For the last five years, the co-owners of Coffee Emporium — Tony Tausch and his wife Eileen Schwab — have partnered with Olga Hazard, a coffee farmer in Los Andes, Guatemala, to bring high-quality coffee to Cincinnati. During this time, what was originally a simple business agreement quickly became a bond between close friends.
Tausch first came into contact with Hazard 10 years ago at a coffee convention put on by the Specialty Coffee Association of America in Atlanta. The two quickly hit it off, and Tausch and Schwab decided to visit Hazard’s farm in Guatemala.
Her coffee did not disappoint. Thrilled with the quality beans and hospitality, Tausch and Schwab agreed to operate on a direct partnership with Hazard to fill Cincinnati mugs with her Guatemalan coffee.
“What separates her coffee, of course, is the taste,” Tausch says. “It has a great flavor — a great Central American flavor. It tastes like coffee should taste.”
Taste, however, isn’t the only reason Coffee Emporium continues to seek out Hazard and her beans. Their relationship extends beyond quality espresso.
“It’s also the backstory behind it,” Tausch says. “It’s the fact that she has a school on her farm that is teaching kids not just how to be coffee farmers, but to actually go on to high school and college.”
Fueled by the support she has received from Coffee Emporium, Hazard started a kindergarten on her farm to ensure that the children of the 50 families that live in Los Andes get a good start before moving on to primary school.
“Through a direct partnership with a roaster like Coffee Emporium, we can give that income back to the community that is producing (the coffee) with health systems, education systems and conversation projects,” Hazard says. “(Tausch and Schwab are) a really big part of being able to sustain this community for a better future.”
The direct partnership has cut out the middleman, allowing everyone involved an increase in profits. While Hazard may believe she is receiving the better end of the bargain, Tausch says both parties come out on top.
“We both benefit because her coffee is amazing, so we’re able to continue buying the same coffee year after year, and it has improved year after year,” he says.
A combination of the improvements Tausch speaks of and Cincinnati’s profound admiration for Hazard’s coffee beans has left him and his wife no choice but to increase their order in recent years. Coffee Emporium has brought in more than 66,000 pounds of Hazard’s beans in the last three years, most recently importing their largest order at 36,000 pounds this past June to become Hazard’s largest customer.
“It’s very popular because we use it in a couple different coffees,” Tausch says. “We don’t only use it as a straight varietal, meaning its own coffee by itself. We also use it as part of our Breakfast Blend, and we also use it as part of our Old Black Magic.”
Tausch and Schwab have also made Hazard’s coffee beans their sole supporter for all cold brew coffee sold at Coffee Emporium. Given the growing popularity of cold brew coffee among millennials, the demand for Hazard’s beans has skyrocketed.
“A couple years ago, we would make a gallon of cold brew coffee every couple days,” Tausch says. “Now, we’re making 50 to 60 gallons of cold brew coffee every single day.”
Coffee Emporium intends to keep its foot on the gas pedal when it comes to their relationship with Hazard.
“We’ve been very pleased with her coffee and very pleased with our relationship with her, so we definitely plan on going on,” Tausch says.
Hazard mirrors her business partners’ confidence in their relationship.
“Tony and Eileen are very good people,” Hazard says. “I was very impressed with how hard working they are. They’re very good people. I am so honored and privileged that I was able to meet them. We are very thankful, and we look forward to a long-term relationship through generations, hopefully.”
COFFEE EMPORIUM has locations in Over-the-Rhine (110 E. Central Parkway), Hyde Park (3316 Erie Ave.) and Xavier University (3800 Victory Parkway, Evanston). More info: coffee-emporium.com.