This Average Joe: review of Sun Coffee Roasters Sumatran blend

Posted on Fri, Feb 10, 2012
Watch the video review here.

Organic coffee market tops $1.4 billion in North America, new survey shows

Posted on Tue, Jun 15, 2010

Defies recession, grows faster than conventional coffee sector

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NEW YORK CITY, New York — The North American organic coffee market topped 1.4 billion dollars in 2009, according to new data released today by leading market analyst Daniele Giovannucci at the fifth annual tasting event hosted by the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), at New York City's famous Union Square Cafe. The event featured outstanding organic coffees from foremost American roasters and retailers. Even in a recession, Giovannucci found, organic coffee continued its reign as the single most valuable organic product imported into North America.

The Collaboration features leading firms from Vermont to California and from Florida to Canada. Participants include: Beantrees Organic Coffee Company (Sacramento, CA), Caffe Ibis (Logan, UT), Chiapas Farms (Austin, TX), Elan Organic Coffee (San Diego, CA), Control Union Certifications (Plantation, FL) Equator Estate Coffees & Teas (San Rafael, CA), Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters (West Chester, PA), Green Mountain Coffee (Waterbury, VT), S&D Coffee (Concord, NC), Sun Coffee Roasters (Plainville, CT), and Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company (Burnaby, BC, Canada). From sourcing coffees at origin to roasting, decaffeinating, and brewing them, these participants represent the full organic coffee supply chain spectrum.

According to Giovannucci's North American Organic Coffee Industry Report 2010, more than 93 million pounds of organic coffee were imported into the United States and Canada in 2009.

Giovannucci, the world's most respected authority on the topic of sustainability, notes "The 4.1 percent growth of the organic coffee market this past year is an important achievement for a higher priced product during a recession and when much of the conventional coffee industry has been stagnant." The average annual growth rate of 21 percent for organic coffee documented by Giovannucci in the five years from 2004 to 2009 dwarfs the estimated one percent annual growth of the conventional coffee industry.

"It's not surprising that demand for organic coffee is growing. Consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about the attributes of organic coffee—its benefits not only to the environment and health but also to the livelihoods of the farmers who produce it," according to OTA's Executive Director Christine Bushway.

The report, available from the Organic Trade Association, reveals not only the origins, volumes and prices of organic coffee but also the trends that shape the markets for these and other coffees certified to Bird Friendly, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ CERTIFIED, and Starbucks' C.A.F.E. Practices standards.

Recent data from the Organic Trade Association's 2010 Organic Industry Survey indicate that U.S. sales of organic products, including food and non-food, reached $26.6 billion by the end of 2009, growing an impressive 5.1 percent over 2008 sales, compared to 1.5 percent for conventional industry's sales growth.

Organic coffee equals quality coffee. According to the results of Cup of Excellence cuppings coordinated by the U.S.-based Alliance for Coffee Excellence, organic coffees were among the winning farms in five countries in 2009: Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In fact, the highest ranking attained all year was for organic coffee from the Bolivian farm Agrotakesi SA, earning 93.96 points, more than a full point above the next highest ranking coffee that year.

Union Square Cafe, which has earned Zagat Survey's #1 ranking as New York's Most Popular Restaurant for an unprecedented eight years, is one of the many restaurants and other food establishments across the U.S. offering organic coffees to their discriminating clientele.


Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials with low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, avoid the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic farmers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Organic coffee is grown in approximately 40 countries.

The Organic Coffee Collaboration - a project of the Organic Trade Association, the business association for the North American organic industry, includes:

BEANTREES ORGANIC COFFEE: In 1994, Beantrees brought "ultra-premium" to the organic coffee market. "Brew what you believe®" is its credo and compass. Beantrees continues to elevate standards for taste, integrity, service and style. Its client roster includes Yahoo!, Live Nation, NRDC, Aerosmith, Sundance, Table 52, The Police, and the Cannes Film Festival.

CAFFE IBIS: An award-winning "green business," Caffe Ibis is a custom coffee roasting house featuring triple certified— organic, Fair Trade, and Smithsonian Shade Grown "Bird-Friendly®"— coffees, mountain grown, mountain roasted. Caffe Ibis® also operates a celebrated gallery/deli-licious espresso bar. University franchise, private label, equipment programs, monthly specials, and consulting services are available.

CHIAPAS FARMS: Café de Chiapas coffee from Chiapas Farms is grown in the southern highlands of Mexico. Roasted in small batches, each cup delivers a nutty, buttery taste with a smooth, slightly sweet finish. Buy its whole-bean organic/Fair Trade dark and medium roasts in Texas retailers and online.

CONTROL UNION: Control Union is a leading international certification body with offices in more than 50 countries. In the coffee industry, Control Union offers numerous certification programs including organic, UTZ Certified, and Fair Trade. With two offices in the U.S. and more than 2,000 professionals worldwide, it offers quality inspections and certifications.

