Coffee Bean International® Introduces “Project Direct™”

Specialty Roaster Brings Direct Trade Coffee to Private Brands Nationwide
Publish Date: 
February 09, 2010

Coffee Bean International, the Portland-based specialty coffee roaster and wholesaler, announced today the launch of the direct trade program, “Project Direct.” Through Project Direct, Coffee Bean International works directly with farmers to achieve the mutually beneficial goal of paying higher prices for better quality coffee, directly improving coffee growers' farms, communities, and quality of life. The program now offers Coffee Bean International's private brand retail clients the opportunity to source coffees through these impactful buying relationships.

Direct trade is not a new concept in the coffee world, where micro-roasters have pioneered the practice, but the scale of Coffee Bean International's undertaking is unprecedented. Already, two major national retailers - Target® and The Fresh Market® - have added direct trade coffee to their private brand offerings.

The first Project Direct coffee is from the San Ignacio region of Peru. Working with over 20 independent coffee farmers- 90 percent of whom are growing organically-Coffee Bean International is setting coffee growing standards that will lead to the continued improvement of the coffee crop, while farmers receive between $0.40 and $1.00 per pound more than established fair trade prices. Coffee Bean International is working to establish direct trade relationships with growers in Nicaragua and Tanzania this year.

“The Project Direct program is a commitment by our company to improve the quality of life for farmers and to pursue the mutually beneficial goal of adding transparency and improving coffee quality,” says Patrick Criteser, president and CEO of Coffee Bean International. “This program elevates our company's long-standing partnerships with farmers to a higher level of commitment, and ensures our clients have access to the highest quality, sustainably sourced coffees available in the market.”

Now retailers' private brands can work with Coffee Bean International and offer their customers direct trade coffee. Because Coffee Bean International brings a micro-roaster's attention to quality to the final product, large regional and national retailers have access to the type of quality and innovation previously absent from the national brand scene.

“Our customers are interested in the story behind the products that they buy,” says Karen Stout, Vice President of Non-Perishables at The Fresh Market. “With Project Direct coffee, they can find that story - about the regions, the farms and about the sourcing practices.”

Coffee Bean International's Project Direct program adheres to seven guiding principles, focused on equitable trade practices, coffee quality, farm stability, sustainable growing practices and supply chain transparency, from farm to cup. For more information on Project Direct growers and the coffee, visit http://www.projectdirectcoffee.com/

About Coffee Bean International, Inc.

Founded in 1972, Coffee Bean International is a visionary coffee company in the heart of the Pacific Northwest. As one of North America's first roasters of specialty coffee, Coffee Bean International's unwavering commitment to hand-crafted quality and sustainable business practices has earned it both respect and a place among the coffee industry's premier roasters. The company's more than 2,000 active customers include many independent specialty coffee houses and prestigious larger, quality-oriented chains. Coffee Bean International operates out of a LEED® Silver certified roasting facility and invests in partnerships, direct trade and certification programs which support improving coffee quality and coffee growers' lives and communities world-wide. For more information, visit www.coffeebeanintl.com.