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If you’ve been with us for a while, you’ll know that while we’ve rarely met a coffee we didn’t like, we have a particular affinity for coffees grown in Africa.  East Africa, and Ethiopia in particular, is commonly regarded as the original birthplace of coffee, and perhaps there’s something about that ancient connection to coffee’s origins that makes African coffees so special.  Perhaps more quantifiably, however, specialty grade coffees grown in Africa are widely praised for their complexity of flavor and depth of nuance.  There’s also such a wide variety of flavor profiles to discover – from the iconic berry notes of natural processed Ethiopian coffees, to the bright tangy acidity of Kenya, the full body and deep fruit notes of Burundi, and the bittersweet chocolate and spice tones of Yemen.  So, it may come as no surprise that we were quite excited about our first foray into coffee from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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“Creativity always seemed to be the North Star when it came to my life directions,” said Andrew Reiland, the creative artist behind our fresh FreeForm Coffee branding and beautiful bag designs. We had admired Andrew’s work for years: as the former Creative Director at Cafe Imports, an independent importer of fine specialty green coffees, we’d come across his work on big burlap coffee bags, promotional posters, informational maps, videos of coffee farmers at origin, and more. 
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It all started with an email. They were passing through Sedona en route to perform at South by Southwest, when nationwide quarantine orders went into place. With the music festival canceled and future tour dates postponed, The Bergamot was sheltering at a friend’s home among the red rocks, and Jillian was looking for a locally roasted single-origin coffee to gift to Nathaniel. Next thing we knew, we were going over to their place for freshly baked sourdough bagels, soul-stirring conversation, and of course, coffee.
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What differentiates a creative person from the rest of the pack? Is it inherent in her nature? The influence of a nurturing parent, teacher, or mentor? We believe that inside everyone is a unique drive to create, unbounded, in a free-flowing state that leads the creator to fulfillment both in their craft and in the larger sphere of their lives.
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With great obstacles come great opportunities for growth and change. The world we knew in early 2020 has shifted swiftly and dramatically as we’ve experienced unexpected obstacles from the global pandemic to an economic crash and a resurgence of civil rights demonstrations at home and abroad. Collectively, we’ve had time to reflect and reassess how we live our lives. Whether it’s how we show up for our communities, how we prioritize our personal well-being, or how we put food on the table, we know we aren’t alone in questioning the previous structure that drove our daily lives before. 
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