We are proud to maintain close working relationships with multiple producer-partners, what we call "Relationship Coffee." It can take a few different forms but it basically means that coffee roasters and their customers have a more direct connection to the growers and processors of coffees we buy. The coffees we offer from Brazil, Nicaragua, and Papua New Guinea come from Gaucha Specialty Coffee, Gold Mountain Coffee Growers, & Benchmark Coffee Traders, respectively. They import their own coffees to the US and sell them direct to roasters like us. These companies either own coffee farms and/or processing facilities in the growing countries and do the work of exporting those coffees from origin and importing them to the United States.
Our Relationship Coffee purchases are showcased above and in our Single Origin Coffees category, and a high percentage of coffees used in our Gourmet Coffee Blends also come through our Relationship Coffee partners.
The benefits of Relationship Coffee extend to the consumer through a higher level of food traceability, giving you greater knowledge about where your coffee comes from. The benefits of Relationship Coffee also extend back to the producers, farm laborers, and their families & communities - because high-scoring Specialty Coffee fetches higher prices than lower-grade commodity coffees, and with fewer stakeholders in the supply chain more of those higher premiums make it back to people who need it the most.
Gold Mountain and Benchmark are both “social enterprises,” meaning that they are businesses with a strong social mission to improve the lives of the people and land that produce these fine coffees - through social projects and improving the sustainable agriculture practices used in their operations. So your money is put to good use when supporting our Relationship Coffee partners. At Ross Street Roasting Co., we’ve also been able to go above and beyond by coordinating targeted fundraising projects that do additional good in the communities that produce coffees in this category.
We have been fortunate to visit our partners in Nicaragua - Gold Mountain Coffee Growers - during and after coffee harvest. Check out this video from our friend and RSR co-owner, Farmer Derek!
This has allowed us to not only see with our own eyes the level of care they put into their farming, harvesting, and processing practices - but it’s also given us the opportunity to taste incoming lots before most other roasters do, and identify exceptional coffees that we want to bring in months down the road. This worked out well for us in 2018 when we tasted a Pacamara Natural Process micro-lot from the three farms in the Jinotega region in early March, put our name on one sack (about 150 lbs), received it in the US in July, and entered it into the national Golden Bean North America roasters competition in September, where we won two medals in the categories of Single Origin Espresso and Single Origin Pour Over with that coffee we’d tasted back in March.