barrie-gromalaMy guest today is Barrie Gromala, Cofounder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee. We’ll be talking about coffee, why you should drink organic coffee, organic certifications, and more. Beantrees began selling gourmet organic coffee in 1993 through corporate “organic espresso bars,” and now sells beans internationally through specialty markets. They have many celebrity clients and their coffee was even served at the Cannes Film Festival. They have a comprehensive collection of coffees, including mountain water decaf and flavored coffees—all organic. www.beantrees.com

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TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
All About Organic Coffee

Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Barrie Gromala

Date of Broadcast: May 27, 2015

DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic-free.

It is Wednesday, May 27th, 2015. I’m here in the sunny Clearwater, Florida. Today, we’re going to talk about coffee. We haven’t talked about coffee on the show before. Coffee, while it has had some bad things about it that I think we all know, new studies are starting to say that coffee can actually be healthy for us.

Some of the health benefits of coffee that are coming to before now are – number one, coffee contains a lot of anti-oxidants. It has even been called the number one source of antioxidants in the United States. And antioxidants are really important if you’re being exposed to toxic chemicals because toxic chemicals destroy your body in a way that antioxidants counteract. Everybody should be taking a ton of antioxidants from all different sources. Coffee apparently turns out to be one of them.

Other ways that coffee benefits your health are it can help protect against type-two diabetes. It’s said to protect against Parkinson’s disease. Researchers say that it prevents against erectile dysfunction. So there are lots of benefits.

But there are also the downsides to coffee. Everybody needs to decide for themselves if they want to drink coffee, if it will help them. It can even be good for the heart. It can help prevent liver disease. So you have to weigh the benefits and the risks.

But one of the big things about coffee is that it is sprayed with a tremendous amount of toxic pesticides. So if you’re drinking regular coffee, you’re going to have the negative health effects of the pesticides. That might be part of the downside because we don’t know when people are doing studies on coffee, if they’re using regular coffee or organic coffee.

Today, we’re going to talk about organic coffee because if you’re [thinking?] to drink coffee, it’s best to drink organic.

My guest today is Barrie Gromala. He’ll tell us if I pronounced that right. He’s the Co-Founder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee. Hi, Barrie.

BARRIE GROMALA: How are you? Hey!

DEBRA: I’m great. How are you?

BARRIE GROMALA: Fantastic!

DEBRA: Good. How do you say your name?

BARRIE GROMALA: You got right. Barrie Gromala.

DEBRA: Good. I’m always very conscious about that because a lot of people have difficulty pronouncing my name. So I always want to make sure I do it right. So where are you?

BARRIE GROMALA: I’m out in sunny Sacramento, California.

DEBRA: That’s right. That’s right. I used to live in California.

BARRIE GROMALA: Not quite Florida, but it’s okay.

DEBRA: Good! So how did you get interested in selling coffee and why organic?

BARRIE GROMALA: I just want to tell you first that you actually hit the nail on the head. You’ve done your research and your introduction was very accurate.

DEBRA: Thank you.

BARRIE GROMALA: I started this company 22 years ago, 1993 believe it or not. There wasn’t even any Starbucks in California at that time. And nobody in the coffee trades had been here.

Before that, I was a Contemporary Art dealer. And I was on a plane back from an art show in Hawaii. It was a total accident. This was the early ’90s where we’re having a mini-recession. So a lot of clients weren’t buying the same amount of arts that they used to buy and a lot of my clients were corporations.

So this was again how things were back then. The gentleman I was with in Hawaii want to switch tickets so he could fly home with his girlfriend. We switched tickets. Back in that day, your ID didn’t have to match the ticket. So I was on the wrong airline. I was on Delta instead of Air United. I picked up their in-flight magazine and saw a woman who had a coffee card up in Seattle that was grossly $300,000 a year.

DEBRA: Wow!

