Shipping delays may occur, due to COVID-19. Click here for more updates.

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. From July through September, our Featured Charity is South Portage Little League.

Established in 1957, South Portage Little League (SPLL) serves the Portage and surrounding communities with youth baseball and softball education and competitive game play. This volunteer-based organization has strong foundations in keeping youth athletics in our community. With scholarships available for players with demonstrated financial needs, their goal is that all Portage-area children should have an opportunity to play ball.

Due to COVID-19, South Portage Little League has made many changes to their regular season for 2020. With the lessening of restrictions, they were able provide free “sandlot” ball games in July and August for local youth (regardless of their previous involvement with SPLL). Those interested in participating are encouraged to follow them on Facebook for game details.

Water Street is proud to support South Portage Little League and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037
West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders – $1,270
Big Brothers Big Sisters – $875
YWCA Kalamazoo – $452

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. From April through June, you helped raise $452 for YWCA Kalamazoo.

YWCA Kalamazoo is a nonprofit association affiliated with YWCA USA. Founded in 1885 to provide a safe residence for young working women, the organization is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

In the past years, through its focus on the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA has addressed disparities in our community through evidence-based and holistic programming.

Through direct service, outreach, and community education, the YWCA reaches over 7,500 women, children and families each year. In addition, the YWCA focuses on 1) providing services for victim of abuse (domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking), 2) providing high quality childcare for families, 3) advocating for race and gender equity through system change and 4) promoting maternal and child health to improve birth outcomes.

During the month of April, Water Street is participating in YWCA’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, we will help to spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, the “A Cup of Prevention” cup stickers. Water Street is proud to be an active part of helping to build more insight and conversation about many important issues and the related services available at the YWCA Kalamazoo.

Water Street is proud to support YWCA Kalamazoo and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Two Ways to Give

1) Donate your Loyalty Reward Points at a Water Street Café either in-person at a Drive-Thru or through our mobile order app.
2) You can also donate directly to YWCA Kalamazoo on their website here: ywcakalamazoo.org/donate

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037
West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders – $1,270
Big Brothers Big Sisters – $875

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

Update May 20, 2020: We now have a NEW portal for placing Home Delivery orders. PLACE ORDERS HERE.

These are unusual times. As a small, local business we’re doing our best to adapt to safety precautions as well as to our customer’s needs. To that end, Water Street is going to start offering contact-less home delivery.

How it works

Orders can be placed anytime on Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday for next day delivery. Fill your shopping cart as usual with all your favorite Water Street Coffee Joint goodies. You’ll be prompted for your delivery, payment and contact information. Once paid, you’ll receive an email confirmation. Then, sit back and wait for your Water Street consumables to arrive the next day between 12:00pm and 4:00pm. You’ll receive a text once your delivery is on your porch.

FAQs

Wait, aren’t we all supposed to stay home?

Yes, we are, but all of the executive orders consider food pick up and food deliveries essential. We’re allowed to bring you food, and we want to!

Of course, our top priority is everyone’s safety and well being. We’re following all recommended protocol for safety. Additionally, all of our staff currently working have chosen to be here for you. None of them have been required to work. 

We are still just as passionate about creating delicious food and high-quality coffee and getting it to you. That hasn’t changed.

What can I order?

Anything that is available in the HOME DELIVERY portal can be delivered to your home! Right now, this includes all current food menu items, bagged coffee and loose-leaf tea. At this time, we cannot deliver espresso beverages.

How does the ordering and delivery schedule work?

Place your order any time on Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday for a next day delivery.  Which means food will arrive on your door step on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. The delivery window is between 12:00pm and 4:00pm. This means your food may arrive any time during that window. We’ll text you once your order has arrived, so you can retrieve it.

Can I order for delivery to a place of business?

You sure can. There is a spot for delivery directions when placing your order if you need to specify which entryway is best. Deliveries are contact-less, so just like a home delivery, we’ll leave your order at your place of business and immediately text you.

What happens next?

Your delicious Water Street consumables will be transported in our refrigerated vehicles and will arrive prepared and cold. Pop them in your refrigerator right away.  When you’re ready to enjoy, we’ve included directions for items that need re-heating, think breakfast burrito or spinach turnover. For items like fruit salad or chocolate walnut oat bars, these are ready to eat! Plate up your desired portion and enjoy!

Where do you deliver?

