What is it that makes specialty coffee so, well, magical?
For us at Olympia Coffee, it’s the people. The farmers and importers, roasters and production experts, baristas and cafe regulars — and so many others that support and shape us. It’s because of these people, living in diverse, vibrant communities across the globe, that we’ve grown our company around a core mission to work toward a coffee industry that’s equitable, ethical, and sustainable from seed to cup. So that everyone whose hands and hearts go into making this delicious, carefully crafted coffee can enjoy a better quality of life.
That’s why, every year, we’re proud to release our Coffee Transparency Report. This document includes all the initiatives we’ve undertaken in the past year that go toward supporting the Fair For All mindset in every aspect of our business. Plus, we detail every lot we’ve purchased over the past year, who and where we got it from, and how much we paid for it. Because we believe that, while money isn’t everything, fair pay is extremely important. The kind of pay that allows our producers in other parts of the world to support their communities, improve their homes and farms, and send their kids to school.
We make this information public because we don’t want this to just be an “us” thing. We want to see our whole industry embrace the mindset that coffee isn’t just a delicious drink to be consumed. It’s a part of how we live in connection with others. When that connection is healthy and thriving, we’re all better off for it. And so is our coffee!
New challenges, same values
Even as specialty coffee cafes rebounded from the throes of the COVID pandemic, the entire service industry was faced with a deep labor shortage. Our Olympia Coffee cafes and Moonrise Bakery were still in the process of reopening after two years of restricted service, when the omicron variant sent our cafes back to the “to go” only standard for the first quarter of 2022. We only reopened our cafes to indoor dining in the summer of 2022.
In the spring of 2022, the effects of the war in Ukraine began to point toward a global commodity shortage. Coffee prices continued to rise throughout the year, and supply chain disruptions also continued. Double the shipping times between ports and transit times for freight have become the "new normal."
Still, even in the face of these challenges, we maintained our intentional, detailed, and quality-of-life-focused sourcing process. One major part of that was regaining access to international travel: for the first time since the pandemic, we were finally able to go back to origin! In 2022 we resumed our regular origin trips, investing in-person in our producer relationships. We visited El Salvador, Hawai’i, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru throughout the year. As of writing, we've also made trips to Ethiopia and Kenya, and we are looking forward to returning soon to Guatemala and Burundi.
In response to rising green coffee prices — which have been sharply increasing since the summer of 2021 — we found ourselves getting creative. We wanted to shift and adapt without passing unnecessary price increases on to our customers. So we diversified our sourcing, buying additional lots from Peru and trying some lots from Mexico, a new-to-us origin.
We also switched up one of our evergreen blends, Morning Sun, to focus on quality while also holding down price. As a result, we've been really happy with how this blend is now tasting!
Looking forward, we anticipate the ongoing need for smart evolution and creativity. Though things in our industry are changing — perhaps for good — the impacts these changes will have on how we make and enjoy coffee hold lots of opportunities, too. We're excited to try new locations of origin this year, such as Brazil. We're thinking about the new combinations of ways our customers want to experience coffee in this new era, from the cafe environment to higher-quality home brewing equipment. We've found that our customers enjoy special, experimental, and adventurous processes, and we're looking forward to expanding upon those offerings. And we're looking forward to exploring even more ways to create joy through coffee in all our communities, all around the world.
Fun facts from our report
Did you know?...
- In 2022, the location of origin we purchased most from was Colombia. Runner up? Ethiopia.
- The average FOB (Free on Board) price we paid for coffee was $4.26. That's up from last year, when our average FOB was $4.15.
- Our honey-processed coffees were tasting really good last year, with some of our highest-scoring coffees produced by that method.
- The countries of origin that fetched our highest cupping scores were Burundi, Kenya, and the U.S.
For more information and deeper context, download the report. And if you have questions, please send us a message.
So pour a fresh cup, pull up a chair, and enjoy this year's report from all your friends here at Olympia Coffee!