May 16, 2013

Meet Our Friends: Jeremy Tooker

Jeremy Tooker continues to be one of the most influential figures in the flourishing coffee community of San Francisco. He founded Four Barrel Coffee in 2008 and it has become an attraction to people from all over the world. We first met in 2010 when we asked him to set up his coffee cart at our Meet Your Maker pop-up market and have been great friends ever since. Jeremy is one of the most driven people we know. He continually works to better his business as well as his product. In doing so, Jeremy is dedicated to sourcing the highest quality green coffee by personally traveling all over the world to buy directly from coffee farmers.

Jeremy headed out on these expeditions before phrases like “social sustainability” and “direct-trade” became hipster green terms and only a handful of others were directly buying their coffee. Embarking on these trips has allowed Jeremy to personally check the quality of his product as well as making sure that the coffee farmers are paid their share in full. Through this process, he is able to build lasting relationships with coffee farms around the world and help in their communities.

Each expedition is unique, but Jeremy’s favorites are his trips to Ethiopia. Once he lands, he needs to find a driver that is willing to undertake a six hour car ride to the coffee mill and then a four hour car ride to the actual coffee farm. After he arrives, the farm will buy a lamb to cook for Jeremy and they celebrate for the night. He will camp out in the jungle for the next couple of nights, allowing him to take in all the beauty Ethiopia has to offer.

Sourcing coffee this way requires relationships that are built on mutual respect and a passion for quality. It is time consuming, expensive and plain hard work, but it is the one way that Jeremy can personally vouch for his coffee and maintain these partnerships. We commend him for his dedication to quality and creating social, economical, and ecological sustainability in communities all over the world.