Whether we’re selecting green (raw) beans for roasting, Tahitian vanilla for our specialty cakes, or brewing equipment for our wholesale customers, we seek out the best products we can buy and we treat those products with care. We work in small batches to ensure freshness and taste-test frequently (hey, somebody’s got to do it!) to make sure everything we serve is up to our standards. To monitor factors like temperature and timing, we adjust our machinery and that of our wholesale customers regularly. We know that equipment, ingredients and process all have a significant effect on the end product. And because we want to serve the best, we start with the best. We think you’ll taste the difference.
There is an art to everything: roasting a Kenya AA to the perfect medium, providing just the right service at just the right time, creating the best mocha imaginable. And because nothing in the world is static, we think it’s important to approach each and every task with an open mind and a large degree of flexibility. For this reason, and because we recognize that any business is at all times the sum of its parts, we nurture and encourage creativity in our staff and our customers. We take all suggestions seriously and we are not afraid to think and operate “outside of the box”-in fact, we see it as one of our greatest strengths.
At Water Street Coffee Joint, we just love coffee. We love everything about it-the living, breathing complexity of it, the rich history, how it affects our minds and our spirits. Coffee has been revered throughout history. It has been said to cure diseases and drunkenness, to improve vision, to clear the skin and reduce wrinkles, to increase creativity, to heighten logical thought and to intensify prayer. Did you know that Bach wrote a coffee cantata? Or that Beethoven was so particular about his coffee that he counted out exactly sixty beans per cup for his brew? Or that Voltaire is rumored to have drunk over fifty cups of coffee a day? Coffee has been an accompaniment to almost every great movement in the modern world-political, artistic, philosophical and social.
At Water Street Coffee Joint, we are proud to be among over 20 million people around the world working in the coffee industry, producing a multitude of coffees as complex and varied as fine wines.
As part of one of the largest international trade industries in the world (second only to oil), Water Street Coffee Joint seeks to constantly increase our understanding of the role we play in this complex industry. Our intent is to provide the best possible products while acting responsibly with regard for others and for our environment.
Our Micro-Roaster is a Fair Trade Certified and a Certified Organic Coffee Roaster. We support the seven basic principles of the Fair Trade Organization-fair wages, cooperative workplaces, financial and technical support, environmental sustainability, respect for cultural identity, consumer education and public accountability-by offering a selection of Fair Trade Certified and Certified Organic coffees.
On the local level, we are proud to be a part of the continual growth of downtown Kalamazoo and remain committed to the area, donating 10 cents for every retail bag of coffee and 5 cents for every wholesale pound of coffee sold to local community organizations.
On a personal level, we appreciate the support shown by our dynamic and diverse community of guests, staff, vendors, artists, neighbors and friends, some of whom you will see pictured on this page. Many of these photographs were taken for an art show in celebration of our tenth anniversary in 2002–3. We left a Polaroid camera in our shop and asked our staff to take pictures of our customers (and you may notice that our staff did sneak into a few). What you will see in these pictures is a little slice of Water Street Coffee Joint life—a by-no-means-complete documentation. So often we can’t see past the big events to recognize the importance of the small ones—the many individual moments that compose our lives. With these photographs, we celebrate the faces that brighten and enrich our every day. We are honored to have met such an amazing group of people over the years.