Firstly, a huge thanks to our wonderful community of customers, partners, and suppliers, for supporting us for another year. It feels like 2023 has flown by far too quickly… Is anyone else wishing time could stop, just for a few hours? Being based within a few metres of both a brewery and a winery has helped provide some much-needed recuperation and downtime for our team, in what has otherwise been another enjoyable yet high-cadence year. Here are a few of our main highlights below.
Taking our Coffee Sourcing Program to Another Level
Our sourcing programme stepped up a notch this year. As a personal goal, this is something that I've been aiming for since we started. After spending several years developing relationships with coffee producers in countries such as Brazil, El Salvador, and Colombia, we can now complete the loop by handling logistics internally - meaning greater transparency and a higher price for the farmer, as well as a better understanding of what producers require and greater quality control.
This goes back to the very start of Chimney Fire Coffee, having witnessed first-hand the many challenges for coffee farms that come with fluctuating market prices, climate change affecting crop yields, and the high cost of production. We now have the opportunity to buy coffee earlier in the year (prior to harvest), allowing growers and producers to invest in their farm as well as continuing to build relationships through farm visits, WhatsApp, and questionable Spanish…
I’m very proud of the fact that, as things stand, we are now buying 82% of our coffee directly from producers, paying an average of 120% over FairTrade prices. 76% of our coffee is also purchased from growers and producers with whom we’ve worked with year-on-year for more than three years.
If you’d like to get an insight into what all this means in practice, then check out our blog documenting the journey of our new Guatemalan coffee from bean to cup, From Finca Medina to Finca Denbies - or an interview with our Brazilian producer, Carmo Coffees.
Measuring our Impact
This year we released our first ever Impact Report, which really went into the nuts and bolts of the business - The Why. As well as paying special attention to the work that goes into coffee before we receive it, it really is incredible to consider the numbers involved in consumption - in the UK alone, over 100 million cups of coffee are consumed every single day! This is even more reason to be especially mindful about where it comes from, how it is produced, and the waste generated from its consumption.
Our 2022-2023 Impact Report highlighted our impact objectives, our progress so far, and how we will look to improve before our next B Impact Assessment in two years time. A few personal highlights from the report include saving 20,000 sheets of paper a year by moving to a paperless fulfilment system, saving 20% CO2e by upgrading to a larger, more energy efficient roaster, and donating nearly £10,000 to date to 7 different charity partners.
You can find more information and download our 2022-2023 Impact Report here.
Growing the (A) Team
People are the most important part of any business, and at Chimney Fire Coffee we’re extremely fortunate to have a diverse team who share similar values.
This year we welcomed Fran, Jamie, and Anna into the fold. We have grown from six to a team of nine, providing additional support to our wholesale partners, production, and back office teams. Women make up 55% of our team (including both our coffee roasters), which is significantly above the industry average of 24%.
A huge thanks from me to each of them for their hard work this year. If you get an out of office from one, it might be because they will be recuperating off-grid at one of the awesome Unyoked cabins (these also have some pretty good coffee, by the way 😏).
And Next Year…
… Is for next year! If you do have any feedback to help us improve, please look out for our 2024 customer survey coming in January. There will be plenty of opportunities to give us your thoughts, including via a new QR code on our handwritten notes… perfect for while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil! Besides that, keep an eye out for a new Kenyan coffee that goes back to the very roots of Chimney Fire, and one for the artists - a packaging revamp that I’m so excited about, I’m resisting the urge to ask for an update as I type!
Thank you so much again to everyone who has supported us this year, and a very Happy New Year from all of us at Chimney Fire Coffee.
Dan Webber, Founder