BARRIE GROMALA: That seemed like a new interesting business. At the time, I didn’t even drink coffee. The only coffee I’ve had was probably [inaudible 00:05:30] out camping when I was a kid.

So reading about this, what I realized in California is that the only building mainly in the Bay area that have coffee cards, it was very heavy drug scene. It was Seattle. There were lots of dreadlock, lots of facial piercings. Nobody had really had more than a couple of locations. On that day, I decided I want to be the Nordstroms of that part of the business. And now I’d say we’re the Dolce & Gabbana.

What I decided to do is come up with an idea that I thought was a pretty good idea for a coffee shop. What I did was selling art to these big corporations like Hewlett Packard and Intel. I realized it was a very neat niche that had been explored. So I was the first guy to really put kiosks in corporations. You see them in the airport. So we started. Again, the way these things have folded was just all by accidents.

DEBRA: By accidents.

BARRIE GROMALA: One accident after another.

DEBRA: I know those kinds of things.

BARRIE GROMALA: Back in those days or even these days, the big food service companies are the ones who manage most of the food in the big corporations. So through a series of events, I was able to negotiate a contract to go into Hewlett Packard and we put a coffee kiosk in there.

My idea was, to have a business model, have a coffee shop that was Monday through Friday, no evenings, no weekends, every holiday off, completely secured environment. I didn’t have to pay a penny to get anybody to come into my shop because they were already there just coming to work.

DEBRA: What a smart business model.

BARRIE GROMALA: Oh, it was completely luck. I didn’t want to work evenings or weekends. I was selfish, but it seemed okay. And we happened to just hit the beginning of the .com.

So before I knew it, within three years, we had 18 locations with 150 employees.

DEBRA: Wow!

BARRIE GROMALA: Basically, all of our business – the flaw of my business model was that these things were lightly staffed because they weren’t full blown cafes. When we have people call in sick or drugged or hung over, there wasn’t a lot of back support to fill in the locations.

We have locations in Reno, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, then throughout the Silicon Valley. At one point, I had two business partners that didn’t work out. So all of a sudden, I was in charge of everything. I realized I was never going to grow to be an old man managing teenagers during the .com.

So I sold off all the locations through licensing agreement. And what I found is having a franchise system without all the regulation. Having people run these operations and have a financial stake in it as opposed to just to pay an hourly employee was like me doing it myself. They won’t call in sick, they won’t call in hung over and they have great customer service.

At that point, the business has grown up so fast that we were doing developments. We were operating. We were licensing and doing wholesale. It just evolved out of itself. So I got rid of all the businesses except for the wholesale and decided just to focus on that.

About six months into my business, my current provider – I guess the best way to say it is we had a business disagreement and instead of litigating, I just left and started learning more about coffee. I learned about organic coffee. Of course I never heard of that. After about three more months, literally everybody I talked to about it said the same thing. “Don’t do organic coffee because no one’s doing it.”

DEBRA: So you were one of the original people who started selling organic coffee. Yes?

BARRIE GROMALA: I actually started the organic coffee. I was a board member of the Organic Coffee Association, which is now defunct, but what was one of the originals. There were a few people dabbling in it. I was the only guy who had become 100% organic. A lot of people had maybe three or four organic offering.

Once I learned about it, I decided that I’m going to be the guy who steps off the edge and is purely organic. It was a big risk. There wasn’t a lot of really good organic coffee back then and what was, was quite expensive.

DEBRA: Yes.

BARRIE GROMALA: The reason that I made that decision is that what I came to find out is that coffee is the second largest commodity in the world.

DEBRA: Wait a minute! I don’t want to interrupt you midsentence, but we need to go to break. And if I don’t interrupt you now, I’m going to have to interrupt you later. But when we come back, you can finish your sentence.

BARRIE GROMALA: Thank you.

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Barrie Gromala. He’s the Co-Founder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee. Their website is Beantrees.com. They’ve got so many coffees. He’s going to tell you about this later. But really, just go to the website and look at it. We’ll be right back.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Barrie Gromala. He’s the Co-Founder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee, which is at Beantrees.com.

