Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Organic Fair-Trade Brew: Roastery Tour at Peace Coffee

I drink coffee every day, but I rarely think about where it comes from and what I’m actually putting into my body. That’s something we’ve been trying to change lately—we have been making an effort to learn where the products we buy and foods we consume come from and how they are produced. While it would be quite difficult to do this with everything in our lives, anytime we can make an effort to make more knowledgeable purchases is a step in the right direction.

Enter: Peace Coffee.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

I first learned about Peace Coffee when we were making a video for Tripfilms last summer—I love the mission behind the shop and had to learn more.

“Peace Coffee’s mission is to make exceptional-tasting, organic fair-trade coffee that sustains the livelihoods of the people who grow, roast, and sell it; preserves and protects the environment that produces it; and delights the taste buds of those who drink it.”

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

While browsing their website, I found the education section which lists training and tours, coffee recipes, coffee brewing guides and information on the exact farms and people who produce the beans for Peace Coffee. While the courses about brewing your own coffee both sounded interesting, I figured the best place to start was to hop on one of the roastery tours to learn more about Peace Coffee itself.

Tours of the roastery are offered a couple of times a month or so, and after months of conflicting schedules, I was finally able to find a date where we would be home, and I immediately booked us on a tour. Oh, and did I mention that tours are only $5 per person? Can’t get much better than that, in my opinion!

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The day finally came for our tour and we made our way to the Peace Coffee headquarters and roastery for our visit. Our tour started at 11 a.m.—we were on the second tour of the day and couldn’t wait to get some caffeine into our systems. And that’s precisely what we did. The tour started with our choice of two brews, and we had access to as many cups as we wanted throughout the tour. Micah started with the Morning Glory and I tried the Snowshoe Brew. Both were delicious although I think I preferred the Snowshoe Brew a bit more.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

After settling in with our coffee, we relaxed around a large table for introductions and a bit of basic coffee talk. We were lucky to have a small group of 7 on our tour—it’s always nice to have a more personal tour, but capacity maxes out at 20 so the groups never really get too large.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Next up, we made our way into the roastery to hear the story about how Peace Coffee was started as a “happy accident”, where and how the beans are produced and a bit about their mission to purchase and support organic fair-trade farmers who focus on sustainability. They try to create lasting partnerships with their farmers and communities of coffee growers around the world, and a portion of Peace Coffee’s profits support the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s programs that focus on “fostering sustainable food, farm and trade systems”.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

We also learned how the beans are farmed–the farms focus on shade grown beans as it is better for the beans and also allows the farmers to grow other crop yielding plants in the same fields, as well. If you’d like to know the exact farm where your coffee is grown, you can head to the “map my beans” section of the website to learn about the people and the places behind your cup of joe.  Once the beans are grown, they are picked and sorted by hand, and then shipped to the very facility we were standing in. The next step in the coffee process is to roast the beans, which also happens on-site. Peace Coffee has one main roaster for their large batches of beans, and there are several smaller roasters for smaller batches and orders.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Packaging also happens in the same room, another few steps away.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee not only focuses on sourcing coffee sustainably, but they also apply green and sustainable practices to their offices and roastery by setting up shop in the Greenway Office Building, which was created with careful consideration to green and sustainable designs. When it comes time to deliver the beans, anything within a 20 mile radius is delivered by bike with a trailer hitched to the back.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

We were able to learn all about the coffee making process from farm to shelf, but that brought some questions to my mind. First and foremost, how do they come up with the flavor profile of the coffee that you always see in the coffee description?

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Well, we were in luck because the next item on our itinerary was to do a bit of coffee tasting. We made our way to the official tasting room and learned that there are people who go through extensive training and certification to become a “Q Grader” which is essentially someone who has developed their palate to taste the smallest nuances in different varieties of coffee—almost like a Wine Sommelier.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Each of us had our own set up to get us started. We ground our beans and then poured hot water over the top, paying careful attention to soak every last ground in water.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The next step was to let the cups sit so a slight crust formed on the top. We then bent down over the cup and broke the top with our spoon, smelling as we stirred. Alternating between smelling the light and the dark coffee, we tried to pick out the various notes in each cup.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tasting the coffee was next, but first we had to scoop the foam from the top of the cups and let them sit so they could reach the proper temperature. While we waited, we discussed how to properly taste the coffee and a bit about the coffee wheel, which is a wheel that helps you narrow down the flavor profiles in a cup of coffee.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

To properly taste the coffee, you need to leave your manners at home—after scooping up a spoonful from our cups, we were directed to slurp the coffee in a powerful sip. We used the charts to see what flavors we could detect and alternated between the two coffees to taste the differences. It was interesting to learn that coffee grown in different regions of the world has different flavor profiles; some regions are citrusy while others have a nutty or chocolate flavor, for example.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

These variations and flavor profiles are used when describing a bean or when determining which beans to combine to achieve a blended coffee. By playing around with different combinations, you can create blends to match the seasons or really anything you’d like!

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The tour was a fantastic way to spend part of our Saturday morning. It lasted only 1.5 hours, but with all we learned and did, it felt like much longer—in a good way! Our guide packed so much information into the tour and we left with a new appreciation for the coffee we drink every day. We also left with two bags of coffee and coupons for a free cup in store, another added bonus to an already wonderful tour.