We have an eight mile delivery radius from our kitchen located at 6938 Elm Valley Drive. This includes all of downtown Kalamazoo and most of Portage and Mattawan. The ordering system will alert you if your location is outside the delivery radius.

Is there a minimum order?

No, but there is a $10 delivery fee for orders under $40, so we recommend stocking up. Most of our prepared food items will last about a week in your refrigerator, so we recommend “shopping” for the entire week in one delivery.  Also, if you’re not sure what else you need– toss an extra bag of coffee into your cart. You certainly don’t want to run out of beans!

What if I have questions about my order?

Once your order is placed, you will receive a confirmation email. There is also a spot on your order to make notes; this information goes directly to our team at the kitchen. If you’d like to speak to someone in the kitchen, call on Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings between 6:00 am and 11:00 am at 269-373-6904.

Can I place a Home Delivery Order order using your app?

Not at this time.

Where do I place my order again?

Place your online order here!

How do I heat all this delicious food?

Heating instructions will be included with your delivery. In case you misplace them you can also find instructions here.

As we continue to stay vigilante in our approach to re-open safely and in accordance to local, state and federal guidelines, please see the following updates as they pertain to our cafés, kitchen, roaster and administrative facilities. To learn more about changes to café hours, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or visit our café page.

 

Date: July 29, 2020. 6:00am EST

We have been so excited to see our customers inside again! Remember, we must require customers to wear masks to enter our cafés, according to Executive Order No. 2020-147. Thank you for your understanding and kindness towards our baristas during this time. Stay safe and healthy!


Date: July 2, 2020. 6:00am EST

Effective Thursday, July 2 – According to Executive Order No. 2020-143, alcoholic beverages ordered at our Downtown, Oakland and Portage locations will be delivered via table service.


Date: June 8, 2020. 6:00am EST

Effective Monday, June 8 – All Water Street Cafés officially re-open to the public! According to local government guidelines, we have implemented many safety precautions, including limiting our building capacities by 50%. Please read additional safety measures below.

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

Introduction
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It has spread from China to many other countries around the world, including the United States. Depending on the severity of COVID-19’s international impacts, outbreak conditions—including those rising to the level of a pandemic—can affect all aspects of daily life, including travel, trade, tourism, food supplies, and financial markets.

To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19.

About COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can cause illness ranging from mild to severe and, in some cases, can be fatal. Symptoms typically include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some people infected with the virus have reported experiencing other non-respiratory symptoms. Other people, referred to as asymptomatic cases, have experienced no symptoms at all. According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

How COVID-19 Spreads
Although the first human cases of COVID-19 likely resulted from exposure to infected animals, infected people can spread SARS-CoV-2 to other people. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to-person, including:

■ Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
■ Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has SARS-CoV-2 on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (i.e., experiencing fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this type of asymptomatic transmission with this new coronavirus, but this is also not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

With this knowledge in hand Water Street Coffee Joint is committed to providing a safe workplace and a safe place for customers to enjoy high quality food and beverage. As we prepare to re-welcome the public into our spaces here are the precautions and measures we are implementing to keep everyone safe.

Infection Prevention Measures

Prescreening
Employees. Every employee must complete a pre-shift screening and self report any COVID-19 symptoms, out of area travel, or potential exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 patient. In the event of an affirmative response to any of the pre-screening questions, the employee will not be allowed to begin work. To return to work they must be fever free for 72 hours without use of medicine that reduces fever, other symptoms have improved (for example, when cough and shortness of breath have improved) and at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Vendors. All vendors must respond to a pre-screening health questionnaire before gaining access to facilities. In the event of an affirmative response, vendors are to contact Water Street Coffee by phone to make alternative arrangements.

Customers. All customers are required to review a pre-screening questionnaire. In the event of an affirmative response, they are not to access the building. Orders should be placed remotely and arrangements made for contactless home delivery.

Hand Washing
Employees. All employees have been trained on proper hand washing protocol. They wash their hands at the start of each shift, after using the restroom, and after contact with any high volume touch points. They commit to washing their hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and single use paper towels are provided and fully stocked at all hand washing stations.

Vendors. Vendors are given access to our fully stocked hand washing stations. They are to wash their hands upon arrival and after any contact with high touch points.

Customers. Customers have access to fully stocked hand washing sinks in our restrooms.

