Customer Corner: Kickapoo Coffee

It’s time for another monthly Customer Corner feature here on our blog. This time, we are very excited to be featuring a fellow Driftless Region company; Kickapoo Coffee! A longtime leader in crafting coffee with integrity, Kickapoo Coffee announced their decision to change their name last spring. Originally named for the Kickapoo River Valley they call home, the company recognized their name as an appropriation of the Kickapoo Nation, a Native American Peoples. To learn more about their name change and find their original statement, you can head to their website. Also make sure to check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and stop into one of their cafes if you are ever in Viroqua, Milwaukee, or Bayfield, Wisconsin!

Coffee being roasted.
Coffee being roasted.

Kickapoo Coffee

Here at Kickapoo Coffee, we believe roasting quality coffee is not enough. A homegrown roastery with roots in the Driftless Region’s vibrant farming community, Kickapoo Coffee believes good coffee and ethical sourcing go hand in hand. Our passion (some might say obsession) for exceptional beans is matched by our unwavering dedication to our community of farmers and farmer cooperatives. 

One of our farmers.
One of our farmers.

And that isn’t just talk. In 2017 we launched our #RaiseTheBar campaign, with the announcement of one of the highest published minimum prices. Rising each year, our minimum price is currently 70% higher than the certified Organic Fair Trade minimum price and represents a commitment we made not only to support our growers but also to push the conversation within the coffee industry. We’re proud to be able to support farmers dedicated to their craft while also ensuring a financially sustainable future in an industry that far too often gives farmers the short end of the stick. 

Kickapoo Coffee Roasters was the first roaster in the world to power 100% of our electrical power needs from an on-site solar array.
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters was the first roaster in the world to power 100% of our electrical power needs from an on-site solar array.

At Home in Viroqua, Wisconsin

We have a strong connection to the beautiful rural community our Roastery calls home. While small-town Wisconsin may not be the first place someone expects to start a craft coffee company, our co-owners, TJ and Caleb, were both drawn here to set roots and raise their families. Led to coffee through his background in boutique wines, Caleb started Kickapoo Coffee driven by a passion for quality and the dimensions of taste to be found in coffee. When TJ joined a few months later, his dedication to social and environmental justice work added another dimension to Kickapoo Coffee’s mission.

The roastery’s employees know how to work hard and play hard.
The roastery’s employees know how to work hard and play hard.

The sense of community we have in the place we call home reminds us daily of the importance of working for the collective good. We are driven by the pursuit to do better––whether that’s going 100% solar powered in 2015, seeking out the highest quality beans we can find, or donating 5% off all profits to support rural communities at home and abroad. So much of who we are comes down to relationships. We strive to connect people and place and honor both. 

Our team tastes through coffees in the cupping lab.
Our team tastes through coffees in the cupping lab.

Coffee is Magic

Coffee, like wine (or maple syrup!), is seasonal and site-specific. Grown across different continents and altitudes, on soil that ranges from red clay to sandy loam, and picked and processed in ways that draw different flavors and aromas to the fore, every bean is different. That’s the magic of coffee and the reason why we roast our coffee to enhance its natural terroir––the unique way the land speaks through a coffee.

Throughout the year, we travel across the globe to visit with farmers and taste through their fresh crops. And we buy and roast our beans with a keen eye on the natural cycles that define each harvest. Because just as the availability and flavor of different fruits and vegetables evolve with the changing of the season, so too does the experience of coffee change as you follow the harvest from Ethiopia to Peru or Guatemala.

Coffee beans drying (with an amazing view!).
Coffee beans drying (with an amazing view!).

We seek out and roast exceptional coffee because it excites us––there’s so much out there to learn and share. We’re humbled by this work and you’ll see that attention to detail and unabashed curiosity come through in your cup. Whether you’re brewing up a cup of our beloved Organic Driftless Blend from your local grocery store or stopping by one of our cafes for a weekend latte, we hope you taste a little of that magic. Because coffee shouldn’t just be fuel to power you through a hard day (although of course, that’s an important part of its job!). Coffee should spark something more: a moment, a conversation, maybe even a community.

You can get the full Kickapoo Coffee experience at our cafes in Viroqua, Milwaukee & Bayfield, Wisconsin.
You can get the full Kickapoo Coffee experience at our cafes in Viroqua, Milwaukee & Bayfield, Wisconsin.

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