A spectre is haunting Speciality coffee – the spectre of Transparency, Fairness, Quality and Environmental Consciousness. All the powers of the old ways will try to exorcise this spectre: Lazy shop-owners who take the biggest cut while putting in the least work; the Ones who think that when trying to improve coffee quality all you need to invest in is equipment – not the staff; the Ones who think their staff is always replaceable and therefore expendable; the Ones who think they can get away with selling inferior, badly prepared product for standard industry prices, displaying a lack of respect for all the hard work of people across the whole coffee farm-to-cup chain and in the process lowering the general public’s opinion of the industry itself.
At Manifesto we pledge to do things differently. We will always be transparent about our practices and the way we conduct business, while remaining inclusive of everyone. We will provide all the information in an easy-to-follow way and when we talk about coffee, we will do our best to be easily understood so that whether you are buying your first ever bag of beans, or are a roaster yourself, you will feel right at home.
We firmly believe that anyone who works for us should be treated fairly and therefore paid accordingly. When we take on staff, their pay rate should be tied to our own in a 1:1 ratio because we believe that the true merit lies in the time and effort put into work by all who contribute – not the abstract ownership concept. Likewise, any bonuses paid should be based on the performance of the company as a whole rather than the individual, and rewarded equally to all. This extends to our supply chain too – as much as it is within our power we want our suppliers treated well and to get fair prices for the coffees we source from them.
We put a lot of effort in deciding which coffees to sell by trying many samples and performing multiple, comparative test roasts, which then we cup for quality. Only then can we ensure we only sell coffees that we are proud of and happy to share with the people. That extends to anything we will sell beyond coffee – if it does not meet our expectations of quality, it will not be offered.
Lastly, we understand that coffee is fundamentally an environmentally challenging product to love and sell – we can not grow it locally and therefore have to rely on means of import that leave a carbon footprint. Moreover, coffee is often grown in a monoculture, thus negatively affecting the local environment. That is why we promise to do our best to source responsibly and do what we can to offset the failures beyond our control or influence. We try to achieve that by using recyclable material whenever possible and declaring openly when we do not and why. We also refuse to use gas-operated roasters, choosing instead electric ones, which we consider renewable energy since over 75% of energy in Scotland comes from these sources.
We hope for this statement to be clear and transparent to everyone. If you agree with some or all of these points, we can not wait to provide you with coffee, potentially work or simply hang out with you.
x Alex & Lukasz