Coffee lovers are a loyal bunch. When they find their perfect brew, their perfect cup of joe, they will go out of their way to make sure that favorite roast is in their cup every time. Now, thanks to Higher Ground Roasters, coffee aficionados can have their perfect cup while knowing their brew is hand roasted, environmentally friendly and sustainable. It’s not often that the company that supplies one of your guilty plasures is also highly committed to eco-consciousness. It’s no surprise that once customers try Higher Ground, they won’t want to pour just any old brew into their cup ever again.
When co-owners Alex Varner, Josh Kelly and Glenn Smith opened Higher Ground in 2002, their main goal was to offer perfectly roasted coffee after experiencing dissatisfaction with the quality of some other roasting companies. The fact that they didn't yet know how to hand roast coffee didn’t deter them, either. In fact, as some of the only self-taught roasters around, they have been praised for their roasting skill and were even awarded Roast Magazine’s “Micro Roaster of the Year” award in 2007. But having the best roasted coffee wasn’t enough, especially for environmentally-minded Josh Kelly. Going the extra mile meant making coffee that was 100% fair trade and organic, making sure the coffee beans they purchased were shade grown, and making sure their new livelihood had plenty of avenues to give back locally and globally.
Working to provide a completely eco-friendly and sustainable coffee product meant doing things a little differently from other roasters. Incorporating environmentally friendly practices into their operations was an important part of the process for Higher Ground. The company uses 100% recycled or eco-friendly materials and corn plastics where possible, plus they use special afterburner on their roaster that reduces the emissions by 98%! Waste is donated to a local organic farm for composting. Every environmental measure is an extension of the company’s philosophy and commitment to the environment, but this coffee company goes further still in their efforts to run a sustainable business.
The coffee that Higher Ground roasts can only be as good as the beans the company buys. Knowing this, they committed early on to shade grown coffee beans, which benefit the native lands they are grown in. All Higher Ground beans are also grown without chemicals or fertilizers. Not only does this provide a better product, but it also gives the native coffee farmers the chance to support themselves and their families on a living wage in areas such as Bolivia, Sumatra and Guatemala. Higher Ground gives back right here in the United States as well. They are a member of 1% For the Planet, with 1% of their profits donated to environmental causes. They also offer special non-profit coffee blends that bring a 10% profit return on each bag to organizations such as the War on Hunger and the Applachian Trail Conservancy.
For a coffee that is fresh, organic and consistent, it’s hard to go wrong with Higher Ground. In fact, to assure that all their coffee products are as fresh as possible, the company always roasts and ships their product on the same day so that the coffee doesn’t sit for too long before heading into customers’ coffee cups. It’s just one more way Higher Ground shows their commitment to their original mission: to provide the freshest coffee, perfectly roasted and sustainable. Any coffee lover looking to fall in love at first sip can appreciate that.