Cleaning
Employees. Will continue all our health department recommended cleaning protocols, but with increased frequency and thoroughness. All contact surfaces are disinfected every 15 minutes. Sanitizer buckets are changed after every complete contact surface disinfection. Our quat sanitizer for dishes and bleach water preparations are approved by the CDC for this use. Staff are disinfecting high-touch places like doorknobs, countertops, light switches, steering wheels, coffee scoops, refrigerator handles, portafilters, coffee brewing equipment, credit card swipers, telephones, chairs, tables and the like every 15 minutes or more frequently if necessary.

Personal Protective Equipment
Employees. In accordance with executive order, all of our staff are provided with face masks and are required to wear them while at work. They have been instructed on proper wearing and washing protocols. Staff are also provided access to single use gloves and are required to wear them when handling high touch items.

Vendors. All vendors are required to wear masks when entering a Water Street Coffee facility.

Customers. All customers are required to wear masks when entering a Water Street Coffee facility or utilizing our patio areas. Masks may be removed when the customer is seated and dining, but must be replaced upon departure or any trip away from their seat including using the restroom.

Social Distancing
Employees. Employees have been trained on social distancing and maintain six feet of separation wherever possible.

Vendors. Must maintain six feet of separation whenever possible.

Customers. Customers are required to adhere to social distancing practices, by reading and adhering to in shop signage and social distancing floor markings. Tables and chairs have been marked and spaced to allow for 6+ feet of social distancing. In cafe capacity is currently capped at 50%. Our temporary capacities are posted and customers must abide by the capacity limits.

Additional reduced contact points

Plexi-glass safety shields. These barriers are installed at all in store point of sale areas to reduce contact at the time of check out protecting employees and customers.
Contactless payment. We request that customers use contactless payment methods whenever possible. Placing orders in the Water Street Coffee Joint app, online or over the phone are preferred. Apple pay is also available.
Condiments and silverware. Water Street Coffee Joint employees will dispense condiments for customers to reduce touch points and condiment island congregation.
Travel mugs. We will continue to serve all beverages in our dishware or to-go cups.
Menus. We have eliminated re-usable menus. Please consult large scale in-store postings or review the menu online or through the app.
Optional Signatures. In the instance that we need to deliver coffee or respond to a service call, signatures on service forms or receipts will be optional.

Designated Compliance Coordinator
Each shift has a designated COVID-19 Compliance Coordinator. They are responsible for ensuring compliance with all actions described in this Preparedness and Response plan during the shift. They are also responsible for monitoring daily operations and appropriately escalating any safety issues to management.

Customers that notice any safety issues or areas for improvement may speak with the on-shift Compliance Coordinator. If they would like to submit concerns remotely they may do so by email operations@waterstreetcoffee.com or calling the business office at 269-488-7178.

Remote work and travel
With the exception of essential frontline staff, all employees able to work remotely should continue to do so. All Water Street Coffee related travel is on hold indefinitely; this includes airline travel, as well as interstate and non-essential local travel. Water Street local deliveries will occur as regularly scheduled, with delivery drivers and maintenance technicians executing all required hand washing and sanitizing protocols.

Reporting COVID-19
Water Street Coffee Joint is committed to the safety of our employees and customers. If someone entering our facility poses a threat to the health and safety of others in the building we will require them to leave.

Employees are required to immediately call the Manager On Call if a positive COVID case enters any Water Street Coffee facility. Within 24 hours Water Street Coffee Joint will notify: (1) The local public health department, and (2) Any co-workers, contractors, suppliers, or customers, to the best of our ability, who may have come into contact with the person with a confirmed case of COVID-19, while maintaining confidentiality/anonymity of the infected person whenever possible.

A positive case will result in the immediate closure of the facility and a thorough cleaning in compliance with FDA and CDC recommendations.

Plan Updates and Expiration
This Plan responds to the COVID-19 outbreak. As this pandemic progresses, Water Street Coffee Joint will update this Plan and its corresponding processes.

This Plan will expire upon conclusion of its need, as determined by Water Street Coffee Joint and in accordance with guidance from local, state, and federal health officials.


Date: May 26, 2020. 7:00am EST

Our Borgess Café officially re-opens! Plus, our Oakland Café will now open at 6am Monday – Friday. See our Borgess Café hours below. For individual café hours, click here.

