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Jim's Organic Coffee

June 03, 2010

This week, biscotti talked to Jim Cannell, owner of Jim’s Organic Coffee.  Based in West Wareham, MA, Jim’s is a wholesale roasting company, founded in 1996.

But we didn’t say it was his *first* roasting company, because – well, it wasn’t.  In 1992, after working in the coffee industry as a green (unroasted) coffee salesman for several years, Jim founded his first coffee roasting company, specializing in organic coffees.  As a salesman, he was starting to receive offers from organic coffee farmers.  Jim had always been a self-described “Save the Rainforests Kind of Guy,” so he was happy to buy these beans and sell them to roasters, but – none were interested.  The costs involved in growing coffee organically made the beans more expensive, and today’s market for organics hadn’t been proven yet.

No problem, Jim saw an opportunity and launched his first roasting company, one of the first to specialize in roasting only organically farmed coffee.  That company became so successful that it eventually merged with a larger one, and after a while Jim departed and founded Jim’s.

For the life of us, though, biscotti could not figure out why he named his second company Jim’s Organic Coffee.  (We are not that bright.  Nor are we very good jokers.)  Jim explained that within the industry he began to receive the reputation as being a “Go-To Guy” for organic coffee, and so naming it Jim’s just made sense.

What’s unique about Jim’s roasting process is that he’s made substantial modifications to the two Turkish-built roasting machines he uses.  Neither uses a “quenching system,” which is the more common method for cooling down the beans after roasting.  Instead, Jim’s machines use an air-cooling method, which is regarded as superior by the industry.  (Quenching involves dousing the beans with a fine water mist to cool them.  This starts the oxidization process, rendering them “stale” almost instantly.)

Jim’s roasting machines also feature cast iron drums that are 3/8" thick.  In the realm of coffee roasting drums, this is a very thick measurement; it means his machines’ drums absorb the heat evenly; there are no “hot spots” and no beans are scorched.  Another statistic biscotti was particularly impressed with: Jim’s Organic Coffee's *least* experienced roaster has over eight years experience.  That’s a pretty deep bench!

Jim’s beans come from all over the world.  He doesn’t insist on buying beans of every origin just to have them.  He buys from wherever the great organic coffee is coming.

So, what’s Jim’s favorite part of being a coffee roaster?  It’s enjoying a French Press on a Saturday morning and thinking about all the people in the world enjoying his roasts right along with him.

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