Joe Van Gogh began in 1991 when owner Robbie Roberts opened the Cup A Joe coffeeshop and began roasting coffee beans in Raleigh. Since then, numerous additional shops have opened, some have been sold, the roastery has moved to a separate location in Hillsborough, and the company has rebranded as Joe Van Gogh.
Joe Van Gogh’s roasters and baristas are artisans, using all their senses to produce the best cup of coffee. They adjust the roasting process to fit each batch of beans based on its location of origin and the characteristics of the season. They blend coffees to allow different strains to complement each other.
The company forms relationships with its bean growers. Its website describes a grower as “a friend and a partner,” and growers are paid a fair trade price, which enables them to make improvements in their lives and communities. The farms listed include the CECANOR Co-op in Peru, which used income to improve roads, promote coffee quality control practices, provide pre-harvest credit to farmers during off-seasons, and employ healthcare professionals; the Cooperative Café Timor in East Timor, which has over 20,000 member families and has helped them improve their coffee production and opened health care clinics; and the Madan Plantation in Papua New Guinea, which provides steady employment and fair wages for over 400 employees and funds development projects such as building schools and offering free business education to adults.
Several of the farms are part of the Café Femenino Coffee Project, which pays female coffee growers a premium, over the fair trade price, that the women use to benefit their children and communities. The project began in 2004 and now includes over four thousand women in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and other coffee-growing countries. For example, the Nahualá Co-op in Guatemala used proceeds to attain organic certification, train members, fund scholarships, and start a reforestation project.
Joe Van Gogh’s Sea Turtle Blend benefits the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Beach (http://www.seaturtlehospital.org/). The center works to conserve and protect marine turtles and to educate the public. Joe Van Gogh developed the Sea Turtle Blend in 2009, inspired by a third-grader who visited the Center and founded her own sea turtle awareness program, Help them LAST: Love A Sea Turtle (http://loveaseaturtle.com/).
Learn more at http://www.joevangogh.com/.