Borgess Café
Monday – Friday: 7am – 2pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7:30am – 2pm


Date: May 14, 2020. 8:00am EST

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have noticed delays in shipping from our carrier services over the past couple of weeks. Our Water Street Coffee production team works diligently to ensure customer orders are prepared and shipped in a timely manner. If you have questions regarding tracking information of your items, please contact our production department at (269) 488-2802 or via email at orders@waterstreetcoffee.com.


Date: May 11, 2020. 8:00am EST

Effective today we are extending our café hours! Our Portage and Oakland locations will be open until 6pm daily. And our Sprinkle Rd Drive-Thru will be open until 5pm daily. Full café hours are below.

Oakland Café (online or phone order pick-up only)
Monday – Sunday: 7:00am – 6:00pm

Portage Drive-Thru
Monday – Friday: 6:30am – 6:00pm
Saturday – Sunday: 7:00am – 6:00pm

Sprinkle Rd Drive-Thru
Monday – Saturday: 6:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 7:00am – 5:00pm

Downtown Café (online or phone order pick-up only)
Monday – Saturday: 7:30am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Borgess Café
closed


Date: May 10, 2020. 8:00am EST

Our Portage Café will now have a table on the patio near the front door available for customers to walk to pick up their items. Choose “patio” at checkout on our mobile app and call us when you arrive.


Date: April 20, 2020. 7:30am EST

Water Street Coffee Joint Downtown has re-opened with the following hours:
Monday – Saturday: 7:30am – 5pm
Sunday: 8am – 5pm.


Date: March 22, 2020. 12:00pm EST

Effective Sunday, March 22 – Water Street Coffee Joint Downtown will be closed indefinitely.

Effective Sunday, March 22 at 12:00pm – Water Street Coffee Joint Borgess will be closed indefinitely.

Effective Monday, March 23 – Water Street Coffee Joint Portage will transition to Drive Thru Only.

Effective Monday, March 23 – Water Street Coffee Joint Oakland and Portage will no longer be serving take out beer and wine.


Date: March 18, 2020. 4:00pm EST

No Water Street employee is required to work at this time. Water Street Coffee is operating in compliance with all federal and state mandates related to COVID-19. We are open at this time for employees that want to and/or need to work.


Date: March 16, 2020. 2:30pm EST

Café Hours

Effective Monday, March 16 all coffee shops will close at 5pm everyday. For individual café hours, click here.

Effective Monday, March 16 at 3pm all coffee shops will close their dining areas and will be take-out orders only. In compliance with a statewide order, customers will not be allowed to dine in.

Action Water Street Coffee is Taking:

1) All employees are washing hands frequently.
2) Disinfecting counters, tables and high-traffic surfaces with the appropriate sanitizing solution.
3) Monitoring personal health.
4) Temporarily not accepting customer-owned mugs. We will, however, still honor the travel mug discount.
5) Access to cream, sugar and other coffee condiments has been removed. Our baristas will individually add by request.
6) Training classes, all-staff meetings, roaster tours, food tastings and the like are all postponed indefinitely.
7) All staff that are capable of working remotely will do so.
8) All wholesale coffee calibrations and non-essential maintenance are postponed indefinitely.
9) All Water Street Coffee related travel is on hold indefinitely; this includes airline travel, as well as interstate and non-essential local travel. Water Street local deliveries will occur as regularly scheduled, with delivery drivers executing all required hand washing and sanitizing protocols.

How Can You Help Stay Healthy?

1) Wash your hands frequently.
2) Stay home if you are sick.
3) Cover coughs and sneezes.

Ways You Can Purchase Goods:

1) TAKE-OUT
2) Use low-contact payments, like Apple Pay.
3) Use our ORDERING APP to order and pay ahead for pick-up.
For DESKTOP, click here.
For MOBILE, download from App Store or Google Play.
4) Order bagged coffee through our online Coffee Subscription and have it shipped to your home.
5) Purchase gift cards for use at a later time.
6) Visit Drive-Thru’s at the following locations:
PORTAGE DRIVE-THRU: 245 W. Centre Ave. | ph: (269) 271-1900
SPRINKLE RD DRIVE-THRU: 2603 S. Sprinkle Rd. | ph: (269) 532-5325

ALCOHOL PURCHASES AT PARTICIPATING CAFES:
With the exception of sealed wine and beer to take away, all alcohol sales will cease during this time.

