Echo Coffee Philosophy: Organic

March 24, 2010

green-coffeeRounding 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.

Echo Coffee Philosophy: Local

March 23, 2010

local-target Today, we’ll describe what Local means to Echo Coffee.  This is the simplest, but with the advent of the internet, possibly the hardest tenet to abide by.  Whenever possible, support locally first. By working locally, we expect that opportunities will exist for supplier and consumer to benefit in ways far greater than simply the exchange of goods and services.

For green coffee, we exemplify this by working with Cortez Coffee in Tempe.  We could have worked with Royal Coffee in the Bay Area or Cafe Imports in St Paul.  Both great companies that each do business exactly the way we like our partners to work.  But being out of state, we wouldn’t have that personal relationship that you can only get when the relationship is cemented with a smile and a hand shake.

But Local means more than just sourcing from local suppliers.  It also means working locally to support and cultivate a tradition of excellent coffee.  We believe coffee can be great, and we want to promote and educate our local community what goes into making great coffee.  You may not have the resources to make great coffee yourself at home, but when you come into Echo Coffee, we’ll be glad to share with you what we do.  From the beans to the brewing methods, there won’t be anything we do that will be a secret from our community.

In the early 1990’s, the coffee scene in Arizona was dominated by Coffee Plantation, a locally owned and operated company.  For reasons of their own, the original owners chose to sell, which opened the door for Starbucks to gain entry into the Phoenix coffee market, which it dominates today.  Now Dunkin Donuts is working hard to gain a foothold.  We firmly believe, however, that a locally owned and operated coffee shop can provide the best product and service.

Local also means supporting our local community.  Most immediately, Echo Coffee is sponsoring RE BarCamp Phoenix on April 7, providing coffee for several hundred Realtors that are gathering to learn more about social media.

To summarize, we place a very high value on working locally first, even when it takes more effort.  Even when it costs more money.  We find the other benefits simply outweigh those costs.

Updated: When will Echo Coffee open?

March 17, 2010

As you can see here, construction is moving right along for Echo Coffee at 68th Street & Thomas. All of the plumbing, electrical, mechanical (AC) rough-ins are complete.  Drywall has been hung, and by the end of the weekend, tape and texture will be done.

Next week we will paint, followed by cabinets, counters, and finish trim for electrical and plumbing.

The contractors are really working hard to get this complete in short order, and I visit nearly every day to deal with any potential problems and answer questions before those questions become issues.

Because Echo Coffee is sponsoring RE BarCamp Phoenix on April 9th, that is the date all of the contractors are working toward to enable us to support that event.

As is common, we will have a soft opening, followed up a week or two later with a grand opening, once we feel all of the processes are suitable for high volume.

So my current answer to when is April 9th, though April 10th will probably be the first “doors open” day.

When is Echo Coffee opening?

January 30, 2010

opendate Construction for our 68th Street & Thomas location in South Scottsdale is set to start any day now.  While we are frustrated with the delay in getting to this point, we have the right people working on the tenant improvements and they believe the shop can be completed in approximately 6 weeks.  Adding some time buffer to their potentially optimistic schedule, we expect to open in late March, 2010.

Not yet open, but working on it

September 24, 2009

Echo Coffee is not yet open for business. Optimistically, we will be open around January 1, 2010. It’s not impossible, but we need a little help from the city of Scottsdale to approve a tiny bit of variance for our location near 68th Street and Thomas Road. Hopefully we will have that approval before the end of the week.

In the meantime, we are roasting coffee out of the garage, and sharing the goodness of fresh roasted coffee with our friends and neighbors, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share it with you.

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