Living Our Values: The Collaborative Model

Below is a excerpt from our report Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017.

The CCS team has always been made up of people who have worked throughout various parts of the coffee chain. We are and have been baristas, barista trainers, competitors, coffee shop managers, roasters and coffee buyers. Most of us only really know the coffee industry through the lens of specialty coffee and this automatically puts our team in both a position of privilege and responsibility.


We have been privileged in so many different ways. At the coffee shops and roasteries each of us have worked at prior to CCS, each of us were a part of teams that were focused on excellence: roasting and serving the best coffee we could; buying the tastiest, most unique coffees from the brightest and most ambitious producers we could find. While not inherent to finding great coffees and producers, good relationships usually go hand-in-hand. It seems to go hand-in-hand that finding reliable partners producing excellent coffee year-after-year means working with great people. When we started CCS, we both saw the uniqueness of approaching coffee purchasing from a relational standpoint as well as the emerging market of roasters who were looking to find the same.

You see this context writ all over “The Collaborative Model” in Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017: the words “relationships”, “community”, “good coffee, good business”, “interdependency”, “communication”. These are not just words we throw about casually - they underlie everything that we do. When you read about our model, we hope that your experience matches what they are describing. Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to uphold them.

The Collaborative Model

One of the founding principles for the Collaborative Coffee Source is building relationships between people, in our case the craftspeople that are making coffee. Some are working in the field, others in roasteries, and still many more hands and heads and hearts are involved, so we think it’s only logical that there is a strong connection. The barista should be in the mix too, as they are the ones brewing beverages from these fruits-of-labor, they are on the frontier for all of us. We’re all needed, and we all need each other.

We strive to connect roasters, baristas, exporters, farmers, cooperatives, washing stations, and everybody else working in this community in a tight web of support, communication and feedback. This is fundamentally a model for collaboration, and quite frankly, it is a good business model too. Collaboration creates opportunities for learning, in all directions. Coffee travels the world and so do we, and it is in the exchanges of ideas and preferences that the best coffees are made.

Coffee is a people business. When curious people meet, and great products are made, and beautiful understanding occurs and interdependency grows, it is the best environment for a healthy business relationship. Good Coffee deserves to be Good Business, for all parties.

An ambitious coffee roaster who wants to stand out with a desired product needs a coffee supplier that is delivering the right coffee year after year. We strongly believe that we help both ends when we connect them, and the best way to achieve that is to know them. This is why we work with coffee professionals we respect and cherish, whose hopes and dreams we share. We want to change the world. The process may be “poco a poco,” but we’re ok with that.

Read the full report Collaborative Coffee Source, Living Our Values 2017.