Posts in Sourcing
Sourcing and Why It Matters

Brief Update

Where to begin? We received our first order of beans from the Hingakawa Women's Association (more on them later), Jon has been up to his eyeballs in beans roasting over the past two weeks, I've been in discussions with some incredible potential partners, we purchased a new roaster, started with a great wholesale client, sleep has been harder to come by, and we're loving it! The feeling of controlled chaos I mentioned in this post has become both more controlled and chaotic at the same time. It's kind of like raising a kid or pet. You learn how to handle what they throw at you as it happens. But as soon as you figure one thing out they pull something new out of left field to throw your way. It definitely keeps us on our toes.

Community In Coffee

As I have mentioned in other posts, Mark Smesrud and Purple Door Coffee taught me how not to compromise the standards of a high quality product while still cultivating true, lasting growth in their employees. Parallel to that Scott Byington, the owner of Queen City Collective Coffee, has been instrumental in opening my eyes to the beauty and necessity of creating community through coffee every step of the way from sourcing to storefront. When I say community I mean relationships that are ongoing and real. I'm not talking about slapping a fair trade sticker on a bag then making one trip to a farm and taking some pictures to post online or put in your store. Scott has been integrally involved with farms around the world helping get their products to roasters in the US while also assisting them to improve their products and increase their own profits. He also knows that to truly help farmers and their communities we cannot just helicopter in at our leisure with good intentions. We have to listen: listen to who they are, the roads they've walked in life, what they need for their farms, what they need for their children and communities, and listen to what is most effective for us to do in their eyes, not our own. What works well here may be ineffective, or actually destructive, somewhere else. Because as much as we think we know, we don't know much.


Scott has spent a considerable amount of time in Rwanda where the Hingakawa ("let's grow coffee") Women's Association is located. Oh Hingakawa, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Seriously, they are incredible. Scott has a close relationship with the person instrumental in building the farming network there to be what it is today. Many of the women who work with this farm, and another smaller one called Dakundakawa ("we love coffee"), lost loved ones and family members during the Rwandan genocide. Hingakawa has been incredibly effective at providing restoration and sustenance for these women and their children. Not only does it provide work and income, there is also a system in place that allows the women to cultivate the land around the farms to produce more income for their communities to use at their discretion for essential needs. As amazing and impactful as this is, the amount of revenue generated by coffee only goes so far. We're working to build a relationship with these ladies that best benefits them both as individuals and collectively in their communities. I'll write more on this as it develops and we'll have their beans available in our online store within the next couple weeks. Can't wait for you all to try them!

Learn More

These are a couple great reads from The Perfect Daily Grind on sourcing methods that explain what relational, direct trade, fair trade, and actually are.     

Micro Roaster? Here's What Producers Want You To Know.    

How Roasters Can Build Good Relationships With Farmers

This one is written by Torch Coffee and provides more info on Hingakawa.

The Story of Hingakawa Women's Coffee




Overdue Update

Good grief, where to begin? We began this blog to chronicle what happens with Bridge City Coffee as it is being built. The point being to accomplish something fairly unique in that the outcome of what we are trying to accomplish is still unknown and we are updating you on things as they occur. You can read more about that in this post here. Since we began, this is the first major thing to happen that we hadn't been planning on. 

Since I last wrote we wrapped up our first big wholesale order, a potential collaboration with a really cool business in our roasting space is in the works, I’ve experienced a death in the family and had multiple family members with serious health issues, we decided to not open the shop right now and instead ramp up our roasting and mobile operations, which is a great thing, Jon and his wife took a trip to Iceland, my wife finally moved here permanently from Denver, and we’re going to start working with an all female farm from Rwanda...I think that covers most of the major reasons I haven’t written for much longer than anticipated. Oh yeah, and Game of Thrones has been incredible. 

During our last entry we were moving forward with opening the shop and things were trending in a good direction to do so. That trend continued. However, we realized that if we opened the shop now it would require us to spread ourselves very thin risking the quality of what we want to do for quantity. It was a difficult decision to make given how much both Jon and I, but more so myself, want to open a shop. To be clear, it is in no way a decision to not open a shop at all. Rather, given the unique model we are building, we are postponing it until our operations and finances are more established and fine-tuned.  Business growth is a tricky thing. Grow too fast and often the intended identity of your business is compromised. As a result, the mission, core values, and culture are never truly established the way you originally believed they should have been. Conversely, if you grow too slowly and avoid taking any chances you run the risk of not growing your customer base or income enough to make it to the next level. 

If our goal was simply to make money and grow a brand, opening the shop now would have made sense; but we want to do more than that, much more. To impact people’s lives – our employees, the farms we source from, partner organizations in the community, and of course our customers – our growth will have to be more calculated and steady. If you know me, this is something completely contrary to my preferred mode of operating and honestly quite difficult to do. But here we are walking down the path we’ve chosen at the first big fork in the road for Bridge City. It definitely won’t be the last big decision we have to make, but there is always more weight and gravity that come along with first of anything – the first day of high school or college, the first year of marriage, realizing the kid you just had isn’t going away for at least another 18 years, deciding to bend the knee to Daenerys, or any number of other big decisions. I'll write more about what our operations will look like focusing on roasting and pop-up events in the next post, which will be sometime next week.