By Christina Carbone
Yellow Brick Coffee’s roots are in local farmers markets. When our Founder, Anna Perreira first launched the company, she was without a brick and mortar shop. Local farmers markets served as a place to sell beans and connect directly with customers. Fast forward about six and a half years to the present day, and things have changed quite a bit for Yellow Brick. We have a physical location now, which serves the dual purpose as our roastery and a retail coffee shop. Our beans and cold brew are in over 30 different restaurants and offices locally. Additionally, our fresh roasted coffee can be purchased online and shipped anywhere in the U.S. Yet with growth in both wholesale and online sales, we continue to set up a booth every Sunday at Heirloom Farmers Market at Rillito Park.
Yellow Brick’s reason for motivation in farmers markets is three pronged. Primarily, markets foster the relationships we’ve already established with customers. Second, they give us the ability to further our connections within the community (a key value for us as a company). Finally, they allow us to introduce single origin coffee to new people.
(Nitro Cold Brew at the Farmers Market)
Just like a coffee shop has its regular patrons, so does the farmers market. There are people who we see each Sunday, counting on us to provide them with a beverage to fuel their shopping or beans to use at home. Our actual roastery/coffee shop is nestled in an industrial complex a stone’s throw away from breweries like Ten55, Green Feet, and craft brewery pioneers Nimbus. Distilling guru Three Wells Distilling is also right down the street. Although the craft industry is growing in our area and foot traffic is increasing, our shop is still considered a destination location. This is where the farmers market becomes important to us as a business. It allows us to cultivate and connect with a customer base that might never have the opportunity to venture out to our shop. Often, after people discover us at the market, they’ll make the trip to visit our coffee oasis.
(YBC Barista, Christina Carbone observing bloom of a V60 Pour Over)
We value the community aspect of the farmers market; building community is a core value of YBC. Markets allow us to get to know our customers week after week on a one-on-one basis. Shoppers enjoy putting a face to a product and getting to know us as well. At YBC, each coffee is traceable to the cooperative or farm from which it comes. Because of elevated traceability we are able to share information about where the coffee is grown, the producers who work hard to grow consistently great coffee, and the farming/processing methods which make each coffee unique. The markets allow us to further that chain of community and connect customers with coffee’s origin. For more information on our focus on traceability in coffee, here’s a great article from Tucson Foodie.
Lastly, farmers markets are unique in that patrons are individuals who want to support the local economy and who are going the extra mile to purchase products that were crafted right here in Tucson. During each market we feature a rotating drip option, Nitro cold brew, and retail bags of fresh roasted beans. Not all of the farmers market patrons are coffee geeks who know what “single origin” coffee or nitro cold brew is. Many of the visitors who stop by our booth enjoy coffee, but don’t know much about specialty coffee. Education is a key part of the farmers markets and we aim to be approachable. We offer samples of both hot brewed coffee and the cold brew, to demonstrate tasting notes and discuss our roasting philosophy. Additionally, we have a book about YBC’s trips to origin on display, showing pictures of the farms and people who make it possible for us to offer deliciously roasted coffee. Customers enjoy getting to see where their coffee comes from, which furthers that personal connection we hope to foster.
(YBC Founder, Anna Perreira, Lorving Calderon & Angelica Landaverde of Finca Mi Tazita)
Yellow Brick Coffee will continue to be rooted in the markets, facilitating growth in our local community and offering education on coffee from farm to cup. If you’ve ever been curious about learning more about specialty coffee, wanted to try our nitro cold brew or freshly roasted beans, please visit us on Sundays from 8 am to 12 pm (Spring/Summer hours) at the Heirloom Rillito Park Farmers Market, in Tucson, AZ, located off of River Rd. and 1st Ave., on the southeast side of the Rillito Racetrack’s parking lot.