Friends of many years, roastmaster Daniel Randall and his business partner, Kevin Donnelly, opened Red Star Coffee in Santa Barbara County. With a combined 25 years in the specialty coffee industry, they built their business solely on exceptional coffee and service.
“We have never performed any marketing or advertising,” Randall says. “All our business is based on word of mouth and referrals from our happy customers. Our product and customer service speaks for itself.”
On April 20, Red Star Coffee became Green Star Coffee. “The Green Star Coffee identity is more in line with our core values of sustainability, eco-friendly practices and offering the highest quality certified organic and fair trade coffees and teas on the market,” Randall says. “For us, it is business as usual but with a new look and feel that reflect who we are in the marketplace.”
Buying only the top 3 percent of the specialty coffee on the market, Green Star Coffee offers a wide variety of proprietary and custom blends. It is focused on purchasing green coffee beans and fine teas from villages and importers that are committed to fair trade and working toward better economic opportunity and improved environment and health for coffee farmers and their families.
As the only coffee roaster that is a TransFair USA licensed partner in Santa Barbara County, Green Star Coffee proudly offers fair trade certified products. This certification guarantees that these coffees are purchased at a “fair trade” price that is guaranteed to growers, allowing them to invest in their farms, their communities and their families.
The launch of Green Star Coffee coincided with Earth Day. At a time when climate change and other energy-related concerns have captured national attention, Green Star Coffee was honored to be a sponsor of the event.
“By exclusively roasting certified organic and fair trade coffees, we reiterate our commitment to protecting not only the environment and our customers’ health, but also the people cultivating our beloved beans as well,” Donnelly says.
An illustration of the depth of Green Star Coffee’s commitment to organic products is its flavored coffees. By USDA standards, 3 percent of the ingredients in an organic product may be nonorganic. Typically, the substances used to flavor coffee are anything but organic, and the amount applied is under the 3 percent guideline. So, many roasters will pollute an organic coffee with nonorganic flavorings and declare it organic. Green Star Coffee, however, uses 100 percent organic flavorings, thus offering a rarely found true organic flavored coffee.
“We are consistently reminded of the health benefits of drinking organic coffee that is roasted correctly,” Donnelly says. “Just the other day, one of our dedicated customers came in to purchase his biweekly supply for he and his wife. He was practically teary-eyed and thanked us. He informed us that his wife, a coffee lover, had been unable to drink coffee for years due to stomach problems associated with her coffee drinking, but all that has changed since she tried Green Star coffee. She now enjoys her morning cup with her husband and he is thrilled about that. Dan and I hear this type of story very often.”
Randall speaks of his wife, who has been a nurse for more than 20 years. “She’s convinced of the important role organic foods play in our health, as the larger number of her oncology patients are from agricultural areas and/or whose families are agricultural workers. By eliminating the use of dangerous pesticides in the production of our coffees and teas, we increase safety for the farmers as well as our customers.”
Individuals can make a difference by insisting on fair trade and organic coffees, just as Green Star Coffee makes a difference by providing them.
Kevin Donnelly is a Green Star Coffee co-founder and partner.