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Peace Coffee, Minneapolis, Minnesota

I absolutely love learning about how things are created, so it was fascinating to hear the story of how coffee is produced, from start to finish, and it was even better to learn all about Peace Coffee itself. Now I think I need to sign up for a brewing course so I can master the art of making the perfect cup of coffee at home!

Have you ever toured a coffee roastery or a coffee farm?

 

24 Comments
  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 15:40h, 24 February Reply

    how interesting! too bad I don’t like coffee but I’m sure Raul would totally enjoy that tour! he definitely enjoyed coffee tours in Colombia!
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…The Truth about the French and their PerfumesMy Profile

  • noel
    Posted at 17:17h, 27 February Reply

    I done both touring a farm and roaster especially here in Hawaii where there are many coffee farms, it’s fun exploring and also picking the bins and tasting the ripe fruit.
    noel recently posted…20 Free things to do in TokyoMy Profile

  • Katie
    Twitter:
    Posted at 20:48h, 27 February Reply

    This is a very cool experience, especially since I have recently become much more interested in my coffee as well. I’ve realized in the past few months how much quality beans, a fresh roast, and the correct brew change the taste of the coffee — no more instant crap for me! I also wonder about those flavor profiles – pretty cool that you were able to go through step by step to learn how to figure them out!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:00h, 01 March Reply

      It’s so interesting, isn’t it? I didn’t really realize how many different things could change the taste either. We did really love learning about the flavor profiles too–it was fun trying to pick out all the different tastes!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Skiing in a Snowstorm at Lutsen MountainsMy Profile

  • Rosemary
    Twitter:
    Posted at 02:08h, 28 February Reply

    What a cool tour ! Never done a coffee tour but always interested in learning more about the products I’m putting in my body. Hope we Peace Coffee makes it way to the U.S.

  • sabrina barbante
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:40h, 28 February Reply

    I love coffee and I can only imagine the coffee smell that was there during your tour! It would have made me so hungry (really). Thank you for sharing! Amazing pics.

  • Kathrin
    Twitter:
    Posted at 04:47h, 28 February Reply

    That’s really interesting! I’d love to learn more about coffee roasting and after reading your article I checked out the Peace Coffee website.. unfortunately, I don’t live in the States. Do you know of any good coffee roasteries in Europe by any chance?

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:52h, 01 March Reply

      It’s such an interesting process to learn about! Unfortunately I don’t know of any good coffee roasters in Europe, but I will let you know if I hear of any! Hope you can find some to visit–they are really fun to check out!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Skiing in a Snowstorm at Lutsen MountainsMy Profile

  • Alice Teacake
    Twitter:
    Posted at 07:48h, 28 February Reply

    $5 for a tour?! That’s awesome! I like it that you can ‘map’ your beans and your photos are wonderfully taken. I’m not so good with coffee thouugh.One cup is enough for me ><
    Alice Teacake recently posted…Solo Female Travel In Bangladesh: I Did It!My Profile

  • Carmen
    Twitter:
    Posted at 11:44h, 28 February Reply

    It’s always important to try to learn where products are coming from and how they are made so that we can collectively make sure we’re doing our jobs as concerned global citizens! It sounds like you learned a lot, and got to taste some delicious coffee while doing so!

  • Kate
    Twitter:
    Posted at 14:55h, 28 February Reply

    This looks like a great tour and a brilliant company. I prefer places that don’t just think of selling a product but have a purpose too. Sustainability and buying organic products is very important and hopefully farmers will get a living wage for what they are doing. Good for you supporting this place!

  • Lindsay Nieminen
    Twitter:
    Posted at 15:37h, 28 February Reply

    This looks like lots of fine! I am a member of a local wine club, i wish there was a coffee tasting club around too!
    Lindsay Nieminen recently posted…How to Travel without SavingsMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:43h, 01 March Reply

      A coffee club does sound like a lot of fun, and so does a wine one! Wonder if there is anything like that around where we live–will have to check it out. Thanks for the idea!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Skiing in a Snowstorm at Lutsen MountainsMy Profile

  • Robson Cadore
    Twitter:
    Posted at 01:39h, 29 February Reply

    Hey Guys!!
    What a great tour! I’m a coffee lover and addicted, this post is mouthwatering for me!!!
    I did a tour on a organic farm and learned how to pick and roast the beens, but we didn’t taste different blenders, your tour sounds more deep into the coffee making process! Love it!
    Robson Cadore recently posted…How Much Does it Cost to Travel in ThailandMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 01:36h, 01 March Reply

      It was a really great experience! The farm tour sounds like a lot of fun too–would be cool to learn how to pick the beans at the farm. Glad you enjoyed your experience, as well!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Skiing in a Snowstorm at Lutsen MountainsMy Profile

  • Cindy Hoffman
    Posted at 13:31h, 29 February Reply

    Hey there Jenna, I can say that you have made a really nice move to try and dig out more about your daily cup. It seems that you really had a good tour and I am sure that you learned a lot for things that you didn’t have an idea f before. I too got curious some times back and since I like traveling around the world, I decided to tour some of the best countries that produce coffee. I have visited some traditional roasters in Thailand and Ethiopia too. I am now planning to visit one of the Mojos to see the different processes they use.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy

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