Jeremy Rath’s coffee: From Kenya to your doorstep

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by Jeremy Iggers | March 20, 2009 • I first discovered Jeremy Rath’s Roastery coffee a couple of years ago when he had a stand every Sunday at the Kingfield Farmers Market. We loved his coffee so much that we signed up for home delivery. Whenever we are running low on java, we send Jeremy an email, and the next morning, there’s a bag of French Roast at our door.

Iggers Digest is the blog of Jeremy Iggers, the TC Media Alliance’s executive director. Jeremy is also the creator of TCFoodies, a local food networking site.

Jeremy actually disapproves of French Roast – “you lose so many flavors when you roast it that dark,” – but he delivers it anyway. Cost is $13 a pound for most varieties. Jeremy, who used to own the Roastery coffee house in St. Paul back in the 90s, sold his café in 1999 and moved his little six-pound coffee roaster to the basement of the former convent at Annunciation School at Diamond Lake and Lyndale in south Minneapolis. He still roasts some of his coffee there, but also uses a bigger roaster in Eden Prairie.

Jeremy didn’t return to the Kingfield Market last year, and I eventually found out why: he was spending too much of his time on the road, judging coffees in international competitions for the Alliance for Coffee Excellence, and volunteering for the Coffee Quality Institute’s Coffee Corps, which trains people in developing coffee countries to produce and market better coffee. He recently got back from a trip to Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, where he and other instructors conducted a rigorous Q Certification program, testing and certifying people to who have the sensory skills and knowledge to grade coffee, improve their country’s coffee quality, and keep their best coffee out of the commodity market. (“When they treat coffee like a commodity, it’s the poor farmer who gets hosed – just like in any commodity.”) Producing coffee for the specialty market instead of the commodity market means higher incomes for local farmers.

I invited Jeremy to upload some photos from his trip, which you can see in our photo gallery. One photo shows Kenyan farmers at an agricultural fair in Ruiru, near Nairobi, lining up at a coffee stand for a taste of espresso. For some farmers, it was their first chance to actually taste coffee – which is milled, roasted and sold far from their farms.

To find out more about Jeremy’s coffees, go to www.shoptheroastery.com.

There are still a few spots left for Jeremy’s coffee cupping and tasting class on Saturday, May 9. It’s a fundraiser for Southwest High School, where Jeremy is a parent; proceeds will help pay for school supplies. For details, check http://southwest.mpls.k12.mn.us/Great_Gatherings4.html.

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