Barrie, tell us about what’s so bad about non-organic coffee. But first, finish your sentence.

BARRIE GROMALA: Where was I? I don’t even remember where I was.

DEBRA: Okay. Then let’s go on.

BARRIE GROMALA: We’ll move on. Basically coffee is the second largest commodity in the world today, second only after oil. But what most people don’t know is that coffee also one of the largest agricultural polluters because it’s all grown in the tropics.

So virtually or literally, for every pound of coffee that makes it to market – again, this is not the entire world encompassing. There’s always exception. But the majority of coffee that’s produced that’s non-organic is one of the largest agricultural polluters in the world.

Unfortunately, these are chemicals that we make in America that are strictly regulated or not even legal to use in America, but for some reason our government allows it to ship down to Central and South America, Indonesia and Africa without regard. These are chemicals like DDT, BHT, lindane, endosulfan, diazinon, sisulfoton, methyl parathion. It just goes on and on and on.

One of the most amazing things is that all the coffee in the world 80 years ago was organic, as was everything before World War II. There were no chemicals and no rail distribution in place.

So today, we’re dumping hundreds of millions of pounds and hundreds of millions of gallons of the most toxic chemicals on the most fertile places in the planet. All of the coffee is grown 10 degrees north or south of the equator and the tropical zones all the way around the planet.

Two years ago, organic coffee got named as the single largest imported organic product to America more than anything else. Additionally, for the last 10 years, the organic coffee market has exploded and grown in over 29% annually for over 10 years where the rest of the specialty coffee market has only grown 1.5%.

The other thing is that organic coffee does bring a premium to the growers. For the third world, any kind of premium is extremely beneficial. Twenty-five cents a pound for them translates to $2 or $3 a pound for me or you in the world we live in.

DEBRA: Yeah.

BARRIE GROMALA: In my opinion, there is no other product on the face of the planet that could be more to help the global environment and to raise the socioeconomic level of hundreds of thousands of farmers than coffee.

What hit me in the head was that if you can have a product that’s organic and tastes good or better than non-organic for virtually the same price, the question isn’t “Why?”, but “Why not?”

DEBRA: I agree with you.

BARRIE GROMALA: My goal was to basically mainline or mainstream organic coffee into regular parts of America and getting people to commit. That was the huge deal.

About 18 years ago, we got the coffee contract at Yahoo’s corporate headquarters down in Sunnyvale when we were just barely two year old company.

We’ve done all the coffee there for about 18 years. It was 100% organic for the entire campus that served over 3500 people every single day. So we were just, for the last 19 years, really focused on driving organic coffee because, literally, even though it may be a dollar a pound more than non-organic, since you get 50 cups per pound, that’s only two cents a cup.

Additionally, in the last couple of years (I think 6 out of the last 10) Golden Cup winning coffees throughout various countries have all been organic. Organic coffee is really on the forefront. There’s no reason not to drink organic coffee and it’s readily available through Beantrees and several other really great companies.

DEBRA: We have a couple of minutes before the break. Could you comment on a lot of different brands now? Obviously, you were in the beginning and you have a lot of experience and you may know more like I know that I know more than a lot of people who are talking about toxics now. So are there differences in organic coffees that we should be looking at, that we should be aware of?

BARRIE GROMALA: Not really. Unfortunately, in the coffee world like in a lot of the other parts in the world, there’s a multitude of actual certifications. Some of the ones that people are familiar with are Fair Trade, Shade Grown, Bird Friendly, ECO-OK, the Rainforest Certification.

The unfortunate problems with all of these certifications are that none of them are enforced by anybody except for the people who invented them. There are literally marketing advantages to help push their brands.

The OCIA, the Organic Standards through the federal government took over 10 years of development. They started after I had started. So for the first half of Beantrees’ career, there was no certification. So we were depending on the farmers, on the traders, on the buyers to make sure it was happening. For now, that’s the only certification that exists that has any level of enforcement, whatsoever.

