Pedaling Back to Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee is a Fair Trade, sustainably grown and distributed coffee company — and a staple of Twin Cities coffee culture. I visited Peace Coffee on my own when I first began my fellowship, and I was thrilled to bring a group of students from my alma mater, Macalester College, along for another tour this past summer — via bike!


Macalester staff and friends after the bike ride to Peace Coffee.

Minneapolis is a great place to live in so many ways. One that’s dear to me is its “bike highway, the Midtown Greenway. This bike and pedestrian highway was conceptualized pre-2000, and was built on the Midtown Greenway Corridor — a section of land previously used as a railway. About half of our Macalester group biked with me via the Greenway, and the other half of the group took public transit, which was generously subsidized by the Sustainability Office during their appointed transportation month.

Peace Coffee has such an amazing genesis story. The business began when a miscommunication between Costa Rican farmers and Peace Coffee’s parent non-profit, IATP (the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy), resulted in a shipping container full of beans being delivered to the Los Angeles Port Authority in IATP’s name. Rather than return those beans, IATP began creating a distributor, Peace Coffee, to sell them. Initially, all of their beans were literally “pedaled” by bike.


A Macalester employee holds up green coffee beans

Needless to say, it only felt right to pedal ourselves to the roastery. The Events and Engagement Coordinator for Peace Coffee, Ryan Brown, led us on a tour, in which we got to enjoy some delicious cold-press coffee.

Of course, coffee isn’t grown locally, but Peace Coffee does an amazing job of stewarding the product to cafes and large distributors across Minnesota. All of Peace Coffee’s beans are sourced from farms operating on less than 11 acres, who are also producing a variety of other crops. This ensures both a small size and a diverse ecological system, with an increased chance that the coffee will be shade-grown. And they still deliver over 50% of their coffee by bike!

I’m happy to be in the Twin Cities area, with Peace Coffee always just a bike ride away.