Written by Jan Walsh
Photography by Robin Colter
I start each day with a cup of organic coffee with a touch of organic cream. Luckily, I don’t have to go far to find it. My organic coffee of choice is from Higher Ground Roasters, which is located here in Birmingham.
Higher Ground Roasters’ profits are earned from fair trade coffee, which ensures their growers are able to keep their family-owned farms and benefit from economic and educational programs. As they say at Higher Ground, “Every cup of Higher Ground is a vote for the rights of small-scale independent farmers who grow their coffee organically under the forest canopy.” Higher Ground Roasters’ goal is a completely sustainable business model. To offset their daily energy usage, they purchase wind power credits through renewable choice energy, which helps subsidize wind farms. Higher Ground roasts only specialty-grade coffee beans, the top 5 percent of the world’s harvest.
The company has also created partnerships with many nonprofits so that its customers can enjoy sustainable coffees from around the world while supporting the preservation of our local environment and local community organizations. My favorite coffee also supports a favorite nonprofit. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society Blend is a complex combination of Bolivian coffees. It is light and refreshing with a smooth and nutty aftertaste. Proceeds go to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, which promotes respect for life through education and prevention of cruelty to animals and people. They receive no city, county, state, or federal tax dollars and depend largely on the generosity of the public and foundations to help them meet the community’s needs. Other Nonprofit Partners Blends include those benefitting the Access Fund; Red Ribbon (AIDS Alabama); Alabama Environmental Council; River Roast; Alabama Rivers Alliance; Black Warrior Riverkeeper; Cahaba River; Fresh Water Land Trust; Jones Valley Urban Farm; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and the Literacy Council.
Higher Ground Roasters coffees can be found locally at Earth Fare, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, The Fresh Market, Western Supermarkets, and Whole Foods. They also sell coffee subscriptions delivered to your door at HigherGroundRoasters.com