We’re excited to report that Crimson Cup racked up another year of continuing growth in 2017. We opened two new retail locations, traveled over 45,000 miles to source coffee and tea at origin and won local and national acclaim, including a 2017 Good Food Award. We helped open 20 independently owned coffee houses through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop franchise alternative program and opened a third international coffee house in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We also donated over $75,000 to community organizations.
Founder and President Greg Ubert said 2018 looks just as promising. “The strides we made last year have set the stage for even more progress in our ability to sustainably source awesome coffee, make a difference in communities at home and abroad, and train both coffee lovers and professionals,” he said.
Crimson Cup coffee buyers traveled more than 45,000 miles to source coffee and establish direct-trade relationships with coffee growers in remote regions of Africa and Central and South America. They visited farms and cupped coffee in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. These trips yielded five new Friend2Farmer direct trade relationships, and we saw a 400 percent increase in coffee purchased through our Friend2Farmer program.
We won national and local accolades for the quality of our coffee, business practices and philanthropy. Men’s Journal magazine named Crimson Cup to its list of the 25 Best Coffee Roasters in the country. Our Ethiopian Kossa Kebena coffee won a 2017 Good Food Award, and our coffees took home medals and trophies in the Golden Bean North America and America’s Best Espresso competitions. Locally, the Better Business Bureau honored Crimson Cup with a 2017 Torch Award for Business Ethics. Greg won a 2017 Smart Business Award and became a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Ohio Valley Region.
In June, we welcomed our third international coffee house in the Uttara neighborhood of Dhaka, Bangladesh. We also opened our third Columbus-area Crimson Cup Coffee House in the Columbus Convention Center and opened a fourth location in Tallmadge, Ohio in December. Twenty new independent coffee shops opened through our 7 Steps to Success coffee franchise alternative program. Based on Greg’s book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry, the program teaches everything needed to operate a successful coffee shop.
Honoring our core value of giving back to the community, we donated more than $75,000 to community organizations at home and abroad including Cancer Support Community Central Ohio, See Kids Dream, local non-profit organizations and smallholder farmer communities. We also provided coffee to the U.S. Military through our annual Military Coffee drive and by sending coffee overseas upon request to active duty personnel.
The Crimson Cup Innovation Lab at 700 Alum Creek Drive obtained certification from the Specialty Coffee Association. As a result, we will begin offering SCA-approved training at the facility later this year, in addition to existing consumer coffee courses and coffee house manager and barista training.