Echo Coffee Philosophy: Organic
March 24, 2010
Rounding out our short 3 part series regarding what the Echo Coffee tagline means, we hit upon the last word in the tag line: Organic. For coffee, this is both easy and difficult. The vast majority of specialty coffees in the world are organically grown. The relatively poor farmers growing the coffee simply do not have access to pesticides and fertilizers that modern farmers use to push production.
That noted, a relative few number of farms have been certified as organic. For that reason, we won’t actually market all of our coffees as organic, even though we believe they all are in fact organic. Some will be certified. Some won’t. As we grow, and get the opportunity to take visits to our favorite farms, we hope to influence how many farms are certified organic, so that those farms can benefit from the slight price increase they yield from the certification.
Beyond coffee, naturally all of the milk will be organic. Milk is by far the largest cost item for a coffee shop. Choosing to serve organic milk will more than double the cost of this component of a cappuccino or latte. But we find that organic milk behaves very differently under steam, as it seems to have more proteins, thus stretches better, and yields a sweeter micro foam than does non-organic milk. Using each product side-by-side it’s startling to see and taste the difference.
For pastries and other baked items, naturally we’ll use organic flour and sugar, as well as any other organic ingredients that we are able to regularly source.
Going beyond the ingredients within food, though, we expand our meaning of organic to also include recycling and limited post-consumer waste. We deplore that the coffee industry has largely degraded into a business of serving coffee in paper (or even worse Styrofoam) cups. The small paper residue in each cup, the taste of plastic from the lid, is all very displeasing. Yet for some reason, paper cups are the norm, not the exception.
At Echo Coffee you will get your hot drinks delivered to you in a preheated, porcelain cup, whenever you have a few minutes to stay in the shop and enjoy it. We know sometimes you must “grab and go”, but when the opportunity arises, we hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to sit down, and enjoy the best coffee in Arizona from the best cup. In doing so, you’ll have the best coffee experience you can, and we’ll each do our little part to reduce post-consumer waste.
Organic ingredients and porcelain cups are just the first of many steps we are taking toward our environmentally friendly stance, but hopefully this gives you a feel for what we mean when we say Organic.