(Courtesy Sur Coffee/Yelp)
Sur Coffee in San Clemente may have opened their doors at the end of February, but Store Manager and coffee mastermind, Keet Veylupek, has been working in the coffee business for roughly a decade between a handful of companies. Veylupek ties in his experience in the coffee industry with his strong devotion to helping the community in numerous ways.
“We try to work as much as we can to provide what’s best for our farmers. In some regards, that means paying them what they deserve versus what the commodity market says they deserve,” Veylupek says. “In other cases, it might be on the farm side of things, where we try to attribute our resources to help the farmers yield the best crops they can.”
As soon as you walk through the entrance to Sur Coffee, you don’t only see the roasting machine at the end of the coffee bar, but you see the phrase painted on the wall that reads, “Doing good…Farm to Cup.” Many coffee shops use the phrase, “Farm to Cup,” but Sur puts the words “Doing good” in front of the phrase, emphasizing that they take action into their own hands to do it in the best way possible which is through community work they take part in.
What does the phrase “Farm to Cup” mean? “Farm to Cup” means directly working with farmers, just as Sur Coffee does, in various countries across Central and South America in order to get the best possible coffee beans on the market. Most coffee farms are commercialized due to the volume of coffee they have to produce, making the overall quality suffer. Sur is able to monitor the quality of coffee from the very the very start, making sure it is up to their standards before they purchase.
Sur works with roughly 10 different farms and purchases beans from the farms that have beans in season, which then allows them to export the beans all the way to Sur to then be roasted. Once the coffee is roasted on-site at Sur, it can be stored for roughly two to three months. Veylupek not only takes part in going to visit the many farms that Sur has relationships with but also the whole roasting process.
“We try to help make the connection of farm to cup to people, roasting in-store and assuring the freshest coffee possible. We’re trying to tell the bigger picture of it all,” Veylupek says. “The more hands that touch the beans on the farm, the more the quality suffers.”
Sur approaches relationships with their farmers the same way they do with their customers because at the end of the day, the farmers hard work on the farm is why they get to create relationships with their customers in the first place. Veylupek believes that coffee is a great way of connecting those from different backgrounds to come together to help support communities in any way possible.
Sur has the utmost desire to make a difference in their own community of San Clemente as well as the communities in countries that their farmers live. Sur donates profits from their shop to both of those communities and works with the non-profits dear to their heart. Due to opening in feb. and the cornoavirus pandemic, there is no word on what percentage of profits are going back to these communities yet.
In San Clemente, Sur works with local churches, schools and a few non-profits like Steps for Compassion, OCNWTR (Ride4water, The Positive Vibe Warriors. All three of these non-profits strive to do different things in their respective categories.
Sur works in the communities where their farmers are as well. For example, with an orphanage in Tanzania that has a coffee farm on their property, they’re trying to eventually sell their beans to Sur but they don’t have the crop or resources to do so yet. Sur has provided guidance on farming practices so they can fulfill the goal of selling to coffee shops soon.
As a customer, you are becoming part of something larger, which is not just supporting a small, local business. It allows you to now be associated with everything that the business is a part of. You are supporting community events, charities, schools, churches and local non-profits, while you get to enjoy quality coffee, roasted in-store.
Sur is located at 118 South El Camino Real in the laid back beach town of San Clemente and roughly a 15 minute drive from campus.