Headshots of TJ Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes of Kickapoo Coffee

TJ Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes of Kickapoo Coffee

TJ Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes are the co-founders of Kickapoo Coffee, a gourmet coffee roaster based in Viroqua, Wisconsin. The skills and passions of these men reflect directly in their craft: TJ is a veteran of the coffee world who spent time working, traveling and focusing on sustainable development in Latin America. Caleb is a professional gourmand who specialized in fine wine before his taste buds, and interests, led him to coffee.

Together TJ and Caleb have created a coffee roaster that values social justice every bit as much as superior quality and taste—rather revolutionary, in the coffee business.

In this episode TJ and Caleb discuss the coffee industry—how it’s been problematic for decades (the effects of colonialism are far-reaching, folks!) and how the fair trade movement, a movement that actually began in coffee, is changing the landscape of the industry. TJ and Caleb also talk about Cooperative Coffees, a cooperatively-owned importing organization that allows small roasters, like Kickapoo Coffee, to deal more directly with their farmer partners.

tasting session at Kickapoo Coffee

Tune in to hear about

  • How a cooperative model is eliminating the middle man in coffee
  • “Third wave” coffee—not your Grandmother’s Folgers!
  • Fair trade, what it really means and why it’s important
  • Terrior, meaning “flavor through place”

There’s more where this came from! TJ and Caleb are the second guests in a three-part series we’re doing on tea, coffee and chocolate here at Rootstock Radio.

Listen at the link above, on iTunes, Sticher, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts, and come back to catch the last installment in the series next week.


Looking for the transcript? Click the download button  in the player above!