Today Equator Estate Coffees and Teas (www.EquatorCoffees.com) was named America’s 2010 Roaster of the Year in Roast Magazine’s highly competitive challenge, triumphing over 40 of the country’s best coffee roasters for Equator’s special blend of quality, sustainability, and business innovation.
Equator proudly joins the ranks of the very top US-based roasters, including previous winners Intelligentsia, Stumptown and Counter Culture. Competing against industry heavy-weights, Equator was picked as the best roaster in America as much for its long-term commitment to quality, as for its cutting-edge sustainability practices and business innovations including the purchase of a small coffee farm in Panama.
The final round of the Roaster of the Year competition pitted Equator against two other finalists in a blind cupping of their coffees by industry professionals. Equator submitted three coffees: Panama Esmeralda Geisha, Ethiopia Amaro Gayo Organic and Moka Java, winning this round and clinching the Roaster of the Year award.
Like America’s Top Chef and the James Beard Award, Roaster of the Year is considered a top award in the $13.65 billion U.S. specialty coffee market.
Among the achievements for which Equator was honored in this year’s Roaster of the Year competition were:
- Equator has a proven track-record of coffee quality, regularly winning awards and attracting some of the industry’s most celebrated chefs.
- Equator was a pioneer in adopting the ultra-efficient Loring Smart Roaster, which reduces carbon emissions by 80%.
- Equator’s biofuel and hybrid vehicles make all deliveries; and the company composts 100 percent of its coffee chaff and burlap bags.
- Equator has provided micro-loans to coffee partners around the world for quality related investments.
- Equator has spearheaded social and environmental sustainability projects that benefit food challenged communities in coffee growing regions around the world.
- Equator recently purchased its own farm in Panama, where they are in the process of growing ultra-boutique, sustainable coffee alongside a team of Panamanians with generations of experience in coffee cultivation.
“Equator Estate Coffees & Teas encompasses the core of a true artisan coffee-roaster,” says Connie Blumhardt, Publisher of Roast Magazine. “Roast chose Equator Estate Coffees as our 2010 Macro Roaster of the Year because of their commitment to sustainability, desire to educate their employees and customers as well their continual drive to push the boundaries of what it means to be a coffee roaster. Equator Coffees has a true passion for creating and selling amazing coffee.”
Equator was an early champion of fair trade practices that address economic, environmental, and social issues in coffee growing communities. Equator has instituted micro-loan programs in coffee growing countries, and recently partnered with ZERI Foundation and a young Zimbabwean woman named Chido Govero in an innovative “pulp to protein” program that increases food security for people in coffee growing regions.
“The Roaster of the Year award is a tremendous honor. This peer-level recognition validates our efforts to promote sustainability both at home and in the global coffee growing communities with whom we collaborate so closely,” said Helen Russell, CEO and co-founder of Equator Coffees. “Equator relentlessly seeks to improve our quality, sustainability and innovation; we are grateful to our employees, customers and farmer-partners whose sincere commitment to our work has made this possible.”
About Equator Coffees
A women-owned green business co-founded by Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell in 1995, San Rafael, CA-based Equator Coffees & Teas is a specialty coffee roaster, tea purveyor and coffee farm owner. Equator sources and grows boutique-grade Estate, Organic, Fair Trade, and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees around the globe. Over the years Equator has built a vast network of suppliers rooted in quality and sustainability. Its experimental geisha varietal coffee farm in Volcan, Panama is under development and is expected to produce its first harvest in 2012. Equator’s tea line includes rare Chinese and Japanese offerings, as well as boxed tea under the label Rare Cargo. Bay Area customers include the French Laundry, Bouchon Restaurants and Bakeries, Citizen Cake, La Boulange and Whole Foods Markets. Equator has won numerous awards including the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Business (2008 & 2009), National Association of Women Business Owners – Trail Blazer Award (2009), San Francisco’s Business Times Top 100 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Businesses (7 years in a row), the Specialty Coffee Association’s annual Roasters Choice Award (2009) and the Women’s Initiative: “Woman Owned Business of the Year” (2009). For more information: www.EquatorCoffees.com, www.facebook.com/EquatorCoffees and Twitter: @EquatorCoffees.