Allow us to present a "State of the Union" blog post. 1000 Faces turned a delicious 8 in 2014. A wood-horse year indeed, ripe with new pastures and a galloping pace. Never before did our mantra of 'becoming more of yourself' ring so true when it came to doing good work. As we came to the outer rings and experienced the uncertainty of wild, our tribe moved together like never before. The State of 1000 Faces Coffee has never been better.
2014 began the year in jungles of Brazil & ended in the Blue Ridge Mountains. After back-to-back Good Food Awards, the city of Atlanta embraced us with arms wide open. Suddenly our coffee was at the Atlanta Airport, farmers markets, gourmet bakeries, corner grocery stores, four-star hotels, and other culinary gems around the city. In addition to Atlanta, we started sending more coffee to New York City, New Orleans, Asheville, and other fine cities within our 2 day shipping area.
As the year progressed we launched a bottled cold brew program, revamped our packaging, judged the Good Food Awards, participated in the Cup of Excellence, took second place in the Brewer's Cup, partnered with Synesso, launched a new website, added great new employees to our team, visited with producer partners from Nicaragua, and started a doughnut & coffee shop in Asheville, North Carolina called Vortex Doughnuts.
In a sense, 2014 was a breakthrough year for 1000 Faces. Holding true to our clear vision propelled our work to new horizons. As the new year approaches, we proudly prepare ourselves for a ninth year of doing what we love to do. We have much to be thankful for and even more to look forward to. 2015 will be a continuation of positive growth and we thank you dearly for standing by our side in support of our mission. The community you create on a daily basis has encouraged us to keep the course and continue striving to make 1000 Faces a business of unmatched integrity. We would not be here without your continued commitment to high quality, carefully sourced, carefully roasted coffee.
Over the next couple of years, we will continue developing our coffee program as you have come to expect. To be a bit more specific, here are three ways we will develop:
1. Deepening producer relationships: After 8 years of traveling the world meeting with various producers of coffee, we have settled into a select group of coffee growers that we feel a special kinship with. Rather than continuing to mix up our menu as much as in years past, our goal is to work with an existing group of producers to continue to improve quality side by side. We think this will help us connect better with consumers and producers alike, while increasing our intensity on specific lot development from these select producers. While we have always tried to source consistently from producers with whom we have a strong bond, this focus will be strengthened over the next five years.
2. Energizing our infrastructure: We have begun to draw up blueprints for a new roasting facility and cafe in Athens. After some internal speculation as to whether we might move our production facility to a larger market, we have decided to stay home and invest a significant amount of resources into making Athens even more of a coffee destination for travelers from around the globe. We intend on breaking ground on the new facility in 2015.
3. Increasing customer service & education programs: If there is one thing we have realized through the years, it's that your time is never wasted serving people. Our service programs increased drastically in 2014 and we learned a great lesson about the value of good service via increased services. A barista certification program is in the works and will serve as an important educational program for our wholesale partners looking to invest in their coffee quality via professionally trained baristas. The human element of coffee is always worth more investment and truly yields the best return for the community. In the coming years, our equipment program and training programs will continue to create unique options for making great coffee readily available and accessible.
As we analyze trends in coffee, we note that specialty coffee consumption continues to increase in America. In 2014, specialty coffee crossed the 51% threshold for total coffee market share in the United States for daily consumption. Individuals are drinking more cups of specialty coffee per day as well, 3.13 cups to be exact. A rise in espresso consumption is largely responsible for the increase, with 18 percent of American adults consuming espresso drinks daily, compared to 13 percent last year. This is in part a response to recent research dispelling most of the myths surrounding coffee's adverse effects on health while providing insightful information to mass media about the health benefits of regular coffee consumption. Additionally, public demand continues to increase for coffee that is ethical and transparent to the source. Consumers want better coffee and are not opposed to paying more to get it.
We believe it is critical to keep our partners and consumers updated on the current state of both national and international coffee affairs. While we have seen an increase in demand, this has been coupled with decrease in global supply. Over this past year, we have shouldered the impact of a steady rise in our cost to purchase and roast your coffee. The demand for our product has skyrocketed over the last year and our margins have become tighter, making it difficult on operations. The fact is, raw Arabica coffee prices have surged 72% so far this year, after Brazil’s worst drought in decades crimped output, as did coffee-rust disease in Central America. Over the next six months, media reports will continue to educate general consumers about the increasing cost of coffee for 2015.
The positive developments related to increasing coffee prices far outweigh the negative. Coffee is coming out of a long, dark history thanks in large part to the boom of the information age. Growing coffee is an extremely difficult business with which to support a family and producers deserve a culture that supports paying more for coffee and thus supports their wellbeing. Now more than ever, consumers understand this and will continue to become more educated. We want no part in an industry which supports less money going to the families we have sat down at the table with and looked square in the eye. We are proud of the producing partnerships we have cultivated in our first eight years of business and will spend the next five years focusing on helping their farms grow in an empowering business-to-business template. It is important to note that even in this challenging climate there are positive impacts as well. Coffee farmers now have more access than ever to funds they need to improve the quality of their farms and, more importantly, their livelihoods, resulting in higher quality coffee in the long run. Changing the lives of our coffee farmers internationally is a major goal of our work at 1000 Faces Coffee and so, in a way, we must celebrate and embrace this price increase.
Thank you for your continued business and support over the years! We will remain earnest in our mission to provide you with a just, equitable, and tasty cup of coffee. If you have any question, please do reach out to us.