There are a lot of companies who have all these different coffees and all these different certifications. And unfortunately, the majority of them are market ploys to help develop their brand. And a lot of companies will have an organic line. I think Starbucks has one organic coffee. I see a lot of the other major new and upcoming players adding an organic coffee in. So they have a line or a couple of offerings that are organic.

The problem with that, again, to me, is they’re giving to me is they’re not committing completely. They’re basically saying, “Hey, we want to take advantage of the expanding, emerging market, but only to the point that it makes us some more money. As a company, we don’t really care.”

DEBRA: Yeah. There’s a lot in the whole field of things non-toxic. That’s true in every type of product. There are companies who are dedicated like you and then there are companies who are just doing it because that’s what the market is moving towards. I think it’s really important for people to see the difference between those two things.

We need to go to break again. So we’ll be back and talk more with Barrie about organic coffee. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. You can go to Barrie’s website at Beantrees.com. We’ll be right back.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Barrie Gromala, Co-Founder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee. His website is Beantrees.com.

Barrie, I love it that you are not only doing organic, but that you’re also doing it on a gourmet level. You’re doing it with extra specialness, not just any old organic coffee, but in a way that really shows how wonderful it is as a food.

BARRIE GROMALA: We’ve been very lucky. In 20 plus years of the business, we’ve never paid a penny for advertising ever. All the marketing is word of mouth and referral.

Like any product or commodity, whether they’re wine grapes or coffee beans, they change from year to year, depending on the environment of the ground. Basically, coffee beans are wine grade, the flavor comes from the dirt. If you use more and more chemicals every year, initially or finally, depending on how many chemicals you use, the dirt becomes not fertile. It basically becomes inert and the only way to grow the coffees is with the chemicals.

You see all these beautiful pictures of the coffee trees growing, they’re in the rainforest. But the bottom line is when you get a little closer, you’ll see that there are no bugs in the dirt and there are not birds on the tree. It’s hard to artificially maintain environment with all these massive amounts of chemicals. Unfortunately, the farmers don’t have, a lot of times, the education or the ability to understand the chemicals.

When we were here in the dusk fall in the Midwest, after certain amount of years that we put on more and more chemicals, the ground just doesn’t produce anymore. That really affects the birds. They’re flying up and down from North and South America, back and forth. It’s just an atrocity that nobody really knows about.

One of the big things, because of all the chemical poisoning, it’s estimated that over 300,000 women and children die every year because of coffee production. And the reason that it doesn’t get out there is because it’s the third world. They don’t know they’re dying from cancer from these chemicals.

One of the things that happen, again, that goes unreported is that the majority of all the containers from DDT to you-name-it that come in end up being used in the kitchen to store drinking water. As the farmers say, “These containers never leak,” as they say. There’s nothing they can get that holds water better that’s free. In the third world, that’s a big deal.

One of the things we hit on a little bit that’s really, I think, important for people to know is that there’s a lot of greenwashing in America.

DEBRA: Right, there is.

BARRIE GROMALA: There are people who try to show they’re doing the good thing. And again, it’s all a marketing ploy and it’s all about unfortunately the dollar.

In my opinion, one of those biggest problems is the fastest growing certification in America, which probably almost everybody has seen called the Rainforest Alliance

DEBRA: Yes.

BARRIE GROMALA: Well, that’s the one with the little green emblem and the frog in the middle. People associate Rainforest Alliance with another organization called Rainforest Foundation. The Rainforest Foundation was started by Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. The two have nothing in common, just a similar name.

The problem with Rainforest Alliance is if you look on the symbol, in order to put the symbol on your package, only 30% of the product in the package needs to be certifiable. That means the other 70% could be anything.

