For 2,000 years, coffee has been grown in Yemen - a lineage surpassed only by Ethiopia.  This particular coffee is sourced by Emeryville-based importing powerhouse Royal Coffee in the Western highlands of the country is produced in a traditional style that dates back to the 15th century.  Dried in the cherry on the rooftops of cliffside homes, the full natural style delivers the warm, bold flavour beloved by dark roast lovers.

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This is a great coffee story.  Before 2005, the coffee from Flores was dry-processed and sold to exporters reaping the farmer a scant 30-40 cents per pound.  Quality left a lot to be desired.  In 2005, bolstered by a $40,000 investment from the Indonesian Coffee Research Centre (ICCRI), a coopertive partnership between two farmer groups began processing coffee using a new, fully washed method (called Ngura in the Bajawa language) and quality soared.

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Do you have four and a half minutes to spare?

The good people are The Perennial Plate have produced a wonderful short film about Ethiopian coffee farming and production with the Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union.

Alive with music, laughter, history and hard work, this film offers amazing insight into the passion for coffee consumption and production as well as the impact of forming cooperative unions.

Presented in partnership with Intrepid Travel, herewith, "there is only coffee":


Oh, we get it.  It's enough to have made it to Main & 20th in the first place.  Before a coffee, who's got time to wonder what happened leading up to this.

Royal Coffee is what happened.  And it's been happening since 1978... but we only got involved in 1990.

While there are a handful of coffees Bean Around The World purchases directly from the producers, most often we use Oakland-based powerhouse coffee importer Royal Coffee.  With satellite locations in Madison, Wisconsin and Shanghai and seasoned buyers seemingly everywhere at once, there is no importer working harder to forge decades-long relationships with farmers and producers in order to bring you the finest examples from the world's preeminent coffee-growing regions.  Simply put, through working alongside the farmers, the producers, the roasters and baristas, they know the geography, the terroir, the plant science, each particular bean's ideal processing as well as the range of roasting styles and brewing methods that constitute a world of extraordinary coffee.

Should you want to dig deeper into the history of the coffee in your cup, their splashy, revamped website has profiles of many coffee producers - a vast, ongoing project undertaken by Mayra Powell.  In the meantime, this short film provides wonderful insight into an essential step in connecting the shrub to the drink.

To learn more about Royal Coffee and follow their day-to-day operations:


The coffee growing area in Bali - an estimated 7,500 hectares - is largely centred in the Kintamani highlands.  Sitting atop a large volcanic plateau between 1300-1700 meters altitude, coffee tree varieties include a high percentage of Bourbon and Typica, along with shade trees such as Erythrina, Albizia, Tangerine and Orange. The use of pesticides is prohibited on Bali and all fertilizers are 100% organic. The Subak Abian is a traditional farming structure organization in Bali, similar to a farmer cooperative. There are 13 different Subak Abians that are currently growing and processing coffee. The “SA” oversee both agricultural technology and religious activities. The promotion of improved coffee growing practices is expected to enhance not only agricultural technology but social and economic standing in Bali as well.

TASTING NOTES: This dark roast has a smooth, syrupy, black cherry body, low acidity and pronounced chocolate flavours.

  • PRODUCER:  Subak Abian farmers' cooperative (Rainforest Alliance)
  • ORIGIN:  Kintamani Highland, Bali
  • VARIETAL:  Bourbon, Typica
  • ALTITUDE:  1300 - 1700 m.
  • PROCESS:  Fully washed, patio-dried to 40% moisture then hulled.

* Producer profile and location photos courtesy of Royal Coffee.



So far a lot of my new year has been about connecting with inspiring and creative entrepreneurial women all of the place - intimate workshops, festive boutique events and good ol' across-the-counter conversation.

And so it is with particularly great timing that this late winter and impending spring involve getting an exciting new fair trade, organic coffee into the shop.  First, let's talk about the remarkable producers.

Founded in 2000, the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative cultivates its coffee near a gorilla habitat in the mountains of Central Rwanda. By producing coffee for an international market and employing a majority female workforce (80%), Dukunde Kawa has helped to positively impact local families. With funds from the Rwandan Ministry of Defense, the cooperative was able to build a washing station. And, because of this, the co-op donated 10% of its net profit annually to fund the construction of other washing stations throughout the country.

Their coffee has been Fair Trade Certified since 2004, which creates a better standard of living for farmers by providing them access to an economically and environmentally sustainable coffee industry. Each co-op member has been able to purchase a farm animal, and many have health insurance for the first time. They have also stated a treerehabilitation program, and they want to eventually create a water channeling system for the water left over after the coffee processing.

All I ever want out of a morning is a fantastic cup of coffee and a smile.  This story of the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative delivers both in spades.

Now available in somewhat limited quantity, grab a pound before it's gone!

TASTING NOTES: A delight of a coffee on the lighter end of our dark roast range - expect a very smooth, aromatic cup brightened by berry and anchored with warm nutty tones.

  • PRODUCER:  Dukunde Kawa Cooperative
  • ORIGIN:  Near Musasa, Gakenke District.
  • VARIETAL:  Bourbon
  • ALTITUDE:  1800+ m.
  • PROCESS:  Wet-processing.

* Producer Profile and photos courtesy of Royal Coffee.