Rhetoric Coffee - Fair Trade Coffee, Fair Trade Art ~ What'cha Reading?

Rhetoric Coffee – Fair Trade Coffee, Fair Trade Art

Editor’s Note: Rhetoric Coffee reached out to us and made a great offer to our readers! Use Promo code: WHATCHA and receive 30% off your first roast from Rhetoric. Just click the link and get your 30% off! http://rhetoric.coffee/whatcha
While listening to a commercial break during one of my favorite podcasts (My Favorite Murder of course, Sup’ Murderino’s!) host Georgia Hardstark, in her inimitable fashion, told her listeners about Rhetoric Coffee and their dedication to something we find really important around here. In fact more than a few of the things in the ad copy drew my interest. So I thought I should check it out.
Rhetoric Coffee is small independent coffee roasting company that offers bi-weekly subscription packages of eight, 12- and 16-ounce whole-bean bags, “each release a different roast perfectly suited for the coffee lover with a taste for variety.” And that’s all well and good, but what makes Rhetoric Coffee different? Why chose it over others?
I reached out to the company to learn more. The first thing I found that surprised me was how intimate a company this is, basically a two-man operation, James and Colin are two sides of the coin. James is the coffee roaster and Colin more of the “business guy” but what became evident immediately during our email exchange was the passion they both share.
They call it a “Holistic Coffee Experience.” Colin explained further, “We want you to feel good about buying our beans because: the coffee farmer gets more money, we buy really great beans from them, we roast it in a great coffee-community space (Bay Area Co-Roasters), we commission great art from comic book artists, illustrators, and graffiti artists, then we promote it through our bags. We want to be thoroughly and deliberately a force for good, and I think our product, methods and company reflect that.”
That sounded great but I needed to know a little more. Having heard that Rhetoric Coffee prides itself on fair trade, both in their coffee and how it’s presented, I decided to dig a little deeper. The company outlook is pretty impressive:  “Both of us (Colin and James) firmly believe that the only real commodity a human has is time, and that your job in business should be to find a way to honor that time. This ethos guides our hand in almost every aspect of the business”
They were extremely forthcoming about the sourcing of the coffee, and the attention payed to the blends. “We roast some of the best green coffee available on the market. The product of James’ roasting technique and that high level of quality is a good cup. We roast something different every time, so your taste buds get a lot of exercise. We do a lot of different roast levels and bean origins and blend them together. Sometimes we’ll take a single origin (from a particular farm or region), roast half-light, half-dark, and then blend them together (known as a melange).” 
And where those beans come from, “We pay for the bean quality through Coffee Shrub’s Farm Gate pricing program (they’re our importer). The farmers get significantly more money than the “fair trade” minimums.” Again this is what we wanted to hear, fair trade coffee being roasted by guys who really love coffee and what to create unique flavors.
Okay they love coffee, and they care about where it comes from but what about the art? Each roast gets a unique piece, screen-printed on each bag. They look beautiful, as you’ll see below. I can totally see people saving these, bringing them to conventions to have the artists sign and hanging them on their walls. And check out what two of the artists who’ve worked with Rhetoric Coffee have to say about the experience.
The first, second, and fifth bag labels were done by Jonathan La Mantia (http://www.jonathanlamantia.com/), James made a point of telling me how much they “dug his sci-fi horror themes” as well as making sure I understood that they feel “he’s a huge part of why this comics+coffee thing has worked out so well for us; much of our (Rhetoric’s) branding and marketing is based on his first piece.” And what does Jonathan have to say about all of this? We emailed Jonathan and got a terrific response: “Working with James & Colin is terrific and it’s been wonderful to see them gaining momentum with Rhetoric Coffee. They’ve been incredibly supportive of my work and have given me a lot of freedom to try out new ideas and techniques for the pieces I submit. They have a lot of respect for the work too, they’ve been really great with making sure they do right by me as well as the other artists they’re bringing on. Life as a freelance artist is always a little uncertain, but it’s been very cool to have those guys in my corner!”

First commissioned art from Jonathan LaMantia (jonathanlamantia.com)

A photo posted by Rhetoric Coffee (@rhetoriccoffee) on

Up next we contacted Gwynn Tavares, the guys at Rhetoric call her art “jaw-droppingly beautiful” and we agree! Her excitement at working with Rhetoric is obvious. “These guys are one of my new favorite clients to work with. They contacted me six months in advance with the strict rules of “draw anything you want!”. As you can surmise, they are pretty easy to work for. I have recommended a few of my other artist friends to hit them up. The pay is great, but I have to say, the free bag of coffee is why I really do these. I feel like all the other coffee in my life has been a lie and I am just now discovering what coffee can really be! The next bag I’m sketching out is pretty dark, perfect for the Holidays, which can’t come soon enough… I just finished off the last of their coffee this morning.” Check out on of her other projects over on twitter.

#Repost @parrishtheshot with @repostapp ・・・ Newest. @gwynntavares @rhetoriccoffee so good.

A photo posted by Rhetoric Coffee (@rhetoriccoffee) on


Have we convinced you yet? We’ve got a company that’s excited about what they do, committed to doing it well, and they even take the time to wrap that product up in a beautiful piece of art. But just in case you’re still not convinced.

“Our (really wonderful) customers consistently message us things like: they had some friends over and made them some Rhetoric and told them to try it black, and they loved it, and asked what coffee it was, and then started buying it from us. And they usually take it with cream and sugar! We’ve heard this story now so many times that it’s like it’s part of an unwritten marketing campaign–make some for your friends.”

Want to try Rhetoric Coffee? Head over to rhetoriccoffee.com. There’s a new, unique roast every two weeks!

You can also find Rhetoric Coffee at facebook.com/rhetoriccoffee, twitter.com/rhetoriccoffee, and instagram.com/rhetoriccoffee

Have you tried Rhetoric? Planning to? Let us know in the comments.


Editor’s Note: Rhetoric Coffee reached out to us and made a great offer to our readers! Use Promo code: WHATCHA and receive 30% off your first roast from Rhetoric. Just click the link and get your 30% off! http://rhetoric.coffee/whatcha


About Author

Chuck Suffel is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of Whatchareading.com. He loves comics, movies, tv shows. When it comes to comics his first loves are independents and small publishers. Feel free to drop him a note anytime at chuck@whatchareading.com

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