As we lock arms with our baristas, roaster staff, kitchen workers and administrative team to navigate the unknown weeks ahead, we ask for your partnership with Water Street and other local small businesses to support them how you can.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

Water Street Coffee

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate directly to our Featured Charity. From January through March 2020, you helped raise $875 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In 1958, representatives from the Kalamazoo Junior Chamber of Commerce and Kalamazoo Public Schools founded Big Brothers of Greater Kalamazoo. In the mid-70s they added services for girls and became Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Since then, they have grown to become the largest BBBS in Michigan, providing children, ages 6-18, one-to-one mentoring in Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun, and Van Buren counties.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentoring services to over 800 children every year. Whether it’s playing sports together, going on a hike, reading books, grabbing a slice of pizza or simply giving advice and inspiration, the goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to empower children to achieve their full potential. The BBBS staff also work with volunteers to provide ongoing training and support to promote longevity and to ensure child safety.

After just one year with a mentor, 98% of children report increased self-confidence, perform better in school and 100% of children intend to graduate high school.

At the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, taking place February and March across Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun and Van Buren Counties, bowlers (serious and less serious) raise funds and join the BBBS team for a bowling party to celebrate their successful fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Learn more here.

Water Street is proud to support Big Brothers Big Sisters and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037
West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders – $1,270

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

 

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. With your help, we raised $1,270 for West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders.

In 1994, Borgess Health Alliance and Bronson Healthcare Group opened the doors of West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders (WMCC). This fulfilled the hospitals’ joint vision to provide a cutting edge treatment facility for the community. The new center immediately made a positive difference in the health and lives of area residents and the collaboration ensured that the best treatment capabilities.

“Our vision,” says Anne Witherspoon, Developmental Director, “is to deliver exceptional, comprehensive and integrated care to patients throughout the region.” On average, WMCC sees 4,000 new patients each year. In addition, approximately 500 patients walk through the doors of the downtown Kalamazoo facility every day.

In the 25th year of service, WMCC has gone through many advancements to provide the best possible cancer and hematology care to the patients in this community. Currently, more than 90% of individuals diagnosed with cancer in the region receive their treatment at WMCC.

This summer, WMCC partnered with the Kalamazoo Growlers to have a “Strike Out Cancer Night” where thousands of their patients were treated to a free night at the ballpark. WMCC and the Growlers anticipate holding this event again in 2020.

Water Street is proud to support West Michigan Cancer Center & Institute for Blood Disorders and hopes you can help us in this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329
Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) – $1,037

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

Farmer's Market

Check out our list of local produce and farms!

Crisp Country Acres – Holland, MI

Great Lakes Potato Chips – Traverse City, MI

Harrison Pickle Company – Kalamazoo, MI

Jack and Jill’s Maple Farm – Paw Paw, MI

Michigan Egg – Kalamazoo, MI

The Old Home Place- LaGrange, IN

Shades of Lavender- Mattawan, MI

Silverbeet – Bangor, MI

Read more about Silverbeet!

2019 Costa Rica Origin Trip

By Seth Chapman (Roast Master)

Once again, on Water Street’s behalf, I set out for the coffeelands of Costa Rica, this time to expand and strengthen my relationships with both the coffee and the producers who put so much love and attention into their crop. This was my second time visiting, although this year’s visit began a few weeks earlier in the year which would allow me to experience some things I had not in years past, such as a wet mill in operation and parts of some coffee farms with trees still loaded with coffee cherries. The trip was full of adventure, friendships both new and old, and plenty of opportunity to dive in and immerse myself in all the details and subtleties of Costa Rican coffee, including how the harvest is going this year, what varieties and coffee processing methods are favored by each producer, what this year’s coffees are tasting like and what scores they are achieving, one-on-one time with roasters and coffee producers, and of course, cuppings of coffee from a handful of Costa Rica’s finest producers.

Video by Josiah Holroyd

Although I visited West Valley and Tarrazu, two of Costa Rica’s growing regions, the theme of lower yields is country-wide. This is not unexpected, though. The Arabica coffee plant, coffea arabica, goes through natural cycles of production where every two years there is an increase in production, followed by lower yields the next season. The 2018/2019 crop was one of more modest proportions, down about 20%, but that does not mean a decrease in quality. In fact, quality can be increased during low production years as the plant puts its nutrients into fewer cherries, allowing them to mature with more full, bigger flavor. During my time there I cupped 34 different coffees. A rather wide range of coffees were evaluated, some great for blending, others superb examples of the full potential of Costa Rican coffee. I visited a number of farms and producers during the week of March 3, 2019, as well as Cafe Imports’ new office located in the capitol of San Jose. What I found interesting is that each producer and each farm is, in essence, working toward the same goal: producing quality coffee for export. That being said, there are so many steps and opportunities along the way for each producer to implement their own techniques and practices that they employ on their farm which they believe will result in the best coffee they can produce. This yields more income, a healthier and happier life for both the producers and the surrounding environment, and more freedom to continue to excel, experiment and explore.

