Americans have a loving obsession with coffee. We crave our daily fix, whether it is black, iced, with extra cream and sugar, or a shot of espresso. We crave the aroma, the taste and how coffee brings people together. However, coffee is so much more than just a beverage; it is a huge global business.
Ed Freedman of Shearwater Coffee Roasters is in the thick of this global business, but is marking his own stamp on it. Shearwater Coffee Roasters, headquartered in Trumbull, Connecticut is the first and only USDA certified organic coffee roaster in Fairfield County. Shearwater bases its business on the three core principles of organic, artisan and altruism. They pride themselves on being committed to the integrity of organic roasting. “Organic is not a product line,” says Freedman. “It’s a way of life and what we do. “
The coffee plant is often grown with harmful chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
“So many people in Fairfield County are focused on the ingredients. A lot of those pesticides get absorbed into the coffee. I did not want to sell products that would be harmful to consumers. I feel good about that,”
says Freedman. Thus, Shearwater Coffee Roasters only purchases and roasts certified organic green coffee beans. They are 100% committed to this and will not waiver from these standards.
Freedman, a Fairfield resident, coffee connoisseur and former at-home coffee roaster, turned his hobby and passion into his business and made it a whole family venture. From its inception, the whole family was involved. His wife is the Shearwater’s Director of Finance and his two daughters helped design the unique retro-industrial commercial space.
Shearwater is set up primarily as a wholesale business and they have had great success with area restaurants, cafés and markets. The Pantry, the Dressing Room and Parallel Post among many on the growing list of local artisan merchants currently selling or serving this organic coffee. When a local merchant is interested in buying Shearwater coffee, Freedman invites them to the store for a tour and a tasting. A small front section of the roasting facility is set up to look like a café. “I want them to feel comfortable and for potential merchants to be able to translate the coffee to their own environment.”
Two long rows of shelves serve as home to the four to six months of coffee inventory at the Shearwater headquarters. “This is the peak of coffee freshness,” says Freedman. Beans come from Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil, Ethiopia and Indonesia. “We only purchase high quality organic beans and I will sample roast before deciding what to buy.”
Freedman has developed the perfect science to roasting his coffee beans. In fact, it has been carefully sketched out in chalk on the black wall next to his state-of-the-art Diedrich IR-12 roaster. Shearwater beans are roasted to a medium to dark brown roast, the point at which the bean retains most of its origin flavor. The further you roast, the more of the origin flavor you lose. “It was important that we developed a signature roast,” says Freedman. “I wanted to give the people of Fairfield County something that they could identify with.”
In addition to selling organic, artisan coffee that consumers can feel good about when drinking, Shearwater is also committed to supporting charitable organizations that impact the quality of life of underprivileged individuals. Locally, Shearwater supports Wholesome Wave and a portion of all coffee sales is donated in support of their efforts.
Visit shearwatercoffeeroasters.com to discover where you can pick up a bag, or swing by the Fairfield Winter Farmer’s Market at the Greenfield Hill Grange every Saturday through the end of April from 10am – 1pm to try a cup.