• Thrive Bar & Kitchen

Why we love our organic coffee beans supplier at Thrive

Long before we opened our doors last August, we were scoping out the best organic and sustainable products to serve up to you at Thrive.

One of our first stops was our coffee beans. The lines of sustainability and ethics are blurred when it comes to coffee production around the world, so we knew we had to go with a supplier that cared.

After a lot of looking and tasting a lot of beans… We settled on Union Coffee.

Union was born in 2001, after owners Steven Macatonia and Jeremy Torz. After visiting Guatamala and experiencing the local coffee trade on the ground, the guys realised that they had to go further than just subsidies for farmers.

From that point on, Union’s goal was to make sure workers producing coffee received a living wage and their beans became a true, sustainable development.

Where Union source their coffee from around the world

The impact on the farmer

Union pays their farmers differently to other companies.

They provide ‘pre-financing’: negotiating fixed prices, agreeing contracts of sale and advancing payment for the coffee so farmers can cover their costs during the harvest.

This enables them to plan and budget for the season ahead.

And on average, a farmer working with union receives a price for their coffee that’s 50 per cent above the minimum Fairtrade price.

This was massive for us in terms of ethics. We needed to know that the amazing coffee our customers would be enjoying at Thrive wasn’t at the detriment to the farmers who were providing it.

But what we love most about Union is that they have people on the ground. Visiting farmers. Actively helping them get the most out of their businesses.

They have Sustainable Sourcing Managers who visit farmers regularly to conduct audits on their accounts. They also hold interviews at the farms to identify any issues and help the farmers resolve them if they need to.

The environmental impact

Did you know that climate change is coffee’s biggest long-term threat?

Rising temperatures, increasing weather volatility, increased prevalence of pests, and disease associated with climate change all contribute to lower yields and lower quality, with a damaging effect on farmers' livelihoods.

Without action the global area suitable for coffee production is predicted to decline by 50 per cent by 2050, and yet demand is expected to double.

When we found out these figures, we knew we needed to go with a supplier that was actively seeking to lessen the environmental blow that comes with producing coffee.

Union have invested in a Loring roaster in their microroastery which can reduce the energy consumption by up to 80% compared to other roasters. It uses a single burner for both roasting and incinerating the smoke created during roasting.

This means when Union roasts its beans, there’s no need for a separate afterburner to burn off that smoke.

Union also take these vital steps to reduce their environmental footprint:

  • All their cartons and shipping packaging are made from recyclable, FSC-certified materials and are printed with vegetable ink.

  • All their coffee bags are constructed from Paper/Aluminium/ PET/PE. At Thrive, we've partnered with Changeworks Recycling, so every bag that comes from Union is recycled properly.

  • All Union's print materials are made from recyclable, FSC-certified materials.

  • All of the coffee grounds from their barista training facilities are recycled into bio fuel.

So next time you drop in for a coffee at Thrive, remember you're supporting the following conditions for coffee farmers:

All images: https://unionroasted.com/