DEBRA: That’s just such a small percentage. I think one of the things about seals – I just need to say – is that when you see whatever the seal is (not just Rainforest Alliance), when you see a seal, it just gives you the idea that somebody checked this out and it’s all okay. And most people don’t even ever go and look and see what the seal means.

BARRIE GROMALA: Right. Again, one of these things people say, “Why is the Rainforest Alliance the fastest growing seal in America?” It’s because anybody can have it for virtually nothing.

When big corporations say, “Oh, we need to be greener,” they go out and find almost anything they can put the Rainforest Alliance certificate on. The crazy thing is that the people at Rainforest Alliance are very open. They are honest, which I do appreciate, their candor. I said, “Well, that means you get the 30% certified product down there and the other 70% can be technified full sun-grown coffee with tons of chemicals?” They said, “Yes, that’s true. That’s not what we intend.”

In my opinion, the whole certification is not organic. It just says, “We still use chemicals, but they’re less toxic chemicals” or, “We re-circulate the water when it’s possible.” In my opinion, it’s just a bunch of fluff. When things aren’t right, then it doesn’t work.

I don’t understand how you can put a brand or a certificate on a product and then a tiny 1/16th inch letters around the edge says, “Only 30% of the product meets our certification” and the certification is pretty lax to begin with.

DEBRA: Yeah, I don’t understand that too. I don’t understand that too.

Barrie, we’ve talked about the chemical aspects of non-organic coffee. But could you just paint us a little picture of what an organic coffee growing plantation is like for people who aren’t really familiar with organic?

BARRIE GROMALA: Yeah, typically to be certified organic, we have lot numbers. Every bean, every bag is traced from the farm to the coop, to the shipping container, to the roaster, to me. So there’s a paper trail of all of it.

Again growing in the tropics is hard because there are funguses that are very hard to grow organically. But luckily in the last 20 years, especially in the last decade, a lot of information from Sta. Cruz, California has been developed growing organically.

By contrast to the chemicals typically used, organic as a culture focuses on building healthy soil through techniques like composting, inner cropping, tyrosine, the introduction of appropriate biological pest control, which basically means the good bugs will eat the bad bugs, shade trees such as mangoes and banana and basically a whole system of compatible, sustainable, agricultural farming techniques that have really been developed over the last decade.

DEBRA: So the result of all of that is that you have an ecosystem that can be sustained that also produces coffee.

BARRIE GROMALA: Correct! Sustained indefinitely.

DEBRA: As opposed to destroying the whole entire ecosystem and the soil and everything else. To me, when I eat or drink something, I’m really aware of all of these things. I can know that when I’m drinking your organic coffee (which is actually sitting on my desk right now and I’m sipping it while we’re talking), I know that when I’m drinking that, what I see in my mind is this beautiful ecosystem that is being supported by this cup of coffee. I think that if people could imagine what goes behind the product, I think they would make a lot better decisions.

We need to go to break again. When we come back, we will talk more about organic coffee. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Barrie Gromala. He’s the Co-Founder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee. The website is Beantrees.com. We’ll be right back.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Barrie Gromala. He’s the Co-Founder and President of Beantrees Fine Organic Coffee at Beantrees.com.

Barrie, tell us about all your wonderful coffees. The thing that really caught my eye first was that your decaf coffee is decaffeinated with mountain water.

BARRIE GROMALA: Right. The decaf coffee in history is very unusual. The number one chemical, which probably 95% of the coffee of America is decaffeinated with, is the chemical methylene chloride.

DEBRA: …which is toxic.

BARRIE GROMALA: And if you type ‘methylene chloride’ in the internet, the number one use in America for that chemical is to embalm people when they die. So, of course, in the process, it’s said that all of the chemicals are washed and roasted off during the process of making the coffee.

We have numerous clients across the country who are chemically sensitive who said they cannot drink even half a cup of the competitor’s coffee that are decaffeinated with that chemicals versus the water process.

