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Los Angeles, CA

Groundwork Coffee Co.

This Los Angeles institution grew from a café and rare book shop to one of California’s first certified organic roasters, boasting solar-powered, low-emission technology. Groundwork didn't stop there — sourcing from every growing region in the world, this roaster is certified kosher and non-GMO.

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Coffee Talk
Groundwork Says

What led Groundwork to pursue organic coffee?

Coffee is the third most sprayed agricultural crop in the world. Most major coffee producers coat their crops with toxic chemicals to increase crop yields at any cost. Without the advantage of chemicals, coffee farmers have to take better care of their trees to experience the same quality and yields as their toxic competitors. Organic farmers have to grow at higher altitudes and choose viable soil and water sources in order to avoid adding synthetic nutrients later. Organic farmers have to accept a trade-off of lower overall yield in exchange for a more biodiverse habitat, but it's up to importers like Groundwork to turn this scenario into a win-win. Sustainable farming tends to result in a slower-developing, more flavorful, and nuanced coffee bean, which is exactly what our customers want. We pay above market to reward organic farmers for their phenomenal work, and in so doing we help support the environment, fair trading practices, and the communities we impact. We think it’s money well spent.

How has Los Angeles and its community affected Groundwork?

The moment we opened the doors to our very first cafe in Venice Beach, we knew we had found our calling — and our people. We had a humble goal to source and share with our local community the very best organic coffee we could find, but demand grew quickly and before we knew it we found ourselves roasting 24/7 out of our tiny storefront on Rose Avenue.

Now, nearly 30 years later — thanks to the neighbors and friends we’ve been fortunate enough to serve — we have new cafes opening all along the West Coast and two very busy roasteries. We’ve also been profoundly lucky to see the development of dozens of new organic coffee farms around the world.

But it all started in Los Angeles! So whether it’s our obsession with delicious things, our commitment to progressivism, or our flare for the Cali lifestyle — active, fun, authentic, engaged — we simply can’t hide our roots and would never dream of trying. We couldn’t be more proud of who we are and where we come from.

How do you keep your emissions low?

From agricultural products to energy and even labor, we continuously seek to encourage and participate in a system that makes far-sighted, common sense use of the earth’s resources. Our goal is to provide quality products to customers while maintaining the well-being of the people, environments, and economic status of our entire supply chain.

At our bases of operations, we seek out environmentally friendly and energy-efficient processes, such as solar panels on our main warehouse, a (revolutionary) clean-burning coffee roaster, and recycling programs throughout the company.

At our stores, we provide economic incentives to customers to reuse and recycle whenever possible. From disposables to merchandise, everything we use is evaluated and chosen based on its utility and impact on the environment. Even the main architectural elements of our cafes are made from significant amounts of reclaimed and recycled materials, particularly wood and glass. Our flagship store in Venice Beach is housed in a turn-of-the-century horse stable which has been converted into a cafe. As a company committed to the long haul, we're determined to create a sustainable model for our business and the products we sell.