At Halfwit, we choose to represent each bean as a unique place with it’s own culture, it’s own way of doing business, and it’s own special flavors. We believe coffee is a culinary art, much akin to wine, and seasonal like the rest of agriculture. In contemporary society, as we lose sight of the placehood of our foods, it becomes even more critical for those of us involved in their production to hold ourselves to higher standards on how we do business. Just like many global products, coffee and the people who grow it can be stepped on all the way to your cup, or they can be empowered. That's why our main philosophy at Halfwit - in sourcing, roasting, and life in general - is kindness and honesty.
The best coffees in the world are not grown by chance, they are the result of years, often decades, of cultivation and expertise. In the coffee industry, vast differences in quality, price, and transparency between commercial and craft sectors are largely due to practices in the places where coffee is grown. In order for us to purchase a given coffee, we require two things: financial security in the form of fair prices, and social responsibility towards the people who work at the farms. We pay well above commercial prices, because we know that it directly impacts quality of life. Whenever possible, we visit farms, meet with producers, and get our hands and heads inside the work that is being done at the farm level. When necessary, we utilize our partnerships with importers who have the resources to be on the ground when we can’t. In all matters, we attempt to get as much information as possible so that our decision to purchase a particular coffee is an investment we can stand behind, at the social, environmental, and quality level.
Roasting can be fairly accurately described as a 15 minute chemistry experiment, where the tools of time and temperature are used to take a hard, green seed and transform it into the roasted coffee that we know. Coffee, coming from a fruit, contains many organic compounds only present in its roasted form, and under the right conditions, the roaster will ‘unlock’ these compounds, already present and created at origin, pushing the flavors towards this or that desired profile. At Halfwit we roast on a 12 kilo Diedrich machine, in ten pounds batches, three times a week. We only roast to order, to ensure that all of our coffees arrive as fresh as possible. We taste each and every batch that we roast, because the feedback loop between tasting and roasting is critical and exciting. And because we know that coffee is a seasonal product like the rest of agriculture, we only offer coffees that are in season for their origin, even in our blends.