[email protected], a coffee micro-roaster and direct-to-farmer cafe, will open two locations Thursday on the Auburn University campus, one at the Auburn University Hotel and the other at the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center.
The new venture is a joint venture between Thrive Farmers, Auburn University and Ithaka Hospitality.
[email protected] will sell coffee and teas from partner farmers around the world, and the culinary school will provide baked goods for sale in the shop.
“Partnering with Ithaka, which is just a preeminent hospitality name in the industry, and us working together to create this kind of experience for people to learn and for people to have fun too, is a powerful thing,” said Kenneth Lander, Co-Founder and Chief Sustainability Officer of Thrive Farmers.
“Who would have thought? Thrive started as a cafe in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and now we’re opening a micro-roaster and cafe at Auburn University.
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As part of the Rane Center, ThriveHere @ Auburn will also serve as a lab for hospitality students to learn more about the coffee business. Coffee Roasting will give students the chance to learn alongside Alex Brown, Cafe Manager for [email protected] Students will learn about growing and sourcing coffee, the roasting process, and how to become a barista.
“We can’t be grateful enough for the opportunity to be a part of this program,” Lander said. “It’s unique, I think, and it’s something that I think will set the stage to put farmers at an even greater point of connection with an industry that really, really appreciates its coffee.”
Lander, himself a coffee farmer in Costa Rica for 17 years, started Thrive Farmers alongside his business partner Michael Jones in 2011.
“It started with a cafe with a small Diedrich roaster in Monteverde, Costa Rica,” Lander said, “and now we’re going to have a bigger Diedrich roaster that’s big and orange in the culinary science center with a nice cafe. attached to it.”
Thrive Farmers strives to connect farmers directly to consumers. According to Lander, farmers in developing countries are becoming actors all the way down the supply chain. The company currently partners with 1,000 farmers in this chain. The majority of the coffee is sourced from Central and South America, but the company also has coffee and tea partnerships in Africa and Asia.
“When we roast coffee in Auburn, we also share the real end benefits of the value chain,” Lander said. “So that they [the farmers] are paid a higher stable and predictable price that is not based on this crazy market that goes up and down all the time, but on a relationship with Auburn University, a relationship with Ithaka’s hotel partners, a relationship with the people who will enjoy these coffees on a daily basis.