George Howell Coffee
The name George Howell is legendary in the coffee industry. Howell has been at the forefront of speciality coffee since the term was first used in 1974, and his work has touched nearly every aspect of the industry. His current work centers around George Howell Coffee. The name may point to the figure who started the company, but the center of their mission is turning our attention to the farmers whose work brings us these excellent coffees. George Howell Coffee sources coffees directly from growers in most cases while working together for increased social and environmental sustainability. They pay well above Fair Trade prices using a quality based scale so farmers receive payment that they deem is fair. When roasting, they aim to preserve the terroir of each coffee. Rather than blending coffees, they prefer to present each coffee on its own terms. Don’t pass up their blends, though! Seasonality for single origins will often have you waiting for the next year to come around so you can brew that coffee again, but George Howell Coffee pioneered storage in GrainPro bags and freezing green coffee. That favorite single origin may be an all-year offering!
George Howell’s work spans beyond his own companies. He worked with the United Nations and the International Coffee Organization to develop models of economic sustainability for coffee growers. He also co-founded the Cup of Excellence, a regional competition searching for the highest quality coffees. Winners see their coffee sell at auction for record breaking amounts. For his work in coffee, the Specialty Coffee Association of America presented him with a life-time achievement award. While so much has changed in specialty coffee over the years, George Howell Coffee’s greatness remains the same.