By Jeremy Martin
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Sipping a perfectly roasted and brewed cup of coffee while supporting a worthy, community-based cause ”now that’s a great way to start the day. If you’re one of the thousands of folks in Southern California who frequent a cafe serving Wild Goose coffee then you know the feeling well.
Redlands, California’s Wild Goose Coffee Roasters has been crafting small batch, wholesale coffee since 2008, and since their very first roasts, brothers Nathan Westwick and Joe Capraro who run the company have been donating 10 pounds of food to area food banks for every pound of coffee sold.
With over 50,000 pounds of coffee roasted, that means around half a million pounds of food have found its way to needy families across Southern California and the Inland Empire during the past six years.
œOne of the things I love is that community is something broader than just the individual,” says Nathan. “Joe and I have always been very relationship based. In my life I’ve realized that doing things just for yourself really isn’t as satisfying as doing something bigger.”
A former school teacher, Nathan is accustomed to supporting those who most need his help and to giving back to the community. And being a naturally early riser, he also appreciates a good cup of coffee. Putting the two together was pretty much a no-brainer.
œI taught 12 years at my alma mater,” he says. “It was really a great thing kind of giving back and being able to help the students. But I really love the world of coffee. We wanted to take the fair trade principles and bring them a little closer to home. We make sure we source fairly traded coffee, but we also want to take that same kind of concept and apply it state side.
The business isn’t just about Nathan’s fervant believe in communty and supporting those who need help. It’s also about Joe’s roasting abilities and the creativity he brings to Wild Goose.
œJoe worked in a local cafe, and he loved it. He’s a fantastic musician, loves creativity, and I think he’s what we see in our roast profile,” says Nathan. “He’s kind of our maestro behind the roaster. He has great technique but he also has a lot intuition.”
œWe both got trained by Bird Rock, that was part of the offer to buy the roaster, Nathan said.
One thing they learned quickly was how fractured the coffee-drinking public is, and Nathan and Joe have spent much of their careers so far attempting to align them all.
œThere’s a segment of coffee drinkers out there who are drawn to quality, and there’s another segment of coffee drinkers who are drawn to the mission of it: fair trade, organic, that sort of thing,” says Nathan. “These two groups are not mutually exclusive, but the overlap is a lot less than I expected. What happens when cafes start working with us is that historically their business grows up to 20 percent per year because they’re able to draw from those two demographics: the cause-oriented coffee drinker and the the quality-orientated coffee drinker.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeremy Martin is a freelance writer and photographer who has reported on coffee, craft beer, college sports, and business for a variety of publications over the past six years. A veteran of the café industry and graduate of Western Michigan University, Jeremy lives in Seattle where can often be found making sandwiches from whatever is left in the fridge and cracking wise for the amusement of his adoring wife Amanda.