – or-  How do you define Fair Trade?
Well, I’ve been around long enough to remember that fair trade is a social movement dedicated to improving business practices with small, family and/or community based groups. To me, fair trade means paying a higher, more equatable price for a product and dedication to long term relationships with the people who produce the products.

4- What information do you share with your customers about your coffee and Fair Trade?
That fair trade is an ever evolving process. It’s important to always be looking for better more equitable business practices. That’s one of the things that excites me about working at Just Coffee. We are always looking for ways to improve on what we do.

5- What is something that you would like to share with the farmers who grow your coffee?
I have had the privilege to visit the coffee farming communities of Las Diosas twice now. I am so very impressed and inspired by the farmers and their organizations. Their hard work and dedication to improving the human rights and living conditions for their families and communities is undeniably important. I will be forever grateful for these experiences. Anytime I feel discouraged and need inspiration, I remember my time spent with the farmers, in their homes and communities, and remember that what I do every day here in Madison is worthwhile and part of something much larger than myself. So, simply put, I want to say, thank you.


Just Coffee Co-op Retailer: Willy Street Co-op

Photo Cred: Michael R. Conway

We’ve heard many times from farmers that they would like to know more about where their coffees are sold. So to expand the relationships between farming partners and our customers here, we’ve decided to interview some of our customers- such as cafes and grocery stores- in order to share their stories with you. This time, we interviewed 4 staff members from Willy Street Grocery Co-op, a neighborhood based, full service grocery cooperative, that now has 3 stores here in Madison, WI.  

Responses submitted by the following Willy Street Co-op Staff Members: Melissa Reiss – Purchasing Assistant, Jeremy Johnson – Meat and Deli Category Manager, Dean Kallas – Grocery Category Manager, Patrick Schroeder – Production Kitchen Category Manager

1- How long have you sold Just Coffee?
Dean Kallas – Grocery Category Manager: I think we have been selling Just Coffee since 2003 or 2004! I went back and looked at our old promotional schedule and our first Just Coffee sale was in 2004.

Patrick Schroeder – Production Kitchen Category Manager: We switched to brewing only Just Coffee roasts in our coffee bars last year in February of 2016. That was a big moment for us. We’d been selling it for years alongside other roasters’ coffees. We were really excited to solidify our partnership with JCC last year.

2- Why do you choose to serve/sell Just Coffee?
Doing business with other cooperatives is a major part of our principles. We love to sip or serve a cup of hot, steamy, organic, fairly traded go juice. It’s an additional bonus that JCC is local to us. It’s pretty much the ideal relationship with regard to our values!

3- Why do you purchase – or- How do you define Fair Trade?
Our business is predicated on a commitment to support growers. They are so far down the list when it comes to seeing the fruits of their labor. The global economy dilutes the share of the profit that producers see as their product goes from hand to hand before it reaches the consumer. Working with Fair Trade organizations is as good of a guarantee as anything when you want to deal in a market where the producers are justly compensated.

4- What information do you share with your customers about your coffee and Fair Trade?We love to promote the transparency of JCC’s business and operations. JCC is so great about telling the story to the consumer about the true cost of growing, roasting, shipping, packing, and selling great coffee. It’s an easy story to tell.

5- What is something that you would like to share with the farmers who grow the coffee?Nothin’ but gratitude, yo. We are in awe of their tenacity, as we are of all of our partner-farmers. It’s a hard gig, and a risky one, especially to do business with your crops overseas. We appreciate the willingness of farmers to stay in the business in this modern economy and the foundation that Fair Trade orgs like JCC provide so that they continue to feel supported in their work.