Courtesy of Cody Hamilton
The Coffee Ethic
The countertops at The Coffee Ethic are made from salvaged walnut, debris left behind from a 2006 ice storm.
Jim Hamilton and Tom Billionis began The Coffee Ethic as a for-profit, for-good enterprise. Jim says the store, which opened in December 2007, was founded on three principles: produce the best coffee; value people, including customers, employees, the supplier, and the community; and care for the earth.
All of the store’s coffee comes from PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. at Topeka, Kansas, and is single-origin coffee.
“That means that the coffee comes directly from one place,” Jim says. “It doesn’t come from a country; it comes from a single farm.”
This helps ensure both the quality of the coffee and that the people producing it are being paid fair prices.
The business is located in downtown Springfield, and Tom and Jim hope its presence will be part of revitalizing the area. The store is constructed using some unusual materials. The countertops are walnut salvaged from an ice storm in 2006, and the doors that separate the store from the county library are wood salvaged from an Arkansas tornado in the 1970s.
Tom and Jim focus on buying coffee at fair prices and use a top-of-the-line Clover brewer, which brews one cup at a time. They also support groups that seek to improve the lives of coffee growers around the world.
Jim says growers in places like Rwanda often bring their product from their mountain farms to market on dangerously decrepit bicycles. The Coffee Ethic contributes to Bikes To Rwanda, a program that helps farmers get safer transport to market.