In the past maybe 30 to 40 years, there was only the Swiss water process, which was counterproductive because the only place they did it was in Canada on the east coast. So all the coffee we want decaffeinated had to use all the field to ship all the way across the country and then all the way back.

About six or seven years ago, a group made a mountain water process, which is actually a three step instead of a two step Swiss water. The mountain water process is actually done in the border in Mexico before it comes up into California, saving a phenomenal amount of money for transportation and fuel and it actually makes a much better comp by adding it in as a third process.

Our decaf is 99.8% decaffeinated. A lot of people can’t taste that it is actually decaffeinated. Saving with flavored coffees, a lot of people say, “Flavored coffee is no good.” Real coffee drinkers don’t drink flavored coffee. Well, whatever coffee you love is a good coffee. And we actually have a lot of customers. Our hazelnut is actually one of our bestsellers.

Unfortunately, most of the coffee flavored in America is flavored with propylene glycol, which is a binding agent. It gives you the heavy [inaudible 00:41:13] taste on your tongue. In order to maintain the organic integrity and certification, we can only use basically organic fruit and extracts.

The only complaint we ever get with our flavored coffee is that it’s not sweet enough. That’s what we’re trying to say, “We don’t want it to be sweet.”

DEBRA: That’s exactly right.

BARRIE GROMALA: And the great thing is the flavors are still amazing. Then you add in the tiny amount of your favorite sweetener, it’s as sweet as you want and you still have all the flavor.

DEBRA: And you get the choice of how sweet you want it too.

BARRIE GROMALA: Right! That’s why we only have a hazelnut and a vanilla. We don’t have all these crazy flavors because they’re not available in organic products.

DEBRA: Give me an overview of all the different kinds of coffees that you have. I want people to understand that organic coffee isn’t just like one or two types of coffee that really, not only can you get any kind of coffee that you want, it seems to me and I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but when I go to your website, it looks like there’s more coffee than I had ever seen. And it’s also really, really, really high quality in terms of its gourmet-ness.

BARRIE GROMALA: Whether it’d be organic coffee or regular coffee, there’s cheap organic coffee and cheap regular coffee and expensive. And the price is based on quality. It’s literally wormholes, broken beans, cracked beans, sized. There is so much goes into the grading of the coffee. There are grades one, two, three and four. Everything we do is grade one, which is basically the top of the line, the best that money can buy.

It’s like one of the things we talked about in the Fair Trade certification. We don’t put a Fair Trade certificate on our coffee because every single one of our coffees exceeds the Fair Trade minimums at a default because of the level of quality that we are buying.

On the same bag, if I put a Fair Trade sticker on there, the farm will actually get less money because part of that is going to the transfer organization. First, it’s going all directly to the farmers.

DEBRA: Right.

BARRIE GROMALA: And we were doing this before transferring Fair Trade ever showed up. They had a good run. When they showed up, coffee prices were so low that it was a good thing.

Now, the only thing Fair Trade coffee really is relevant for is more the commodities, the Yuban, the Folgers, the Maxwell House, things like that, which are one of the things I was looking online. And Yuban has a Rainforest Alliance.

DEBRA: Okay, a Rainforest Alliance sticker?

BARRIE GROMALA: Yes, for Yuban.

DEBRA: Okay.

BARRIE GROMALA: So again, it just ranges the gamut. What we do is we try to buy the most expensive coffee that money can buy. That’s really what makes a difference. When people drink it, they turn around and they look at you and they look at their cup and they’re like, “I’ve never tasted anything like this.”

DEBRA: I agree. I’ve never tasted anything like this either. It has an entirely different quality to it. And I wanted to mention too what one of my readers told me about you. I have never heard of you before. But when she told me about it, she also told me how she brews it. I’ll just say really quickly that she does cold brewing, which I had never heard of before. I tried it and it’s so easy.

I use a French press. I grind the beans by hand and then I put them in the French press with cold water every night. And then in the morning, my coffee is ready. And I’m in Florida, so I drink it cold anyway. It tastes so different.