ELAN ORGANIC COFFEES: Elan Organic Coffees is a coffee developer and importer offering certified organic socially responsible and Bird Friendly® coffees developed through partnerships with village co-ops in coffee-producing countries. Elan has pioneered the supply of the world's finest certified organic coffees, while supporting farmers and protecting the environment.

EQUATOR ESTATE COFFEES & TEAS: Equator is known for its distinctive specialty coffees, socially responsible sourcing, and long-standing relationships with prominent chefs and national retailers passionate about quality. The women-owned company procures exceptional certified organic coffees from farmers who practice environmental stewardship, resulting in an empowered supply chain from crop to cup.

GOLDEN VALLEY FARMS COFFEE ROASTERS: Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters is a family-owned and operated artisan coffee roaster. It specializes in high quality, organic, Smithsonian Institution Bird-Friendly®-certified shade grown coffees. Its coffee is sold at convenience stores, offices, restaurants, online, and at the National Zoo.

GREEN MOUNTAIN COFFEE: Green Mountain Coffee is recognized as a leader in the specialty coffee industry for its award-winning coffees and environmentally and socially responsible business practices. Green Mountain Coffee offers a broad selection of double-certified organic and Fair Trade coffees under the Green Mountain Coffee® and Newman's Own® Organics brands.

ORGANIC TRADE ASSOCIATION (OTA): OTA was founded in 1985 as the membership-based business association for the North American organic industry. OTA's mission is to promote and protect growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA's approximately 1,400 members include farmers, processors, importers, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more.

S&D COFFEE: S&D is the second largest coffee roaster in the U.S. and supplies both conventional and organic coffees. The company feels strongly about fostering sustainable agriculture and promoting a healthy planet. Quality Assurance International (QAI) certifies S&D's six organic coffees sold under the Buffalo & Spring label.

SUN COFFEE ROASTERS is an organic and Fair Trade roaster operating according to the credo of social consciousness, environmental responsibility, and great taste. Its coffees are sold at Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Big Y, and other Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island retailers. It also private labels coffees for numerous Northeast colleges.

SWISS WATER DECAFFEINATED COFFEE COMPANY uses a wholesome process for decaffeinating coffee - 100% chemical free, organically certified. It now offers improved quality with bean color more similar to the green for easier roasting, and higher retention of chlorogenic and amino acids for better in-cup performance. The SWISS WATER® seal is trusted by premium roasters and decaf coffee drinkers.

For more information on the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association, see

Sun Roaster: Not Just a Glowing Tan

Posted on Fri, Apr 09, 2010
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Image courtesy of via CT GreenScene

Plainsville has bragging rights on organic fair trade thanks to the Sun Coffee Roasters company. Since last April, they’ve grown their coffee company through a bad economy. While other industries felt the sting of a sinking Dow, organic fair trade has seen growth. That’s largely due to two main reasons: Investors willing to secure their excess cash in an upstart instead of a volatile financial market and, well, a bunch of college kids.

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Food, wine tasting on tap

Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 2010

WILTON, Conn. — A food and wine tasting will be presented by Ambler Farm on Thursday, Feb. 25, from 7 to 9. Hors d'oeuvres made from local and organically grown ingredients and a variety of organic wines will be available. Experts from Cellar XV, Wave Hill Breads, and Sun Coffee Roasters will be on hand.

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Coffee roaster brings social conscious to the job

Posted on Sun, Feb 14, 2010

PLAINVILLE, Conn. — That cup of coffee that you had this morning might have been processed right here in town. Sun Coffee Roasters, located in a non-descript office building on Northwest Drive, has quietly operated here since April 2009, when Keith Leminos started the coffee company with a social conscious.

"I wanted to have a coffee company and do the right thing for plantation owners and farm workers," he said. "While we also provide traditional coffee products, our expertise lies in the organic fair trade arena. The market for organic and fair trade coffee has grown exponentially in the past few years."

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Sun Coffee picks up Steam

Posted on Tue, Feb 09, 2010
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Image via Wilton 2010

WILTON, Conn. — A new company is roasting and selling high quality, specialty coffee with a social conscience. Sun Coffee Roasters was founded on “principles of social consciousness and environmental responsibility and sells organic, fair trade coffees,” said Wiltonian Charlie Ciaccio, a partner and vice president of sales.

“It also has great taste. It’s premium coffee,” he said.

The coffee company, which is based in Plainville, was officially launched in April, but has begun to expand. In December, the company started to sell its 20 unique blends to Stop & Shop supermarkets throughout the Northeast, including the Wilton store.

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Plainville Coffee Company Delivers Kick With A Conscience

Posted on Fri, Feb 05, 2010
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A Plainville startup company is hoping that college students' environmental concerns will translate into sales for its organically grown, fair-trade coffee.

