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Tiny Footprint Coffee: Coffee Beans with a Cloud Forest Mission


Photo courtesy of Tiny Footprint Coffee

Tiny Footprint Coffee makes a big claim to go along with its beans. While sipping their coffee, I’m reducing carbon emissions.

Of course, that claim depends on an equation, which Tiny Footprint is happy to share. According to Tiny Footprint, it takes 4 pounds of carbon to make 1 pound of their coffee. With each pound of beans that I purchase, Tiny Footprint Coffee makes a financial contribution toward the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation in Ecuador. Mindo, in turn, plants trees that will sequester up to 54 pounds of carbon from the atmosphere. Thus, over time, more carbon is removed than emitted.

The Ecuadorian cloud forest is not unique, but it is rare–cloud forests occur only within tropical or subtropical mountainous environments where atmospheric conditions create a consistent cloud cover. A combination of factors including population growth and unregulated land use has contributed to the worldwide decline of cloud forests since the 1970s. Tiny Footprint wants to help restore them.

The brand Tiny Footprint started in 2010 as a project of brothers Alan and Brian Krohnke who wanted to find a way to connect their love of coffee with their concern for declining cloud forests. Here in MN, Alan roasts the Tiny Footprint beans at Roastery 7, a wholesale supplier of coffee beans, while Brian manages the carbon offsets via his role as the Executive Director of the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation in Ecuador. 

“Tiny Footprint is really proud of our reforestation efforts,” said Shelly Benson, Sales & Marketing for Tiny Footprint. “We work very closely with the Mindo tree planting organization in Ecuador, and we’re passionate about what we do.”

The Tiny Footprint brand is fair trade and organic.  The beans come in green and are roasted at the Roastery 7 facility in 60-pound batches on fully refurbished (now computerized) antique Probast roaster in Brooklyn Center. There they work to keep the company as green as possible, from sourcing bio-degradable coffee bags and high-efficiency lighting, to using fuel-efficient ribbon burners on their roaster and composting their coffee grounds.

As for the coffee, I’ve been sipping on Tiny Footprint’s Ethiopia Sidamo Shilcho dark roasted coffee for a week now. I use Jon Ferguson’s brew method, which has landed him two consecutive North Central Brewers Cup wins at the Big Central Regional Barista Competition and Brewers Cup. The coffee comes through mellow, light, and slightly fruity.

  • Use 18 grams of grounded, sifted coffee.
  • Place grounds in the Clever Dripper coffee maker lined with a rinsed #4 paper cone filter.
  • Pour 265 milliliters of 200 degree (203 degrees is optimal) water over your grounds.
  • Stir after one minute.
  • After 1.5 minutes, start the draw down process by setting the Clever Dripper on your vessel (or mug), and allow the coffee to draw down.

Tiny Footprint is a wholesale coffee bean brand, not a coffee shop. They sell beans at Minneapolis Farmers Market and Midtown Global Market, among other locations. If you’d like to sample the coffee before you buy, they offer samples at the Minneapolis Farmers Market through the end of September, where you also buy the beans. 

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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