If you’re like most people, you probably figured that buying American-grown coffee was just about as possible as buying American-grown bananas. They just don’t grow it here. And even though Buy American advocates avoid imports as much as possible, it wouldn’t be reasonable to suggest that we stop consuming either of these American favorites. Bananas still have to be 100% imported, but now you can buy 100% domestic coffee from the tree to the cup!
USA Coffee Company grows all of their coffee beans in the great state of Hawaii. This land was abandoned by companies like Dole, C&H Sugar and others years ago who left for cheaper land and labor in third-world countries in South America, in The Philippines and elsewhere.
Hawaii currently produces less than 1% of the world’s coffee supply, and USA Coffee Company is currently using only about 3,500 of 29,000 acres of land. And that’s just in the area they happen to have their coffee trees. The company estimates that other land available for producing American coffee, if there was sufficient demand, could fully supply 15% of the world’s coffee, so we are talking about a serious under-utilization of American resources.
Domestic manufacturers deal with less than favorable capacity all the time with so much work being offshored to countries like China and India. Underutilized capacity reduces efficiency, and keeps American producers from offering their products at lower prices since their unit production cost is higher. Operating our manufacturing plants - and our agricultural land - at their full capacity and potential makes our American products more (price) attractive to consumers in other countries and fuels exports. This explains why trade does not necessarily promote growth in America, but rather growth in America promotes trade.
We have a huge opportunity as consumers of such a popular product to substantially increase the amount of the world’s coffee supplied by Americans. There is much more land available than just the 3,500 acres currently being used.
Even though the USA Coffee Company is just now celebrating its first year in operation, they are already looking ahead to expanding their production in the future. However, an investment in the future also requires an investment of time to make it happen. Coffee trees take 3-5 years (usually 5 years) until they produce beans. Meanwhile, literally millions of dollars of American productive, agricultural land remains unused.
USA Coffee Company is also operating at a competitive disadvantage compared to their foreign competitors as is often the case for domestic producers that patriotically choose to operate in the United States. They must comply with strict FDA rules that prohibit the use of any chemicals where other countries are not. Their coffee is also the first "unofficially organic" coffee available since the only reason it cannot be offcially labeled organic is simply because of the soil.
This 100% American coffee is also made with 100% union labor from harvesting and machining to loading, packing and shipping. And they said there were jobs that American just wouldn’t do. These American unions, from the Longshoreman and Teamsters to the Machinists and United Food and Commercial Workers, also participate in affiliate programs which rebate a small amount back to the union for each pound of coffee sold. But these proceeds cannot by law be used for routine union activities or political purposes. Instead, they are used to fund various charities from which many Americans benefit.
For instance, proceeds rebated to the International Association of Machinists Union support the Guiding Eye Dogs of America. Proceeds rebated to the Teamsters help support their scholarship fund, while funds rebated to the UFCW support finding a cure for Leukemia.
Time and time again, history has shown that both American companies and America’s unions overwhelmingly support causes that benefit Americans. From the current struggles of General Motors which pledged to "Keep America Rolling" after September 11, 2001 by donating millions of dollars worth of cash and vehicles to the rescue and clean-up effort to the current struggles of America’s unions to fight for better working conditions, more jobs and higher wages for Americans, we stand to benefit overall when they prosper.
I do belong to a union, but I don’t drink coffee. So unlike most of the products I feature in the Buy American Mention of the Week, I cannot tell you from personal experience that this American coffee embodies a taste that all coffee-drinkers will love. But I can tell you I have spent the last few months getting feedback from coffee drinkers who are also personal friends of mine that have tried it and the response has been 100% favorable. Just a few responses might constitute and opinion, but the several that I have received constitute a consensus. This is good coffee.
Visit the website www.shopusacoffee.com and order your favorite caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee for yourself. In doing so, you’ll not only be supporting American workers in an area previously thought impossible, but you’ll be supporting charities to help fellow Americans realize dreams they never thought were possible as well. Just visit www.shopusacoffee.com. Buy your coffee and Buy American at the same time.