Coffee Exchange is more than your basic classic neighborhood café. Inside, - and on the large deck outside - our tables are full almost every day, the lines are "out the door" but moving faster all the time, the music's playing, and the alluring aroma of our "Just Roasted" coffee fills the air. Every day, we roast our own coffee in our Wickenden Street café in small batches to make those artful adjustments that keep specialty coffee special.
Organic agriculture pretty much defines "Sustainability." Bill and Charlie Fishbein, and their parents, Mel and Rose, started Coffee Exchange in Providence, RI in 1984. In 1988 - around the time Bill Fishbein was founding Coffee Kids - there were only two or three organic coffees available for sale. Coffee Exchange proudly purchased and served these organic coffees, even though the prices were higher – and the reputation lower – than conventionally grown coffee.
As great tasting organic coffee became more available over the next twenty years or so, so did Coffee Exchange's commitment to purchase and roast as much high grown, organic Arabica coffee as we could find. Today, more than 95% of the coffee roasted at Coffee Exchange is Organic. Coffee Exchange has always been a leader by supporting the organic movement. By preserving and enriching the environment in which they work and raise their families, organic farmers act responsibly by not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. They are protecting the land, air and waterways of their community as well as the future health of their families.
Whenever possible, we buy and roast Organic coffee. We are committed to better coffee, both in terms of flavor and the social, environmental and physiological health of the communities where the coffee is grown and of the people who grow, care for and harvest the crop.
Coffee Exchange has also been a leader in supporting the Fair Trade process and roasting Fair Trade coffees. The Fair Trade movement uses a market approach and social conscience to promote global change through consumer support. Coffee farmers' low prices result from financial manipulations by traders and speculators in London and New York, and an international system that guarantees low pricing standards and predetermined "differentials," not on the quality of the coffee farmers' harvest or the taste of their coffee.
Fair Trade ensures that farmers receive a fair price – a price that is set higher than global market conditions for commodities would normally dictate. It also endures that the independently run small-farmer cooperative receives assistance in organic and sustainable agriculture, pre-financing for their coffee, educational assistance, and assistance with infrastructure improvements, especially during that time between harvests, when the farmer is forced to sell off some of his "futures" to "coyotes" at distressed prices.
Coffee Exchange is a proud supporter of Cooperative Coffees, a green coffee importing cooperative comprised of 24 community-based coffee roasters in the US and Canada. Cooperative Coffees is committed to building and supporting equitable and sustainable trade relationships for the benefit of farmers and their exporting cooperatives, their families, and their communities. Cooperative Coffees strives to promote Fair Trade and sustainable development alternatives in both the North and the South, while continuing to sell the highest quality coffee on the market.
Coffee Exchange is also committed to finding sources of shade-grown coffee - coffee grown without clear-cutting rain forest, preserving desperately needed habitat for many endangered species. Coffee plants originally evolved to thrive beneath the lush canopy of tropical forests, not in sun-exposed fields. Small-scale coffee growers have long benefited from shaded farms. When sown in the shade of healthy forests, coffee plants require relatively little care and can coexist with fruit trees and other shade-tolerant crop-yielding plants like bananas, cashews, macadamia nuts, and bamboo – providing other sources of income for farmers. Perhaps best of all, shade-grown coffee is produced in healthy forests that are important to stabilize climate change and that are home to hundreds of plant and animal species.
There is a special place in our collective heart for the soul of the coffee industry: Coffee Kids. Coffee Kids is an international non-profit organization founded in 1988 by Bill Fishbein, co-owner of Coffee Exchange. The mission of Coffee Kids is to improve the quality of life for children and families who live in coffee-growing communities in Mexico, Central and South America.
The fundamental formula: ask the members of a coffee growing community what their problems are. Then ask how we can help them solve their problems. The answer to the first is almost always "all we have is coffee. We have no other means of making a living." Because of this fact, the price their coffee can command is almost guaranteed to be too low to support a family.
By creating programs that are locally-directed, community-based, and founded on the principles of sustainability, Coffee Kids helps to reduce dependency on coffee as the sole source of income. Coffee Kids provides women with access to low-interest credit to begin or improve their own small businesses, outside of coffee. In addition, scholarships have been awarded to hundreds of students in from coffee growing communities. Coffee Kids works to educate consumers and coffee-related businesses about the prevailing conditions in coffee-growing communities and enlists their financial support for its programs.
Swing by the Coffee Exchange on New Year's Day! We'll be hosting our annual Fundraiser and Silent Auction to benefit The Coffee Trust. The Coffee Trust, founded...
In a follow up to the presentation, Coming Back from the Brink, at the Mid Atlantic / New England coffee conference, Arcadio Galindo from Asociacion Chajulense...
Join us for our 26th Annual New Year’s Day (2016) Fundraiser... FundraiserTo benefit The Coffee Trust’s La Roya Recovery Project“La Roya” (Sp. “Rust”)...