BARRIE GROMALA: In my opinion, the cold brewed coffee – I’ve never tasted coffee that tasted better than cold brewing.

DEBRA: Really? Me too.

BARRIE GROMALA: It was hard to do on a large scale because of the storage. We have places like universities that we serve all the coffee on campus for the majority of it. When we had done that, we have 10 or 15 gallons or 20 gallons that go through a day and there’s just not room for four or five gallon buckets to sit overnight. So we’re looking at putting it in canes and doing other things right now.

But that is hands down – if you just type in ‘cold brewed coffee’, I think the name of the company is called Tody, they actually have cold coffee brewers that you could buy for $25.

DEBRA: Okay. I’m going to look and see. My French press is working just fine.

For those of you who don’t know what a French press is, it’s a glass container with a handle in it and a holder. It’s got this little screen, a substantial screen with a plunger. So you brew your coffee or tea. I use it for tea too. I use it for everything. And then when you’re done brewing, you just push the screen down and it holds all the coffee beans or the tea leaves down at the bottom and you pour out your coffee or tea.

I just love it! I’ve had one for years and years and years, but it never occurred to me to use it for cold coffee. And it works just perfectly.

BARRIE GROMALA: Yeah. Another way you can do it is, literally, what they call cowboy coffee. You can get a big coffee filter, put the coffee in it, tie the top together with a piece of string and throw it in the water and let it sit overnight.

DEBRA: Yeah, that’s another good way too. Yeah.

BARRIE GROMALA: You don’t have to have a French press. There are always ways to get around that.

DEBRA: Yeah, absolutely. So tell us about your different types of coffee. Continue on with that.

BARRIE GROMALA: Basically like we said, coffee grows 10 degrees north or south of equator all the way around the globe. So we have coffee everywhere from numerous areas of Mexico to Peru, which is probably the largest producer of organic coffee to Nicaragua, Guatemala, over to Ethiopia, Sumatra and Timor.

And one of our coffees, we call them Mocca Java, which is one of my favorite bestsellers. A lot of people misconstrue Mocca meaning “dark chocolate.” You can see the Mocca is spelled differently. It’s M-O-C-C-A and then Java, so that’s actually a 50-50 mix of coffee from Ethiopia and Sumatra. So we took two coffees from two opposite sides of the world and blended them together.

Mocca is one of the ports in Java, the other port city that the coffee actually comes out of. Hence, the name Mocca Java.

I think people do buy it because they think it has – the funny thing is it does have chocolate undertones, but there’s no chocolate in it.

DEBRA: Yeah, I understand. Yeah.

BARRIE GROMALA: And so French roast and house blend and espressos, those are typically ‘always’ blends of coffee. And sometimes our French roast is Mexican and sometimes it’s Peruvian because different years, the coffees are of different quality.

That way, as one crop comes in that may be better than the other, we can basically roast it the same. It’s a little bit different, but we maintain the same quality when certain growing regions don’t have such good growing years.

DEBRA: Yeah. All these different kinds of coffees, they all taste different because as you said earlier, the taste of the coffee comes from the soil. So you just need to try coffees and see the different flavors and which one you like. A cup of coffee isn’t always the same cup of coffee.

BARRIE GROMALA: Right. Now, there’s a big movement for lighter roasts. For a long time, it was dark roasts. Now there are a lot of new and upcoming companies that say dark roast is no good because they’re promoting. All they do is medium or light roast.

It doesn’t matter what anybody says. The coffee that’s the best is the one that you tasted and that you like the most.

DEBRA: Yeah. We only have 30 seconds left. Are there any final words you’d like to say?

BARRIE GROMALA: I really appreciate this opportunity. I’d love people to really explore why organic coffee is so important. It really comes down to the last thing. It’s not why, but why not.

DEBRA: Yes. Thank you so much. I learned so much today. This has been Barrie Gromala from Beantrees. It’s Beantrees.com. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. Be well.