With the pandemic evolving into an endurable endemic, we’ve noticed that our farm-to-table dining directories have, once again, become popular. And with the easing of the pandemic, folks (in addition to seeking out a restaurant or café for a meal), can also now find and enjoy a perfect cup of coffee near home or while traveling by consulting our coffee directory, in addition to brewing up a cup at home.
Over the past decade, this useful coffee directory has grown to include 89 listings of coffee roasters, coffee shops and cafés that are committed to supporting fair and sustainable trade relationships for the benefit of coffee farmers and growers that sell the highest quality fair trade & organic coffee on the market. There are listings throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.
It’s little surprise that the state of Massachusetts has a disproportionate number of listings (seven of 89 listings in our coffee directory); some evidence that it deserves its recent naming as “the most educated state in American” in a new WalletHub study.
This WalletHub study compared all 50 states across 18 metrics. It’s also relevant to note the study’s finding that the Bay State has the fourth highest median annual household income. No question that it costs a consumer more to choose to purchase fair trade and organic coffee, but in this coffee drinker’s opinion, saving money on purchasing coffee becomes a lesser value when it means more risk to a sustainable environment, more risk to the health of the coffee farmers and laborers who spray pesticides on crops that are not grown organically, and insufficient income to maintain a decent living standard for those who grow and produce coffee.
One of the seven Massachusetts listings in our coffee directory is for Barrington Coffee Roasting Company (“Barrington Coffee”), located in Lee (Berkshire County), Massachusetts, which has been in operation for thirty years. Founded by two friends who met in college, according to Barrington Coffee’s website, Gregg Charbonneau started roasting coffee for a local coffeehouse during his college years.
A well-known artisanal coffee roaster for some time now, Barrington was one of only 18 of America’s leading food artisans celebrated in Rebecca Gray’s 2008 American Artisanal: Finding the Country’s Best Real Food, from Cheese to Chocolate.
On a recent visit to Barrington Coffee’s Roastery in the Berkshires, it was spirit-raising to see the on-going operation, which remains committed to its mission succinctly stated on its website:
The unifying thread that ties our coffees together is the exceptional quality they offer in the cup. They hail from the finest coffee farms in the world and come to exist first and foremost by virtue of the great effort and care that has been devoted to their production. We applaud the individuals that grow our coffees by paying generously for the fruits of their labor and singing their praises on our website. We believe that directly supporting quality driven producers is the ideal manner in which to promote sound, responsible growing practices, economic sustainability, and ultimately the best quality coffee.
A couple of years ago, Barrington Coffee closed its two cafés that it operated in Boston. A coffee importer and roaster, which sells its coffee beans over the internet, it’s like a substantial number of other coffee businesses included in our coffee directory that do not operate cafés. Although 53 listings of coffee businesses in the directory do operate coffee shops and cafés, the remaining 36 (like Barrington Coffee) do not and focus on selling coffee beans, with sales over the internet and some at their roastery operations as well.
Nonetheless, although Barrington Coffee does not operate its own cafés, it was easy enough to find one in the Berkshires that brews up for customers its coffees. In the Berkshires, Lenox Coffee operates a wonderful coffee café just off Main Street in Lenox (Berkshire County), Massachusetts, in the heart of that lively and beautiful tourist town. And besides brewing up Barrington coffees, Lenox Coffee also sells Barrington’s packaged coffee beans. In fact, Lenox Coffee’s Facebook page has a link to Barrington Coffee, showing it as the source for the coffee used in the café.
Similarly, other coffee roasters included in our directory which do not operate cafés, do sometimes offer information on where a brewed cup of their coffee can be obtained. For example, Café Mam, whose roastery is located in Eugene, Oregon, has a “Store Locator” tab which can be used to locate a store where its coffee is “sold by the bean” or “sold by the cup.”
(Frank W. Barrie, 5/21/22)