Jade Bronze Articles


Ethics And The Unseen


I’ve been in the coffee industry for over twenty years. In that time I have seen many noble motivations and well-intentioned movements. The majority of the time these movements, if they gain enough traction, transition into non-profit organizations. Organizations by their very nature quickly become cumbersome, political and less and less effective as their ethical DNA is mutated by capitulation with the industry leaders. Let me be clear, I think there is a need for organizations that oversee equitable business practices. But, they will never be effective when it comes to sweeping change in any industry.

Legislating ethical behavior has never and will never be a solution to any problem as big as those faced today in the world coffee market. Coffee is literally a socioeconomic study in the “have” and “have-nots” of the world. Coffee is grown in the poorest countries on earth. Those who labor tirelessly for the benefit of our livelihood are today nearly as marginalized as they were when I first entered the industry. The solution has to involve more than belonging to an organization. It has to start with a fundamental change in how we view our own activities, no matter how insignificant we think those activities are.

Maybe it’s this simple: Decide what we stand for and what we will not stand for as individuals and as human beings. Take the time to examine our supply channel lineage. Trace all of our purchases back to the unseen participants in the process. If what you see at the beginning of the supply chain is not compatible with your own convictions, then change it. Don’t rely on someone else to guard your ethical back. Jump in the fray yourself. It’s not always pleasant to look at what we do in contrast to “the least of these” in the cycle. But if we don’t begin to take personal responsibility for overseeing our own economic morality, the best of intentions will be relegated to hollow gestures and conscience salving banter.

We need to decide how we define success. I contend that if your financial gain is experienced with a wake of broken people, it is not success, it is merely money. Our ethics need to be intrinsic in our business model and not marketing angles. Ethical coffee purchases need to be as obligatory as paying taxes and payroll in your business, and monitored just as diligently. We need to admit to ourselves that any purchase we make subsidizes and perpetuates what we stand for. Choosing not to look at the entirety of the supply chain does not make the devastation less real; it merely makes us complicit to the inequity.

Real change will only come when individuals, not organizations or legislation, voluntarily choose to be diligent participants in the “entire” lineage of a coffee transaction. By making the intellectual link between our purchases and our convictions, we will begin to sift through that which is truly important to us and that which is just an altruistic and impotent activity.

Ron DeMiglio

Coffee connects the world. And no one connects the world of coffee like Jade Bronze. Only Jade Bronze approaches specialty coffee with a world-view and world experience and only Jade Bronze is founded on the belief that America is not the center of the coffee universe. It's time for an awakening and we are proud to be giving the wake up call. We think everyone should know that something as deep, diverse and universal as coffee has no center.

While specialty coffee, new-style espresso and gourmet coffee based beverages, are rapidly advanced by several renowned coffee giants, the beauty and diversity of coffee’s history has been uniformly ignored. We don't believe that a trendy coffee culture of less than three decades should be a model that replaces coffee cultures that have existed for hundreds of years. In fact, we are in the business of connecting today with yesterday. Modern methods of marketing, operations, branding, trade, roasting methods and retailing can help the bottom line without having to sacrifice centuries of tradition.

To put this into action, the team at Jade Bronze provides the middle ground.

Imagine a company with a combined three decades of experience in the specialty coffee industry working with you to introduce modern coffee trends without ever losing sight of your past. Consider the possibility that your coffee heritage, honorifics, cultural nuances, product terminology, regional and national taste profiles, architectural styles and relational associations were seamlessly blended with a new and popular style of coffee products. Imagine that you were able to do this without losing brand consistency or infrastructure and support. Imagine working with a company that actually cares about your country’s unique coffee heritage. A company that works with you to blend the honor of that heritage with an espresso menu that appeals to a new generation of coffee consumers.

Are we qualified? Dignitaries and coffee professionals around the world say yes.

Are we unique?  We think so.

Jade Bronze is: Real Coffee. Real People. Real Business.