An effort to distribute fair trade coffee is Positively Wisconsin - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

An effort to distribute fair trade coffee is Positively Wisconsin


MADISON (WKOW) -- When coffee is your business, you bring the world to you. Anyone else would look at bags of raw coffee beans and see only a commodity. At "Just Coffee," however, the owner sees so much more.

"It's an incredibly long hard process, and I think it's worth more than what people have been getting paid," said co-founder Matt Earley.

Earley and the others at Just Coffee make regular trips to visit the farmers who are doing all that hard work. They even bring their customers along.

"Because when people see how their decisions affect other people's lives they want to help," he said. "That's just how we are as people.

It turns out that those people are willing to pay a little more for an outstanding cup of coffee... to the tune of $1.2 million last year. "We were hoping to do 40-grand worth of business, so it got out of control really fast."

That's why they're busy roasting every day, all day. A serious-looking flame heats the air in the roaster to about 600 degrees Fahrenheit.  That's what it takes to turn green beans that are hard as rocks into coffee that's dark, aromatic, and crushable.

When you're working around what's essentially a jet engine all day, sound can be an issue. That's why they built a room out of old refrigeration panels to keep the noise down.

The noise, however, is worth it when you see the final result. "It's a slow roast to get good dark coffee that people really like," said Dave Miller.

The smell is unbelievable. It's the result of a world-conscious effort that's positively Wisconsin.

Just Coffee does business in 30 different states, though it's primarily focused in the Midwest. It offers about twelve different varieties of coffee at any one time, and it does business with thirteen different countries on four different continents.

Online reporting by Roland Beres.

Follow Roland on Twitter @beres_wkow

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