Crimson Cup Sustainability Director Brandon in Online Panel Discussion About Equity in Coffee Hosted by Vanderbilt University

Crimson Cup Director of Sustainability Brandon Bir took part in an online discussion on “Information and Education Access as a Consumer-Side Change Agent” on Thursday, October 21. “I was honored to be given a platform to talk about my experience within the industry,” Bir said. “Bringing attention and equity to all involved in the value chain has always been my underlying goal as a coffee professional.”

The talk was part of the Equity in Coffee Conversation series hosted by the Coffee Equity Lab at Vanderbilt University. Other panelists included Cheyenne Xochitl Love, Founder of Queer Wave Coffee; Lori Jones, Owner of Blackology Coffee; and Darrell Baskin, Retail Educator at Groundwork Coffee. The virtual series focuses on understanding how race, gender, socioeconomic class, geographic location, native language and other factors affect coffee professionals’ access to information, education and professional development experiences.

“These types of events are important for the sustainability of our industry, as more and more people who are treated unfairly are leaving coffee altogether.” With over 14 years of specialty coffee experience, Bir serves as East Regional Coordinator for the SCA USA Chapter Committee. He joined Crimson Cup in April 2010. As Director of Sustainability, he travels over 100,000 miles in an average year to grow relationships with coffee farmers and processors.

Through its Friend2Farmer initiatives, Crimson Cup works to connect farmers and cooperatives to resources that allow them to increase the quality of coffee and life for their communities. Bir’s team makes several trips a year to source exceptional coffees, strengthen relationships, and help fund community-enriching projects like schools, homes and water filtration.

The initiatives contribute to The Ripple Effect: a focus on good that ripples outward to affect the lives of the company’s team, partners and community for years and generations to come. Bir also teaches classes and judges at coffee industry events, including the Golden Bean North America and Australia/New Zealand coffee roasting awards. Among other coffee industry qualifications, he is an Assistant Q Instructor for the Coffee Quality Institute, SCA Lab/Campus Inspector, Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), SCA Specialized Instructor and SCA Lead Instructor. He also serves on the board of the Ohio Culinary Science Advisory Board and volunteers as an SCA Sensory Skills Course Contributor. Brandon earned an MBA in International Business and Sustainability from The University of Wisconsin.

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

Since May 1991, award-winning Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has roasted sustainably sourced craft coffee for consumers and wholesale customers. Through its 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program, the company teaches entrepreneurs to how to open a coffee shop in their community. By developing a coffee shop business plan, entrepreneurs gain insight into how much it costs to open a coffee shop. The company also operates several Crimson Cup Coffee Houses and a new Crimson retail flagship store.

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