In the Heart of L.A….
Written by Gayle
Lassen’s brings you this great local product, Intelligentsia Coffee. Started in Chicago, Intelligentsia Coffee Company now has Roasting and Shipping facilities in both Los Angeles and New York. I visited their L.A. facility on a roasting hot day, and had a great time learning about the business of coffee. Ally showed me around, answered all of my questions, and gave me a great tour.
Intelligentsia Coffee imports coffee beans (the seed of the coffee fruit) from all over the world. There is a “Coffee Belt” close to the equator, where the best coffees in the world are grown. This bag of coffee beans is from Ethiopia, but they get beans from many other countries–Rwanda, Guatemala, Peru, and many more. They have started a program that they call “Direct Trade,” which is much more than just Fair Trade. They have six criteria for coffees that they buy:
- Exceptional quality
- The grower must be committed to healthy environmental practices
- The price to the grower or co-op must be 25% over the Fair Trade price
- The grower must be committed to sustainable social practices
- The financial practices throughout the trade chain must be transparent
- Intelligensia representatives must visit the farm or co-op at least once per harvest, and they usually visit three times per year.
You can see how Intelligentsia is concerned about not only the quality of the product, but the fair, open, sustainable, and healthy practices from everyone involved in the supply chain.
The day I was there, some of Intelligentsia’s people were “cupping” — tasting and testing coffee samples or blends. This is one of the many things Intelligentsia does to assure the quality of their coffee. During this process they will also figure out the best ways to roast and blend the varieties of coffee.
In this room there are many pieces of equipment used in the training that Intelligentsia provides for coffee shops. They can send their baristas to Intelligentsia to learn all of the ins and outs of serving a great cup of coffee or other coffee products.
The coffee beans go through this grill and into Rita to be roasted. It was already a hot day, but the roaster heated things up even more!
Intelligentsia roasts their coffee to order. When an order comes in, the beans are roasted, ground (if desired) and shipped on the same day. You’ll be getting the freshest coffee available!
Intelligentsia makes sure that their Organic Coffees are kept totally separate from the non-organics.
So if you are a coffee drinker, try Intelligentsia Coffees from Lassen’s. They are really nice people, and very committed to sustainable, responsible trade practices.