As a kid, I used to go to an organic farm weekly with my mother to pick fresh produce for our family’s use. Talking to the owners of the farm and seeing the hard work that was involved in providing us safe and fresh options for our consumption really impressed upon me the importance of buying local. Freshness, nutritional value and controlled production practices are important advantages … and not only does buying local help our farmers, it helps our economies.
Coffee beans do not grow locally…but they are roasted locally !
Instead of thinking locally grown coffee, think more locally roasted coffee. Roasting is the process by which coffee beans are transformed physically and chemically from a green coffee bean to a light, medium, or dark roasted bean.
In contrast with industrially roasted beans, locally roasted beans are fresher and are more flavorful. This is why many local coffee shops choose to roast their own beans right in the shop!
Local vs. Corporate
Coffee is one of the top traded commodities in the world and a top choice of beverage ESPECIALLY in the morning. Personally, I think the perfect way to start any day is by drinking a hand crafted frothy vanilla latte out of a generous mug while seated in a cozy and welcoming coffee shop. I feel good about supporting the businesses, their employees and the Greenville economy. On those days where time is seriously not a luxury, I actually feel guilty finding myself in the drive thru of Starbucks responding to the words, “May I take your order?” (Desperate times call for desperate measures.)
Competition between gourmet, local coffee shops and the popular chains Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts is tough. Both of these behemoths spend unimaginable amounts of money on clever marketing campaigns to create brand awareness and increase traffic into their well recognized stores.
Although, these major corporations have a pretty good grip on the grab and go markets, local stores are finding small ways to break through consumers loyalty. They are focusing on crafting their own “identity” with these characteristics:
- Quality over quantity! – Locally roasting techniques resulting in unique flavors of beans… and a fresher taste!
- Stick to the basics! – Although, a citrus mocha latte sounds interesting… not many people really want to throw down the money to experiment with exotic drinks. Local coffee shops focus more on the traditional Italian drinks and have created an identity known for expertly creating these classic drinks.
- Coziness is key! – While every Starbucks around the world has roughly the same look and feel, local coffee shops are all uniquely decorated and designed. They want their customers to enjoy a more “homie” atmosphere that encourages them to sit back and stay awhile.