Hot off the (French) presses, we’ve got a new limited batch coffee for you to brew. For the story behind your sip, we chatted with Will Lochran, Thrive Market’s Food Product Innovator, to learn more about the benefits of single-origin beans, what you’ll taste, and how this batch directly affects farmers on the other side of the world.
The search for our beans started in Africa, a continent known for being one of the world’s largest coffee exporters. According to the World Economic Forum, Uganda and Ethiopia account for 62 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s coffee production.
“Uganda was our first stop,” Will said. “In general, African coffees are fruity, floral, and complex, and the country of origin effects flavor tremendously. The coffee we chose has really great sweetness and balance, but isn’t as floral as coffee from Ethiopia or as bright as coffee from Kenya. We also believe in the mission of organizations on the ground that help support local communities.”
“Buying this coffee gives our members the chance to invest directly in a product designed to help break the cycle of poverty.”
Thrive found a partner in The Kawacom Project, a fair-trade coffee cooperative that sources organic arabica beans directly from local farmers. “Buying this coffee gives our members the chance to invest directly in a product designed to help break the cycle of poverty,” Will said.
Providing access to international markets allows local communities to convert agricultural products into money. “Ultimately, this partnership creates jobs, provides training, and finances local growers to help them both build sustainable farming practices and improve the coffee quality. It impacts everyone’s lives.”
Over the years, the project has moved away from using toxic fertilizers in favor of organic practices, and became Rainforest Alliance Certified in 2015. An eco-friendly wet-mill processes the beans and provides easier water access, too (no more walking long distances!).
It’s good to be single (origin)
“The amazing thing about coffee is it’s such a personal, romantic product,” Will shared. Like wine and whiskey, coffee can pick up specific characteristics from the land. “Everything from the soil, to the growing process, to local environmental conditions all contribute to flavor.”
Geographically, the term single-origin can mean something as broad as the country or as specific as the name of a particular region. In our case, the beans are grown near Murchison Falls along the White Nile river, one of the two main tributaries flowing into the Nile. This narrow stretch of water is surrounded by plains that are home to diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife, as well as our farmers from the Alur tribe.
Die-hard single-origin coffee drinkers appreciate the unique flavors that arise from non-blended brews that are heavily influenced by individual regions. “Single origin brings very unique flavor profiles—it’s less acidic, there’s more citrus and nuttiness. It caters to people who enjoy coffee, plus you can really dig into where the product comes from and the story behind the beans. Because of that, there’s more transparency around where and how the beans are sourced.”
Wake up with flavor
Each bag contains medium- to light-roast arabica beans that, when brewed, have aromas of toasted almond, green tea, and vanilla. On the tongue, there are hints of caramel, citrus, and cocoa, and the creamy and silky texture is one to savor.
“There’s something about waking up in the morning and having an amazing cup of coffee that can really set your mood for the day. Knowing there’s a story behind that specific cup of coffee you’re drinking only adds to the experience for me,” Will said.