Tarrazú, Costa Rica

Edgar and Martin of El Pilon and La Chumeca instantly recognized me as I arrived at their farm, and approached me with open arms. The amount of appreciation and level of genuine care they show toward myself and others in the group is palpable. They are truly happy to share their work with others and take you in as one of their own. They also strongly believe in producing naturally processed coffee. So much so that they utilize the process for 100% of their crop. This process uses much less water than other processing methods, and is what makes their setup so simple and effective. This time around was fun because not only did I get to witness the process firsthand, but I was actually asked to help! The two are also heavily experimenting with alternative processing methods such as anaerobic fermentation and extended drying times.

Carlos, Anna, and their son Gabriel run La Pira de Dota in Costa Rica’s Tarrazu region. They are serious about coffee, but are always smiling and poking fun at each other, keeping the mood light and joyful. Their approach to coffee processing involves farming without any pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, controlling pests naturally. Carlos utilizes local microorganisms to create a liquid fertilizer that can be applied to coffee plants to control pests and accelerate growth. The solution is an environmentally friendly alternative to agrochemicals, reducing environmental contamination, production costs, and improving social relations in the farming community.

I also spent some time with Daniela Guttirez of La Montana de Tarrazu, and Marcia and Hugo Naranjo of La Candelilla. Truly inspirational producers. Cupping and evaluation of coffees happened at Oxcart Coffee, an extension of Cafe Imports, based in San Jose. This trip would not have been possible without my coffee family there, in particular Matt, Francine, and Luis. Their new Oxcart office greatly increases their presence in Costa Rica, and also serves as a “place to process and evaluate samples, meet with producers, and file all the necessary paperwork involved in shipping green coffee internationally, but it also gives us a hummingbird’s-eye view of the year’s crop and the producers’ triumphs and tribulations all year long.” Being able to take part in this year’s evaluation of coffees is an honor, and also gives me the opportunity to book or purchase coffee on the spot. A truly humbling opportunity.

West Valley, Costa Rica

La Perla del Cafe, located in Costa Rica’s West Valley, is operated by Don Carlos, a third-generation producer. Carlos strongly believes in maintaining a pure line of coffee variety so as not to mix varietals, and thus flavor and coffee characteristics. He does this by paying close attention to pruning and plot renovation, and not wasting time with old coffee plants. Carlos draws the analogy of production between coffee plants and cows; calves are much better producers of milk than an old cow, and the same applies to coffee plants.

Perhaps the crowning jewel was my return and reuniting with the Aguilera Brothers. I am greeted by Felipe and Juan, two of the brothers. Instantly Felipe recognized me from last year’s trip, and he gave me a big thumbs up and a big, friendly smile. Felipe speaks a little bit of English, so I was able to chat with him for a bit. He showed me his new coffee roaster that he acquired a few months back, and explained how he roasts coffee for his neighbors and sells it at a local market. Before departing I presented him with a bag of his coffee from Finca Angelina that Water Street purchased and roasted from last harvest. The highest quality green coffee is sold for export, so it isn’t often that the Aguilera Brothers are able to drink their own coffee. This makes for a very special opportunity. Bringing things full circle for both roaster and producer is a beautiful and unique experience, and I am happy to give back.

This is our fourth consecutive year working with the Aguilera brothers. Cupping out the coffees from the farms we visited and engaging in impactful conversations with fellow coffee industry professionals and the producers themselves brings things full circle, and makes real relationships evolve and grow. It is truly how we make our decision in purchasing our Costa Rican coffee for our special Fresh Crop program. It is our goal to serve these coffees to you in the most honest, transparent fun way, so you can get as authentic an experience as I did in Costa Rica, right here in Kalamazoo.

Visit the Shop for Costa Rica Honey Finca Angelina

To read about Costa Rica Origin Trip from 2018, CLICK HERE.

Give back with every sip!

