Firestorm Cafe & Books
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Mon thru Fri 8am - 6pm | Sat 10am - 6pm | 48 Commerce St, Asheville NC (view map)

A Dangerous New Partnership

February 21st, 2012

Firestorm Cafe & Books is thrilled to announce the launch of a new partnership with fellow worker-cooperative Equal Exchange, the oldest and largest Fair Trade coffee company in the United States. Please join us on Monday, February 27th for a celebration, including free coffee all day.

We've been told for years that we serve some of the best coffee and espresso in town, so we don't take a change in beans lightly (no pun intended). Although Equal Exchange, a company firmly rooted in social movement, seemed like a natural choice for us philosophically, we spent nearly twelve months exploring the potential partnership, during which time we researched their business practices, sampled a wide array of their roasts and twice met with representatives from their cooperative. What we found was extremely exciting.

Equal Exchange

Founded with the goal of fostering a Fair Trade movement with teeth, Equal Exchange has been an unwaivering ally of small farmer co-operatives and sustainable farming around the world. Our new cooperative partners operate a market network of over two million producers, workers, investors, merchants, activists and consumers. Over the years they have used this standing to publicly speak out against agricultural child trafficking, push back against attacks on the organic certification standard and, most recently, take a lead role in opposing the dilution of the Fair Trade standard by domestic certifier Fair Trade USA.

But what about the beans? We know that all the values in the world won't make weak coffee taste strong at 7:30am on a Monday morning. We've got great news! You are going to love our new taste. Equal Exchange employs strict quality control, working on site with producers to develop rigorous cultivation standards while cupping each coffee throughout the production process. In fact, the average coffee roast will have been cupped by members of the Equal Exchange QC team 70 times before it arrives in your mug. Thanks to the work of our new partners, we're able to offer a house French Roast with a flavor profile familiar to our long-term patrons and, for the adventurous, a rotating light or medium roast from Equal Exchange's prestigious 61 Beans program.

Equal Exchange was recently named one of the world's "Most Democratic Workplaces" by WorldBlu and, like us, has publicly supported the #Occupy movement. It seems only fitting then that we should announce this partnership in 2012, a year that is being promoted by the United Nations and major cooperative federations as the International Year of the Cooperative. Please join us on Monday, February 27th to sample our new roasts and join the conversation!