Five Questions With Shawn Hamilton – ecoGrounds Green Coffee Buyer & Master Roaster

1. As the Green Coffee Buyer for ecoGrounds you have the opportunity to travel to different coffee regions in the world. Can you tell us a little bit about the regions you buy coffee from?

Most of the coffees I buy for ecoGrounds come from Central and South America.
In general these coffees are typically washed (a process that happens after the coffee is picked) so they tend to have a bright acidity, light to medium body, and a lot of subtle nuances like nuttiness and chocolate.

2. ecoGrounds is committed to being “consciously great coffee.” What does that mean to you?

It means two things. One: great coffee doesn’t happen by accident. It has to be thought through from beginning to end. Two: We are ethically sourcing coffee, supporting our partners at origin with programs like Fair Trade and Direct Trade, and implementing sustainable practices at our roasting plant.

3. You have also been involved in some projects at origin that have made a positive impact in coffee growing communities. Can you tell us a little bit more about how ecoGrounds is supporting their coffee partners?

We have completed several projects the past few years in different coffee growing regions that have had very positive outcomes. We helped fund a  nutritional program that supplied supplements to about 400 people a year. In Guatemala we built a day care center for farm workers families.  We have also rebuilt elementary schools in Costa Rica and El Salvador.  Coming up soon we will be working on a water project in Guatemala that will allow the community year round access to clean drinking water.

4. What is one thing most coffee drinkers don’t know about the sourcing process but should?

There is a lot that happens to the coffee before it ends up in your cup at the cafe or at home. The bean actually starts out as a seed inside of a coffee cherry.

Coffee cherries

Coffee cherries

After it is picked, removed from the cherry, processed, and dried it becomes a green coffee bean. 

Green coffee beans

Green coffee beans

This is how coffee arrives to the ecoGrounds facility where it is roasted, blended, and packaged for shipment to cafes . Each one of these steps has it’s own impact on the flavor of the finished coffee.

5. What is your favorite ecoGrounds coffee and why?

I have access to a lot of coffees so I tend not to drink the same thing over and over, I like to change things up. I always get excited about our featured coffees because they are something new that we don’t normally carry. I’m looking forward to Honduras Las Capucas that will be available soon!