April Sustainable Spotlight: Jim’s Organic Coffee

If there’s one thing  I’d love to see flourishing in my garden, I’d have to say coffee plants. However, with our coldest days sometimes dipping below zero, I think I’m out of luck. Despite the fact that I’ll never have a coffee plantation in my yard (as long as I’m living in Massachusetts, anyhow), I can still pick up some locally roasted beans from Jim’s Organic Coffee (and that’s just as good)!

Coffee Beans
Coffee Beans

I had the pleasure of visiting Jim’s Organic Coffee, talking with owner Jim Cannell and getting a great tour and company history from Sandy Davis, the Marketing Manager. Before we sat down, Sandy offered me a cup of coffee. I was given the choice between the Jo-Jo’s Java, a medium roast and a best-selling blend, or the Sumatra French Roast, a single-origin dark roast. Though I was curious to try the most popular flavor, I stuck to my usual: a dark roast, black. Sandy poured me a tall cup of the Sumatra. Deep and bold, it is the only single origin dark roast that Jim’s offers. One word: fantastic.

Jim Cannell started the first all organic coffee roasting company in the United States. After selling that business, Jim’s Organic Coffee was born. Twenty years later, Jim’s is still committed to roasting a quality bean and maintaining quality relationships with the farmers who grow those beans. Jim himself has visited nearly all of the growers who supply him through organic co-ops across the globe.

Jim with Coffee Farmer Nelson LosAmigos Colombia 2015
Jim with Coffee Farmer Nelson LosAmigos, Colombia

Prior to even ordering, Jim’s beans undergo a vigorous testing process. Beans are sampled, roasted, and sampled again before the company will order a full batch of beans. Once ordered and received, the beans undergo sampling and “cupping” a second time. Cupping is the process of observing the aromas and taste of brewed coffee. A licensed Q Grader helps with this process. There are only about 200 Q Graders in America, and Jim’s Organic Coffee is lucky to have one in house! Q Graders are essentially professional coffee quality control experts who are able to assess quality and detect coffee defects.

Jim in Tanzania Doing Quality Control
Jim in Tanzania Doing Quality Control

Jim’s offers eight different single origin coffees, ranging from light to dark. In addition, they offer many different roasts and blends, as well as flavored coffee and decaf. Jim’s Organic can be ordered online as well as found in stores across the country. I was very surprised to find out how large Jim’s distribution was! They roast about 3,000 pounds of coffee a day, with the capacity for about 5,000 pounds. That’s a lot of coffee!

Coffee Roaster
Coffee Roaster

 All of the coffee beans that Jim’s Organic sources are fairly trade. Fair trade coffee means that growers are paid a fair wage for their beans. Though you won’t find the Fair Trade Certified seal on every bag of Jim’s Organic, Jim assured me they’re all fairly traded. “Farmers get the premium based on their quality, so the fair trade seal isn’t always necessary.” In addition to being fair-trade, all of Jim’s Organic Coffee is shade grown. This creates a bird and plant friendly environment. Birds combat pests, which helps farmers raise pesticide free crops. Snails, slugs, and other insects are also able to benefit from a shady environment and they keep the soil healthy.

Inside the Coffee Roasting Facility
Inside the Coffee Roasting Facility

Not only is Jim’s Organic Coffee committed to environmental sustainability on the farm, but all of the energy used at the roasting plant and offices in Wareham comes from wind power through an offset program. Their chaff (a by-product from roasting) is donated to local farms to be used as a compost, providing nutrition to the soil.

Renewable Energy Certificate

As if that wasn’t good enough, Jim’s Organic Coffee is dedicated to social responsibility and is always giving back. A portion of sales of their holiday blend goes towards helping those in need in coffee-growing areas worldwide. For instance, Jim’s has contributed to the Atitlan School in Guatemala to help build more classrooms, construct a library that serves not only students but the entire community, provide teacher training, and improve existing facilities, including restrooms. Jim’s Organic has helped to provide clean drinking water to an orphanage in Tanzania and most recently they have assisted in building a science lab in Uganda.  The company is currently making plans to work with schools in Mexico. Jim’s is B-Corp Certified, which means they are able meet very high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Only 1,704 companies are B-Corp Certified, very few of them being coffee roasters.

Jim's Organic Coffee
New Logo!

Jim’s Organic Coffee is a company you can feel great about buying from. They value their growers, care about the environment, and help local communities, as well as the communities their coffee comes from. You can find where to purchase their coffee here. Can’t find it in stores? Jim’s has recently rebranded. New logo, same fantastic coffee! Pick up a pound  today!
Find out more at

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