Sustainability In Coffee – Our View

Long before “sustainability” became a marketing and environmental buzzword,  Peerless Coffee Company operated with an eye toward sustainability.  In 1924, John Vukasin began building relationships with coffee farmers in far flung villages around the globe.   Three generations later, we travel the world maintaining these relationships and beginning new ones.  We get to know the farmers and help to develop their businesses, ensuring you the best coffee available and building a solid foundation for the future for both Peerless Coffee Company and the farmers.  Our definition of sustainability is expanding as is our commitment to continually innovate in all areas of our business.

We all hear a lot about “Fair Trade” these days.  What is “Fair Trade” exactly?  Fair Trade is simply a certification confirming that farmers were paid a fair price for their coffee.  We think this is a good thing, but Fair Trade certification alone isn’t perfect.  At Peerless, we believe in practicing both Fair and Direct Trade (Peer Trade).

Fair Trade excludes many small, worthy farmers that don’t belong to co-ops and the certification carries no quality guarantee.  We trade directly with many small farms that produce wonderful, undermarketed coffee.  Before we buy a coffee, we visit and taste for several seasons to check for consistency, while working with the farmers to improve quality.  Once we begin buying from a farmer, we set up long-term, fixed price contracts, in which Peerless commits to pay a fair, above market price for future beans.  The farmer has a guaranteed buyer, giving him or her an incentive to keep farming to Peerless standards.  What’s more, he’ll take that money and invest it directly in his/her local community raising the living standards of many.

When we source coffee that was grown responsibly and pay a fair price for it, everyone benefits.  Farmers who receive a good price for their coffee are more likely to care for the land with an eye toward its future productivity, thus preserving the health of the ecosystem and the quality of the coffee.  When farmers can make a living selling coffee, they will continue farming instead of migrating to the cities to find work.  This keeps societies and traditional cultures intact and is the first step toward sustainable development.  Our contacts in coffee producing areas, enable us to donate money directly to projects likes schools and clinics.  We visit these areas personally and are able to see first-hand, the impact of our giving.


These are challenging times for the food industry. Skyrocketing costs of gas, food, and paper goods have left most of us scrambling for solutions. Peerless Coffee & Tea products are already the most profitable items on your table but they can do more. Here are some great ideas to keep customers coming in your doors.

1. ICED COFFEE – You’re seeing it everywhere – competitors advertising on TV, articles in the NY Times, but is it marketed in your establishment? Peerless wants to help you take advantage of the buzz. You already have the makings for iced coffee in your operation – no need to order special ingredients. You can dramatically increase coffee profits by chilling your excess brewed coffee and pouring it over ice. Add a shot of syrup and charge more to make a delicious iced coffee.

Peerless wants to help you market iced coffee. Just e-mail Peerless at and we’ll send you a PDF file with a table talker for iced coffee – just print, cut and attach to your menu or display on your café tables. HINT: Freeze your excess brewed coffee in ice cube trays and use the cubes for a bolder iced coffee drink.

2. “ARNOLD PALMERS” – Are you making “Arnold Palmers”? Most of you have the ingredients in house. All you need is iced tea and lemonade. Make your “Arnold Palmers” with our Organic Tropic Star China Black Iced Tea and lemonade for a smooth and special quencher or use pomegranate or other exotic juices to make your own signature “Arnolds”. We’ve come up with a marketing piece for you to use on your menu or at your pay station. This marketing piece is just a mouse click away at

3. UPGRADING TO ORGANICS – Savvy operators know that they need to differentiate themselves from the competition. Increased quality and demand for natural, healthy products drive customers in the door. Go Organic! Peerless has a complete program of organic, single estate, and Fair Trade coffees and teas.

4. APPEAL TO BUDGET CONSCIOUS DINERS – Keep budget-conscious diners by creating new ways to help customers share. How about a “coffee & dessert share” promo where the table gets a carafe or French press and a signature dessert to share? Sharing can increase customer frequency and guest check averages.

5. SUGGESTIVE SELLING – Are you marketing to your customers? Do your servers suggestively sell? Merchandising is a great way to “focus” your customers on impulse products that can add to your bottom line. Are your Organic Tropic Star Iced Teas hidden behind the counter? Display Tropic Star on the counter in a beautiful pitcher, garnished with fresh fruit. It’s a perfect complement to any meal.