When you sign up for Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards, you earn three reward points for every dollar you spend at any of our café locations. These points can be redeemed for discounts, OR you can choose to donate a portion directly to our Featured Charity. With your help, we raised $1,037 for Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN).

Kalamazoo County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council (KCAN) started in March 1976 by volunteers from the Service Club (now Junior League of Kalamazoo). The council was formed in response to the concern of many agencies within the county about the issues of child abuse and neglect. Their mission is “to educate and advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect and prevent child abuse before it happens.”

KCAN provides a variety of community and educational programs, including sexual abuse prevention programs for young children and specialized training to teach professionals who work with children how to identify and report child abuse and neglect. Other programs include public awareness campaigns, special events/outreach activities and partnering with local and state government officials to advocate for child safety policies and more.

Every year, KCAN invites people and businesses interested in child safety to their largest annual fundraiser, the Super Hero 5k Fun Run/Walk. This event is fun for avid runners and casual walkers! Plus, 100% of the proceeds stay in Kalamazoo County to help educate children and mandated reporters on helping keep kids safe.

Water Street is extremely happy to support the amazing work of KCAN. Our hope is that you can join us in supporting this effort.

Supporting charities throughout Kalamazoo county

Water Street’s Loyalty Rewards program began in 2018 and features a new charity each quarter. With the help of our customers, we’ve been able to support the important work being done in our community by the following non-profit organizations:

Bronson Children’s Hospital – $1,196
Can-Do Kitchen – $945
Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo – $1,329

Check out our Giving page to learn how your organization can apply to be considered as our next Loyalty Rewards Featured Charity.

 

 

 

Name of Business

Western Michigan University (WMU) Dining Services

Type of Business

University Food Service

Location

Kalamazoo, MI

About WMU Dining Services

WMU Dining Services is a team dedicated to providing quality food, excellent service and exceptional value while advancing the University mission and goals. Dining Services operates four Dining Centers located in or near residence halls and eight Campus Cafés within academic buildings. These locations serve students, staff and faculty throughout the year in a wide range of capacities. The Dining Centers offer all-you-care-to-eat fare and Campus Cafés provide quick grab’n go options.

The Partnership

WMU Dining Services consistently tries to provide higher quality, local products to the University community—many of whom were already familiar with Water Street’s Cafés as local study or meeting spots. Water Street provided direction throughout the entire transition, including consultation on design, layout, matching proper equipment with location needs and marketing support. This collaboration has extended beyond just being a supplier of coffee, with Water Street and WMU Dining Services partnering on a number of University events and promotions. Water Street Coffee can currently be found at all eight of WMU Dining Services’ Campus Cafés and all four Dining Centers. Coffee sales at the Campus Cafés increased by 43% during the first semester that Water Street Coffee was offered on campus, in comparison to the previous year’s sales. The Fall 2020 Semester marks the third year Water Street’s Fair Trade Organic coffees are brewed throughout campus.

Services Include

• Coffee
• Delivery
• Training
• Equipment
• Maintenance, Service and Repairs
• Consultation for New Locations
• Marketing Support

 

‘Why Water Street?’ In Their Words

Community Mindedness and Engagement

“Besides the fact that Water Street is a local and beloved brand within the community, the staff’s immediate willingness to participate in community events, with enthusiasm, elation and often donated samples/prizes makes them a cut above the rest. Staff presence is genuine and positive, and they create an environment where both visitors and workers can feel how much Water Street cares about the community and their customers.”

Responsive & Flexible

“Water Street has consistently responded to requests and concerns in a timely fashion, often responding even within the same day. They are willing to work with our ordering system and are flexible as we expand our services. Through and through, Water Street works with us and has proved to be a phenomenal partner.”

Quality & Expertise

“The intention that Water Street has regarding service concerns and brewing functions on site strongly shows their emphasis on quality. This, coupled with their elaborate roasting specifications for each variety, really supports Dining Services’ effort to brew quality coffee for our students and community, without the prerequisite of each WMU Dining employee being a coffee connoisseur.”

Testimonial (Straight from the Students)

“I love that the coffee served on campus is now Water Street Coffee. It’s great stuff and I love to support local franchises, as much as possible!”
“It’s the best with the beans roasted to the right degree.”
“Water street is one of my favorite coffee places, so it is nice to have on campus.”
“The coffee is very enjoyable and always hot and fresh. ”
“It’s sweet, nutty, and great to drink black. Perfect start to the day, and goes great with bacon!”