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The truth is when you buy coffee at the grocery store, everyone suffers. 

Think about it, you're in the grocery store and are immediately faced with 50 different coffees. How can you avoid making the wrong selection? The reality is you're going to be bullied into a false choice; they are all the same bottom-of-the-barrel, burnt beans, packaged differently. You've done it before, so you know what I'm talking about. You'll be stuck drinking terrible coffee until it's gone. Do yourself a favor, walk toward the next item on your grocery list and stop at your local coffee bar on your way home. Set yourself up for success by having a morning coffee that makes you happy.

The problem is that large producers who sell in grocery stores are constantly lowballing coffee farmers; this drives down the price and quality. Grocery stores offer shelf space to local roasters like myself by providing exposure to their market. However, they compel them to sell coffee for lower than it's worth; this forces them to buy lower-quality beans. This system is a race to the bottom, and everyone loses. It also creates the opinion that local roasters are "expensive" because people are shielded from the actual cost of coffee. Also, good luck asking the shelf stocker or the deli counter for information on the coffee. At your local coffee bar, you can ask the barista that works with the coffee every day which one you should choose. 

Let me be honest with you about the whole process. 

If the minimum fair trade price of coffee from the farmer is $1.40USD per pound, you won't find any quality coffee for under $2.50USD per pound. Consequently, as the farm gets smaller and the quality gets higher, the price does too. We go well above the minimum price when sourcing coffee. We buy from small farms because we want quality coffee. We always purchase coffee priced higher than fair trade, often double, and pass that quality on to you. We also give you the best option by only roasting fresh coffee. We use current harvests rather than letting them sit for years. The stale coffee from older crops often ends up in the hand of companies looking for an attractive price point over quality. 

All the coffee you see at the supermarket will be at the low-quality end even if it's been priced higher on the shelf. At the grocery store, you're paying for marketing and convenience, not coffee. Due to the lack of care in distribution, the coffee on the shelf was roasted months ago. Also, you can be sure at some point, the beans were stalled in the distribution chain. They fool you with an arbitrary Best Before date on the package rather than the date the coffee was roasted. 

What makes us different is that our supply chain starts with brokers who are on the ground. They are at the farms year-round. The broker assesses the growing conditions and assists producers in ensuring their crops are secure. They make sure the sample beans we received in the past will meet our standards at harvest. 

Our coffee is immediately packaged the day it is roasted to avoid oxygen contact and aging. The coffee is labeled with the date it was roasted to give customers an accurate understanding of when they should use the coffee. 

We send web orders out every day, so you get the freshest coffee we have available. You won't find my coffee in the grocery store. You will find it at your local Toronto coffee shop; I wholesale beans to independent cafes in multiple neighborhoods. We send wholesale orders out weekly, so our wholesale partners are always stocked with a week's supply before receiving more fresh coffee again the following week. We are involved in every step of the process, from sourcing to importing to roasting and finally brewing the most chocolate, sweet, full-bodied coffee in Toronto. 

I hope that next time you are in the grocery store, you remember this advice. Think ahead, do your best. 

I hope to see you soon, 


Where to Buy Sam James Coffee Near You


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