By Ben Olson
For the third time in the past decade, Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters took home a coveted Good Food Award on April 21. Known as the James Beard awards of the artisan food world, the Good Food Awards recognize winners from 18 categories, such as cheese, chocolate, beer, wine and coffee, among others. Evans Brothers also took home wins in 2013 and 2017.
What sets this award apart from all others is not just the taste and quality of the final product — it’s a recognition of sustainable food products that go above and beyond their competitors.
“It’s entirely about quality,” Randy Evans told the Reader. “It’s not just how it tastes, but how it’s produced.”
Randy co-owns the coffee roasting business in Sandpoint with his brother Rick. While Randy oversees the coffee production, with longtime employee Daniel Gunter, Rick mainly oversees the running of the business and the marketing/sales.
As the brothers can attest, even submitting to the Good Food Awards means passing a high bar.
“The vetting process for even qualifying to submit requires you showing full traceability of your product; the economic and social environment,” Rick said.
That’s not a problem for Evans Brothers, as they have cultivated a close relationship over the years with Costa Rican farmers Oscar and Francesca Chacon, who own Las Lajas farm, where Evans Brothers’ famous beans originate.
With coffee producers facing hitherto unseen challenges, including climate change and socioeconomic factors, Rick and Randy have continued to support the Chacons producing quality coffee beans that blow commodity coffees out of the water. In fact, Evans Brothers recently sent their marketing manager, Alani Strang, to Costa Rica to meet with the Chacons and learn more about importing specialty coffee.
“The Chacons are the true heroes of the specialty coffee world,” Randy said. “They were really excited to find out their coffee is receiving a Good Food Award.”
The blend that took home the award was named Finca Calle Lajas Natural. Chosen by a panel of judges in a blind taste test, the Finca Calle roast is described as “raspberry, cherry, orange, banana and roasted cacao,” according to Randy’s tasting notes.
Pre-order now to taste the winning roast yourself by visiting evansbrotherscoffee.com. This coffee is very limited and will be roasted May 15.
Taking home just one Good Food Award is a feat in itself, but racking up three wins is something else entirely, especially when taking into account they submitted to the Inland Northwest Division, which includes Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Oregon, Alaska and most notably Washington — where Seattle is a veritable mecca of good coffee.
“It’s a nice recognition of a lot of the hard work we do,” said Randy. “It feels really good to win this one. We do put a lot of emphasis on direct relationships and direct trade sourcing of our coffee and quality matters a lot to us, as well as sustainability.”
“I really feel proud of Randy and Daniel, because those two lead our whole coffee quality effort,” Rick said.
When asked why Evans Brothers makes such an effort to source their coffee beans, Randy said it’s just part of their DNA.
“It’s an inherent belief in the philosophy we’ve had in our business since the very beginning,” he said. “Everything we try to do is high quality … we want the best equipment possible and we have rigorous standards when it comes to roasting or preparing coffee. It really matters to us.”
Evans Brothers employs 30 people and has coffee shops in both Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene.
Visit evansbrotherscoffee.com or follow their social media for updates on how they conquer the coffee world, bean by bean.
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