We love brands with amazing stories and this is definitely one of them. Since its creation in the 1970′s, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting has been a unique coffee company. The founders, Colleen Crosby and Bronson Baker, were a young couple who took leave of absences from UC Santa Cruz to pursue their love of coffee. During a time when people drank coffee without noticing the nuances in the taste, Crosby and Baker sought to educate their customers on the different subtle qualities that coffee could portray if roasted with care.
After opening their roasting shop in 1978, they young couple soon created a “BrewBar”, where customers could experience individually-dripped coffee – the best coffee Santa Cruz had to offer. For the next 20 years Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting continued to grow and spread, thriving comfortably among coffee loving hippies in Santa Cruz.
With the turn of the century came the rising fair trade movement. People began questioning the ethical practices involved in how our food, clothing, and electronic products were made, and coffee took a spot in the limelight. Embracing the movement, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting became the first licensed Fair Trade coffee roasting company on the central Californian coast in 2000. By this time Crosby and Baker had married and had a daughter, Sarah, but family life didn’t slow their dedication to providing Santa Cruz with the best coffee could offer, and the couple decided to continue improving their coffee from a different approach.
Having already perfected the roasting stage of making coffee, the family decided to go above and beyond to perfect the entire coffee making process. Rather than just settling with a “Fair Trade” label on their cups, the family began traveling to the coffee farming families they were buying their coffee beans from. Crosby and Baker wanted to ensure that they knew their coffee business intimately, from the families growing the beans to the beans themselves. Over the next few years they established personal relationships with all of their coffee farmers in Central America, South America, and Africa, ensuring that all of the workers involved in the process of creating the perfect cup of coffee had fair wages and working conditions.
Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting is proof that exquisite taste shouldn’t be compromised by things that happen “behind the scenes”. What might appear to be the best tasting cup of coffee could in fact be poisoned by workers being treated unfairly or environmental degradation. The greatest cup of coffee in the world is one composed of coffee beans handled by hands receiving wages that allow for happy, healthy lives. In the same way, the best businesses in the world are the ones created by people who know their business intimately, from the creative seed that enters the soil to every flower and leaf on the full grown plant it becomes.
Ayja is a recent Santa Clara University graduate who double majored in Environmental Studies and Music and minored in Creative Writing. She grew up in Sandy, Utah, and spent her childhood skiing, rock climbing and hiking in the Wasatch Mountains. Now living in Palo Alto, California, Ayja spends her free time reading, writing, running, and researching sustainable efforts around the world. She’s passionate about sustainable agriculture, international development, and environmental education, and hopes to combine her passion for writing with her love of nature and travel.