Since last year, Sun Coffee Roasters has been pitching its coffee beans to colleges and universities after market research showed that students consume gallons of coffee and that many want it to be as environmentally pure as possible.

In business only seven months, Sun — whose partners include a coffee industry veteran and a former marketing executive from The Stanley Works, Marvel Entertainment and Disney — has orders for nearly a million pounds of beans.

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Wiltonian's Coffee Company Expanding In Northeast

Posted on Thu, Jan 21, 2010
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Image via Wilton Villager

WILTON, Conn. — Satisfying local coffee drinkers is what Sun Coffee Roasters is all about, says Charlie Ciaccio, a Wilton resident who is a partner and vice president of sales at the new company. Sun Coffee Roasters is a locally grown, organic, fair-trade coffee that first launched on April 1, 2009, he said. It currently provides socially conscious, earth-friendly coffee to stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

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New Organic, Fair Trade Coffee Roaster Caters to Wholesale Community

Posted on Mon, Aug 03, 2009

Sun Coffee Roasters Delivers Premium Branded and Private Label Blends Via Strategic Vendor Partnerships

PLAINVILLE, Conn. — A new player has just emerged among North American specialty coffee purveyors ... one founded on the principals of social consciousness, environmental responsibility and great taste. Called Sun Coffee Roasters (, the company is dedicated to supplying the world’s freshest, most flavorful blends – branded or private label – to wholesalers and retailers interested in premium organic, fair trade (OFT) and single-origin products.

Conceived in May 2008, Sun Coffee Roasters officially opened its doors in April 2009. It is led by an executive partnership consisting of veteran coffee entrepreneur, Keith Lemnios, who serves as chief executive officer; Ken Lewis, chief marketing officer; Barry Kostin, chief financial officer; and Charles Ciaccio, commodity specialist/trader. Together, the four offer more than 90 years of specialty coffee, global brand and financial experience, which they have applied to create a highly distinctive market presence for the new company.

"Unlike our industry counterparts, who focus on retail and the general public, we’ve elected to establish Sun Coffee as the premier supplier of 100 percent Arabica-based OFT branded and private label coffees to wholesalers, distributors and retailers across a wide variety of industries throughout the country," stated Lemnios. "While we also provide traditional coffee products, our expertise lies in the organic fair trade arena."

Noting the OFT segment is enjoying double-digit growth at a time when the specialty coffee market as whole is relatively flat, Lewis contributed, "Launching a successful new enterprise in today’s uncertain economy requires courage, careful planning and a keen understanding of the market entered. By doing our homework, we have devised a unique business model centered on strategic vendor partnerships and a vision of global sustainability."

He added, "This strategy, combined with proprietary short-run packaging capabilities, a just-in-time (JIT) delivery system, and clean, energy-efficient state-of-the-art production equipment, positions Sun Coffee Roasters to compete very effectively in a marketplace marked by increasing demand for socially and ecologically sound coffee sources."

In keeping with that objective, Sun Coffee Roasters is home to the world’s most sophisticated and eco-friendly roasting, grinding and packaging technologies. The company’s Diedrich CR 280 solid drum roaster, with precision electronics and patented carbon steel fins, is the only one of its kind in the United States.

Similarly, Sun Coffee’s high-end granulizer with water-cooled European heads – rare in the U.S. – produces the highest quality drip and espresso grinds. And its Matrix Elete print-on-demand packaging machine allows Sun Coffee Roasters to specialize in private label branding. Finally, the company’s JIT methodology allows delivery of any product within a few days of order receipt, thereby assuring consumption of the coffee at peak flavor.

"In this way, we are able to offer OFT-certified and estate coffees that are exceptionally fresh, extraordinary in taste, competitively priced and green manufactured," Lemnios concluded. Sun Coffee Roasters operates a roasting plant and cupping facility at its corporate headquarters in Plainville, Conn. The company currently offers 18 basic blends, including natural- and organic-flavored products, 90 percent of which meet strict OFT requirements. Several are available as Swiss Water Process decaffeinated blends and/or as traditional non-organic fair trade products.

About Sun Coffee Roasters

Sun Coffee Roasters is a socially conscious, earth friendly, and highly innovative U.S. coffee roaster specializing in the roasting, packaging and distribution of premium, organic fair trade and single origin coffees — branded and private label — for wholesale suppliers and retailers in various industries. Headquartered in Plainville, Conn., the company is the only roaster in the United States equipped with the world’s most sophisticated roasting, grinding and packaging equipment — all manufactured in America. For more information, visit

About Fair Trade

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in conventional international trade by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers … especially in developing countries. The goal of fair trade organizations is to help these individuals and cooperatives move from a position of vulnerability to security and economic self-sufficiency.

The term “fair trade” is used to describe a strict certification and labeling system that allows consumers to identify goods purchased under agreed labor and environmental standards.