On November 29th, the Lafayette community got together to get a taste of our new coffee roaster – figuratively and literally. While getting seated, they got to taste-test a few coffee blends, swishing them in their cups for a raw aroma without the cream and sugar. Keith Lemnios, CEO and founder of Sun Coffee Roasters presented on how and why he started his company, and how the sustainable fair trade coffee industry affects workers and our climate. You can find Sun Coffee Roasters brewing in Gilbert’s Cafe and Lower Farinon.

Coffee cherries – yes, they’re red berries when picked! – are harvested by hand, an exhausting process done in thick rainforest. This work is done in poverty-stricken areas by those who, when not working for sustainable coffee industries, are paid little if at all. Sun Coffee Roasters, however, sources their beans from certified Organic, Rainforest, and Fair Trade cooperatives. Keith has visited the harvesting sites, meeting with workers and their families. Aside from social and economic sustainability, Sun Coffee Roasters uses a variety of environmentally-friendly processes: eco-friendly packaging, an energy efficient roasting process that doesn’t scald the beans, and even using the coffee ‘chaff’ (by-product of roasting) for mulch.

Students from History 238 studying the history of coffee, tea, and yerba mate, made it to the talk. So did foodies, social justice advocates, environmentalists, and coffee-lovers alike.