Can we visit or do you have an attached coffee shop / cafe?
Unfortunately, currently we are not set up for visitors due to health regulations as a food processing facility and do not sell directly from our facility. We do not have a cafe or coffee shop nor is that our intent even as our business grows. We want to focus exclusively on curating our selections, roasting coffee beans and getting them to our customers and coffee serving partners as efficiently as possible.
How quickly do you ship?
Unless there are unforeseen circumstance, and in those rare cases you would be notified, we will ship within 2 business days of your order within 24 hours of roast and ship the next day. We use Priority Mail via a third party provider which allows us to get it into your hands at a max of 5 days post roast (often less).
How Do You Calculate Shipping Prices?
One of the biggest concerns we had as a company when setting up our online store was the cost of shipping to new customers and returning customers. We scoured the internet to find the most reasonable shipping prices for our customers. We concluded that offering a $7 flat rate priority shipping (1-3 days) to all our customers for orders under $50, and supplementing the additional shipping costs ourselves, whatever they may be, was the best practice and value for our customers. Additionally, we believe that using Priority Mail for a speedier delivery is an added value in getting those freshly roasted coffee beans into our customers hands faster. For those awesome customers ordering over $50 woth of products, we will pay for your shipping completely as a huge thank you (and virtual hand shake...remember hand shakes?).
How long can I keep my coffee? How do can it be kept fresh for longer?
Studies have shown that most coffees will taste their best on days 10 through 14 post roast, with flavors slowly diminishing over the next 30 days (many variables can change these estimated times wildly). Coffees that are brewed less than 3 days post roast are likely to taste a little acidic or mildly sour due to the production of CO2 in the roasting process that can take a few days to dissipate. To keep coffee longer, please do not freeze it as this can introduce moisture (depending on the humidity of the air sealed within the bag) into the coffee and significantly diminish flavors as the coffee beans thaw (like perspiration on a cold glass). A blunting of a coffee's flavors due to introduction of oxygen and humidity will occur over the weeks and months after roasting. Storage that lessens the impact of those variables is ideal. In our home away from the roastery, we utilize the Hokeki coffee cannister, but recently many different companies have begun to offer coffee specific storage containers.
How do you get the different "flavors" found in different coffees?
First, we at Vortex Roasters never add any flavors to our coffees. When our coffee is described as having a note of citrus, that means that you likely will taste a subtle flavor of orange or grapefruit in the unadulterated black coffee coming directly from the individual flavors of the coffee bean you are enjoying.
What is your roasting philosophy?
We take exceptional beans and sample them at different temperatures, styles and lengths of roasting to bring all the best parts of each bean to light while also attempting to diminish some flavors that may be less satisfying in that brewed cup. Our goal as roasters is to roast great beans after starting with great unroasted beans. A roasting mentor once told our head roaster, "You can't make a good bean great through roasting, but you can definitely make a great bean bad by roasting it poorly." That statement is reflected in our process of selecting great raw coffee beans to start and letting the roast do them justice in the end. Each roast is individually planned to bring out the best elements and flavors of each coffee and that roast evolves with small changes to continue to make a great coffee even better.
Can we order ground coffee?
Yes, you can. When you select a specific coffee on our site it will default to Whole Bean, however that can be changed for each bag to the type of grind size you would prefer prior to adding it to your Cart. If you are worried about what size grind is the correct for the type of coffee you are making, we have added the brewing styles next to the grind size for your convenience. Please understand that coffee is best utilized immediately following the grind and though we would prefer that our consumers grind their own Vortex Roasters whole bean coffee that way, we understand that the circumstances of each customer may differ.
How do you source or choose your coffee beans?
We choose our beans through quite a bit of planning and research. We do the research, so you don't have to but are willing to teach and talk about all the factors that weigh on those decisions. We work with several importers whom we trust to provide us with the coffees we seek under the criteria we have as a business. Tastes is one of the top factors (obviously) and we sample small batches prior to making the decision on large scale purchases that will eventually make their way into our customers hands. We continue to sample roast and taste those beans throughout their storage in our facility so that small changes can be made to our roasting process to improve the roast as well as maintain consistency.
Are your coffees Certified Organic or Fair Trade or Shade-Grown?
We have been asked these questions more often recently and for us thats a wonderful thing as it means consumers are taking much more into account for their foods and products than simply the price. On paper, all those certifications equate to increased sustainability, improved livelihoods for the farmers, and a healthier production chain - farmer to consumer. When put into practice however, the bureaucracy, legal and financial impacts on those producers initially for certifications make it problematic for most and impossible for many.
We have found through our research regarding Organic coffee, that sticking to sourcing from trusted entities: utilizing growers who maintain microlots and have meaningful long term relationships with their land and their harvests and creating reliable relationships with our import partners to deliver us coffees that meet our ethical and material standards, is often the best practice. The standards for a small scale roastery to become USDA Organic certified is difficult at best, including very large financial investments including storage and equipment scaling outside the typical small batch roaster's means. We do carry organically grown coffee and do note that on our website and coffee labels, however as we are not a certified facility we will not carry the USDA Certified Organic label.
In regards to Fair Trade, we work with a very select group of importers who we trust to employ Fair Trade practices in the purchase of coffee in the regions we import from. We also work with one valued importer who employs Direct Trade purchases from Central America with his extended family who are coffee farmers. The coffee industry is a small one in general and rumors of poor business practices or importers working with questionable practices and ethics shoot through the industry faster than you can make a quality pour-over coffee. Those importers would immediately be removed from ours (as well as many others) professional relationships.
Shade-Grown coffee is more a description than an actual certification. It indicates that the coffee is not grown in areas that have been deforested or in areas where the environment has been negatively impacted in a large scale way that often occurs in farms of tropical regions. It is an excellent standard that produces a more natural plant that in theory would create a more wholesome product. There are two certifications for growers that mirror many of the standards and descriptions of Shade-Grown (but are not necessarily coffee industry specific), those being Rain Forest Alliance certified and Smithsonian Bird Friendly.
Though we do not "certify" any of our coffees as Organic or Fair Trade, we may list the coffee on our website as organic or shade grown (if grown and processed as such) and fair trade (if we have purchased it as such). You can be assured that the coffee we produce meets our highest sustainability and ethical principles as well as quality standards and that we have done more than just our due diligence on each individual bag we sell.