I was swinging my way down through the Annapolis Valley over the weekend and I saw a sign on the side of the highway that made me stop and pause. The sign was for the Just Us! Coffeehouse & Roastery and mentioned a Fair Trade Museum, as well. Since I’m such an inquisitive capuchin, I figured that I had to make my way over and check it out.
If you’re familiar with the Maritimes at all, then you probably already know that Just Us! coffee is more than just a local coffee supplier. They are at the forefront of trying to promote fair trade worldwide. In fact, they initially set-out in 1995 to become Canada’s first Fair Trade coffee roaster so that they could put “People and the Planet before Profits” (i.e. their mission statement)…not just here, but around the world.
So they set out to contact small, organic coffee farmers from around the world and started using them as their suppliers. Eventually, they not only got coffee from these means, but also began to get tea, chocolate, and sugar. And the great thing is that they actually went through with what they said they were going to do.
Let’s face it…it’s quite the bold initiative to show that the coffee business, and all businesses, could be done differently locally and globally. They wanted to be true to their convictions and consistent with the standards set out for Fair Trade co-ops in the Third World.
- Work for the common good
- Environmentally responsible
- Accountable to members
It’s this incredible passion that makes Just Us! so popular around these parts. What they do isn’t just a gimmick or a marketing ploy, it’s a way of life. All you have to do is look around their Fair Trade Museum and you can see the passion they possess. This isn’t simply a couple of pictures on the wall; it’s a number of stories and detailed explanations of why Fair Trade is better for the planet. It’s quite the undertaking and it’s free to enter and look around!
Now here’s the interesting part about this particular building: their roastery, chocolate workshop, head office, museum, AND one of their coffeehouses are all located in there. While they weren’t making chocolate on this particular day, I was able to see into the roastery itself (it’s viewable from inside the Fair Trade Museum). I’d like to see it again while it was actually in production!
So you’re asking yourself: but how is the coffee? Well, all of their coffees are high-grown, specialty grade organic Arabicas, selected for their clean and distinctive flavours. They purchase green beans from producers in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, SouthEast Asia, and Africa seasonally, during harvest time, and them store them in a controlled atmosphere to maintain freshness.
As they say on their own website:
Organic coffee production requires traditional farming wisdom and hard work. The farmers and workers that we buy from put their hearts and bodies into growing and processing high quality coffees and we feel that it is very important that we honour their efforts and put the same diligence into our work to create quality roasted and brewed coffee products.
In other words, kids…the coffee is dang good!!
Just Us! isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill coffeehouse. It’s a mission…it’s a belief…it’s a way of life. If you’d like to support them, you can find them on various social media outlets:
Just Us! on Facebook
Just Us! on Twitter
Just Us! on Pinterest
Have any ideas on where in the Maritimes I should show up next? Know of a great local business that you think should get some exposure? Are you a small business owner who would like to promote your product? I would LOVE to hear from you!
Just send me an email at RomanChimpsky@gmail.com and let me know!