Local Roaster Uses Coffee to Support Global Conservation Efforts
Conservation Coffee is a melding of loves for Founder Jesse Winters – a love of animals and nature, and a love of coffee.
Working at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium developed Winters’ appreciation of animals and the science and conservation efforts surrounding the zoo’s mission. He had seen other coffee roasters on the market that would donate proceeds of a specific coffee to a specific organization, but never an entire line of sustainable products.
It was at this intersection that the idea of Conservation Coffee was born. Winters wanted to start a coffee company that provided high-quality, ethically-sourced, organic coffees while donating a portion of proceeds to worldwide conservation efforts.
He spoke with is colleagues at the zoo and they loved the idea.
Winters chose coffee because of its ubiquitous popularity and scalability to make an impact.
“It’s the second largest commodity in the world next to crude oil,” Winters says.
Conservation Coffee sources its beans through Charlotte, NC-based Coffee Co-Mission and works with Westerville’s Java Central as well as other third-party roasters for production.
“We’re growing coffee as it was naturally meant to grow,” Winters says of the beans it sources from Co-Mission. The supplier has boots on the ground in the countries where it sources, ensuring a quality product.
Conservation Coffee’s beans are not only organic, sustainable and ethically sourced, but come from shade-grown farms. Winters explains that the lack of pesticides and fertilizers, and growing environment, create a healthier plant with more high-quality, flavorful cherries.
The company’s coffees are Co-Mission TRADE certified, a certification that states the coffees have been purchased by the roaster according to the real market, taking into account conditions in consumption countries as well as conditions faced by the producer.
Conservation Coffee currently stocks a roast from Rwanda, but is developing Columbian and Brazilian blends that will be available in the near future.
Every quarter, Conservation Coffee donates 5% of its proceeds to Partners in Conservation, a global conservation fund founded out of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. By working with Partners in Conservation, Winters knows their donations are going to verified projects with the greatest need that can make the biggest impact.
It’s an impact Winters is keen to grow. Long-term he wants to scale Conservation Coffee to offer more roasts and more products like biodegradable K-Cups, and even teas. He also hopes to continue to change the way coffee is grown, helping more farmers covert to shade-grown methods.
Currently, Conservation Coffee’s products are available through its website. While the Zoo has been unable to stock its products during the pandemic, Winters hopes to have their beans back on the Zoo’s gift shop shelves in time for the holiday season.
Conservation Coffee will take part in a special Artisan Pop-Up Grocery Store at POP, a pop-up retail space at 44 N. High St. Downtown. The store will be open on Sunday, September 13 from 11 a.m – 3 p.m. For more information, visit popcolumbus.com.
To learn more, visit conservation-coffee.org.