What is Toro Coffee Co.? September 09 2014
With the beginning of Toro Coffee Co. in the public spectrum, commonly the question is posed:
'What are we even?'
Do they roast their own coffee?
I was initially only going to have the pueblitos near our finca in Colombia roast the beans after harvest, since that is how I fell in love with the sweet Colombian coffee bean. I wanted to keep the roasting with the community that harvested it. They do a brilliant job, probably because they are roasting their means of living. I didn't want to change that sentiment, procedure or style, but the day I roasted coffee for the very first time, I knew I had to make my heritage proud and use my coffee blood accordingly.
Coffee roasting creates a very meditative place for me. We live for being creative, and me personally, going back to my 'veritas', roots, and being a proud Colombian American, executing the dark art, is artistically satisfying. Thanks to the specialty coffee Gods, at 33, I now know more about roasting than I could have imagined, learning more each minute.
There has been a tremendously calming realization, that despite all the competition, we could and will rise above and create something interesting from scratch- Something bigger for our loyal following- Something that was indisputable with my Colombian bloodline and our work as a team. Whether it is oven roasting, or the best roaster on the market, if you don't have the magic...in my opinion, don't bother.
We roast small batch, fresh seasonal harvests, in a way that brings out each bean for desired quality and taste, by any cupping standards. All of our beans are no lower than an 85 grade ++, which is top of the line for the finest coffee beans in the world by international standards, and all standards throughout Specialty Coffee enthusiasts. Something uniquely extra special happens with our coffee; Maybe, it is because we are so passionate about harvest, life, and all things natural, but when you are roasting such small batches, something 'intimate' comes to you when you order.
Anyone who is a part of us at Toro Coffee Co. feels as close to the bean as we do. From bean to brew.
Are they Farm Owners?
Yes, The Toro name is synonymous with coffee farms in Armenia, Colombia and beyond. I was built on a coffee bean as was my whole family. My immediate family and I are currently all partners in a beautiful micro-lot in Genova, Colombia. Toro Coffee Co. resides here in Seattle as we begin the journey of furthering our dreams as a company. Colombia is where our finca and casita are, where animals play and where magical arabica coffee grows in a region that looks like Eden.
We do business with approximately 10 different farms (and counting), like ours worldwide (small, single origin, and fair), at any given time located from different regions. It is always dependent on what harvest is most recent, and what meets our standards for our company. Every farm has their own identity and flavour profile. If we never knew what it was like to have a finca, we wouldn't have the appreciation we do today for every detail.
Our farm is in the process of becoming 'Specialty'. Currently my family's finca next door- meaning steps away, went first, and has been picked as specialty coffee. We're up. My ancestors did this, (making sure the finest coffee beans evolved) and we are currently bringing an approach that is new to the business. If you see the name Toro, and it is not on a lawnmower, chances are you are talking about Toro the coffee producers- and that Amigos is us, or my family representing a long lineage of coffee farming.
T. Co. is currently looking to purchase a second farm in Colombia. The plan is a new generation of coffee growers, specialty coffee being our sole focus, as well as community outreach for those surrounding our farm. This concept is not new, but we plan to do it differently. We plan on staying in the great Northwest as we surround ourselves with the pickiest palates on the planet. The dreams and goals are plentiful and like anything else we just go for it.
Are they advocates of some sort?
Most definitely do we believe in helping others. We are advocates of judicial reform. We are for cannabis legalization in all 50 states. Because of people close to us, and our own lives and experiences, we have first hand witnessed the hardships of addiction, ptsd, at-risk youth, mental health stigmas and overall lack of empathy thereof. We solely want to explore these problems as any community does and with our business make strides.
Those are the issues we are passionate about. We really hope through our goods, services, blogs, and outreach, we can spread a message of a positive embrace on all things LIFE. We live for the moment and hope that we all can be good to each other in a time of so much change- and enjoy the harvest.
Toro Coffee Co. is so much more than an online coffee shop. It is also cannabis. We are also organic body scrubs and spices, all made from coffee- the list will continue to grow. It is all things you crave. It is, in my mind, what we all want on those days that we are drinking our coffee and all is right in the world. It is that moment you have your favorite hoodie or t-shirt on, and the wind hits you perfectly as you are about to conquer a day. It is that moment you take that flight to a country you weren't sure you would see.
We are advocates of moments and being present in them!
Do they sell cannabis?
Yes and No. No, on Shopify. Yes, in the city of Greater Seattle. We vend edibles to a medicinal dispensary that carries and sells them for us. We do not sell cannabis online as that is illegal. We must abide by all Federal and State standards. We are only medicinal for now.
Does our coffee have cannabis in it?
Not at all. The site you are on now, is solely for Specialty Coffee.
In Medicinal Dispensaries in WA?
We are about to roll out a line of Specialty, Gourmet coffee products that are cannabis infused, because like all fine goods, we must try to incorporate beauties of both harvests. This has been a year in the making and a very tedious process. We are rolling out a set of different strengths, and flavours in our original cold press coffee concentrate. We are passionate about coffee and cannabis so this was always a fit for us as business owners and fresh, direct trade, harvest enthusiasts...we always want to know the source.
They will be available for sale through the medicinal dispensaries we work with, until we can get access to CO, and all WA retail stores.
The T.Co. vision in short is:
We use ALL our creative forces to share our vision through harvests, travel, writing, photography and media. This is an avenue to explore travel and business with a more well rounded creativity that highlights the important harvests that surround us.
In essence, I found a way to make all my passions go hand in hand. I want you all to join us.
I hope this answers many of your questions about what we are. We are agricultural entrepreneurs who want to evolve as the world does. That means our mother company Toro Organics will be delving into ventures to make our coffee even better while we bring out the best in other harvests as well; The focus being on the community that makes these harvests work.
It is always about community.
We want to be the next wave of producers that takes a whole different angle and makes it beneficial for not only us around the world...but the producers and farmers we work with. I know that seems to be the rhetoric in specialty coffee, yet we are coming from deep rooted heritage.
I am following in the footsteps of my grandfather, Jose Manuel Toro, who was one of the greatest entrepreneurs to ever reside in Armenia. He was 'La Voz de Armenia' - in so many ways. Although La Voz de Armenia was a current events radio show, he was building the city, investing in fincas and properties, while building a community.
In my opinion, and many others, he built that city. Our goal isn't to build a city but better yet, build up a community, maybe a city, country or better yet 'countries'. Seems pretty ambitious being so small, right?
This is what Toro Coffee Co. is. Big Dreams, Big Moves. Big Endeavors. Always, and we do mean ALWAYS, following through to the end.