Brandon Bir is a 2021 Columbus Monthly Tastemaker

January 4, 2022 (Published: December 24, 2021)
Brandon Bir, East Region Coordinator, SCA USA Chapter

Kudos to Brandon Bir! Columbus Monthly magazine named our Director of Sustainability to its 2021 Tastemakers class of the capital city’s rising culinary stars.

The Tastemakers feature in the magazine’s December 2021 issue highlighted the contributions of 10 rising culinary stars to the Columbus food scene.

“I feel honored to be part of such an exceptional group,” Brandon said. “The food scene in Columbus continues to grow, and I’m just humbled to be recognized with such an innovative collection of the city’s culinary successes.”

Focused on Farmer Relationships, Coffee Education and Coffee Equity

Brandon Bir with Don Julio Abel Arevalo Tello of NARSA
Brandon with Don Julio Abel Arevalo Tello of NARSA, a Peruvian coffee co-op

In Brandon’s profile, writer Beth Stallings highlighted how his work affects the local coffee scene and the global coffee industry.

“His work means new and unique coffee beans are finding their way into Columbus cups,” she wrote.

Of course, sourcing coffee requires building connections in far-off places. Brandon travels over 100,000 miles in an average year to discover exceptional coffees and grow relationships with coffee farmers.

“We secure terrific coffee and invest in getting more of that coffee,” he said, “As a result, the farmer can sell more, and for a higher price.”

Friend2Farmer and The Ripple Effect

Our Friend2Farmer initiatives focus on sustainability. Crimson Cup works hand-in-hand with smallholder coffee farmers and cooperatives to improve the quality of coffee and life for their communities.

Brandon’s team makes several trips a year to strengthen relationships and help fund community-enriching projects like schools, homes, roads, coffee drying racks and water filtration.

The initiatives contribute to The Ripple Effect: a focus on good that ripples outward to affect the lives of the company’s team, partners and community for years and generations to come.

Coffee Knowledge and Connections

Brandon Bir and espesso machineBrandon has devoted over 14 years to honing coffee industry knowledge and connections. Among other qualifications, he is a:

  • Q Grader and Assistant Q Instructor for the Coffee Quality Institute,
  • SCA Lab/Campus Inspector, and
  • Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), SCA Specialized Instructor and SCA Lead Instructor

He earned a Master of Business Administration in International Business and Sustainability from The University of Wisconsin.

Brandon serves as East Regional Coordinator for the Specialty Coffee Association USA Chapter Committee.

He also teaches classes and judges at coffee industry events, including the Golden Bean North America and Australia/New Zealand coffee roasting awards.

A Passionate Advocate for Coffee Equity

Brandon says he hopes to spark more conversations and more movement towards a better tomorrow for all people involved in coffee.

“We created our flagship store, Crimson, to help bridge the communication and knowledge gap between consumers and producers,” he said.

“Only when consumers comprehend the hard work that goes into each cup of coffee – and when farmers understand the qualities that make coffee more desirable to consumers – can we hope to achieve a more sustainable coffee future.”

Working with the Coffee Equity Lab

Brandon recently took part in an online panel discussion, “Information and Education Access as a Consumer-Side Change Agent,” presented by the Coffee Equity Lab at The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s innovation center.

“I’m honored to be given a platform to talk about my experience within the industry,” he said. “Bringing attention and equity to all involved in the value chain is my overarching goal as a coffee professional.”

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