Our History

Our History

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  • Our Team


    Our team makes Thanksgiving Coffee function as a unified whole. It is a dance we all do together to bring our mission alive - we "enhance the well-being of all we touch, from coffee grower to coffee drinker."

    Our co-founders, Joan and Paul Katzeff  who are still with us, 50 years later - set the tone, the way, and the path for us to follow. They may have retired to the Board but there presence still permeates our culture.


    Persistently bold in their visionary approach to coffee, the founders of Thanksgiving Coffee led an industry toward equality and justice. Their leadership established ethical sourcing directly from small-scale farmer cooperatives which in turn inspired the first Fair Trade model. The company is built on the interconnectedness of coffee farmers, the coffee they produce, and the health and wellbeing of our shared environment.

    Jonah generally drinks light to medium roast blends. A few of his go-to coffees are FTO Mocha Java, Paul’s Blend, and FTO Beaujolais. He loves our Kenya, Ethiopia Gedeb, and Panama Geisha single origins for special occasions.

    Jacob takes his coffee black. He likes to brew it with a full immersion process either with a Soft Brew or a French Press. He prefers light roasts from Ethiopia, the favorite is a wet processed Ethiopian coffee from the Yirgacheffe region.

    Jennifer's favorite coffee is anything made by Thanksgiving Coffee Company and she likes it strong with a good flavored creamer.

    Joe's current favorite is the Panama Gesha with its brilliant high fruity notes, soft but balanced acidity with a firm low end for a light roast. The primary brewing method he uses at home is the French press (and an antique grinder!)

    Together our leadership continues to work with coffee as our medium, community resilience as our passion, and the health and happiness of our farmers as our goal. “Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup” is our motto, and it is as true as ever. A new generation with a regenerative vision, I invite you to meet our leadership team.

    Learn More About our Leadership Team


    Awards from our Roastmaster & Crew:

    2019 Good Food Award

    2017 Macro Roaster of the Year


    Our Roasters are the heart of our company, they keep it alive with the heat and fire of the roasting trade. Led by Jacob Long, our Roastmaster and Director of Coffee, they transform the green beans and produce some of the finest coffees through out the world.

    The roasting process is a living, breathing commitment, as every batch of beans turn in the barrel of the roaster, our team are giving their undivided attention and care to produce our amazing coffee. We invite you to meet the roasters of Thanksgiving Coffee Company.

    Learn More About Our Roasters Here


    Thanksgiving Coffee's Sales and Delivery Crew are full of knowledge handed down by our founders, Joan and Paul Katzeff, and the valuable team their son, Jonah Katzeff CEO, has assembled to serve our community. The Sales Team is lead by Joe Seta.
    Rafael Aviles - Sales for Thanksgiving Coffee Company
    The coffee our team delivers and the support they give you are built on the unique relationship with the family farms and small co-operatives that Thanksgiving Coffee has cultivated with and for generations of coffee farmers.
    Learn More About Our Sales and Delivery Team


    Balancing the image, word and purpose of Thanksgiving Coffee is our Marketing Team led by Joe Seta.

    Allie Penex - Graphic Designer for Thanksgiving Coffee Company
    Lavender Grace - Sustainability Consultant for Thanksgiving Coffee Company
    Casey Davis - Consulting for Thanksgiving Coffee Company
    Mischa Hedges - Trim Tab Media


    Our Production Crew are the arms and legs of the company who move deftly between the freshly roasted beans, to produce the final packages for all our wonderful customers. Production is led by Palmer Evans

    Here are some of the coffees our team likes, want to try one?

    Ethiopia Yirgacheffe - Gedeb, Worka co-op

    The Upsetter

    Mocha Java - Medium Roast

    About Us

    Our Team

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  • Our Founders

    Joan and Paul Katzeff

    Joan and Paul believe the secret to great coffee lies in the welfare of the farmers who grow it. They have worked for economic and environmental sustainability for our farmers so they can take better care of their coffee trees. Making sure our farmers benefit from the quality of their crop means they can pursue continual improvement, and pass their craft onto the next generation. This is why they did what they did.

    Commitment to Sustainable Practices

    Our commitment to sustainability began in 1985 after Paul Katzeff returned from his first trip to an “origin” country. That began TCC’s focus on Social Justice.

    This interaction, while Katzeff was SCAA President, led to the creation of the SCAA’s involvement with coffee people. It influenced Bill Fishbein to create Coffee Kids and led to years of TCC’s sponsorship of Village Banks in Guatemala and Mexico, in which Coffee Kids acted as trainers and facilitators. Our Nixamel (Corn Grinder Project) was one of the first Food Security Projects sponsored by TCC and facilitated in Mexico by Coffee Kids.

    In 1992 we introduced our line of certified single origin organic coffees called " The Harvest Line" consisting of coffees from Mexico, Peru and Guatemala. This was the first coffee package to feature pictures of the farmers from each country. The packages were labeled Aztec, Inca and Mayan Harvest, to celebrate the people who produced the coffee and their ancient cultures.

    Thanksgiving introduced the first shade grown coffee line in 1996.

    Then in 2015 we joined the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center team. The SMBC "Bird Friendly" Certification is the only 100% Organic and shade-grown coffee certification available. This seal of approval ensures tropical "agro forests" are preserved and migratory birds find a healthy haven when they travel from your backyard to those faraway coffee farms.

    Our ethical sourcing model, direct from small-scale farmer cooperatives, was used as the basis for the first fair trade certification from Fairtrade. We introduced some of the first Fairtrade certified coffees in 1999.

    In 2001, we worked with USAID to introduce the first farmer-owned cupping labs in small cooperatives in Nicaragua. This allowed farmers for the first time to taste and improve their own coffees, thus understanding the true value for their product, and enabling them to achieve fair market prices for their beans.  

    We are proud to have been recognized across the coffee industry and the business community for these efforts, including Rotary International Ethics in Business Award in 2021, and Roast Magazine’s Roaster of the Year award in 2017, a once-in-a-lifetime achievement reflecting our decades of quality coffee and sustainability leadership. Read more

    Second Generation


    We are grateful that after more than 50 years — and now in our second-generation of leadership, with Jonah Katzeff as CEO — we are still providing employment to our community, advancing sustainability at a time when our world needs it, supporting farmers, and bringing world-class coffee to those who love it.  

    Jonah Katzeff, CEO

    Joan Katzeff, Co-Founder


    Most of all, we are thankful for you, our Coast community and coffee drinkers around the world, who enabled a small roaster in rural Northern California to help change the coffee world for farmers and consumers alike. You have an astounding array of high quality, sustainable, specialty coffee to choose from today. 


    Thank you for being part of this journey with us.  

    Co-Founders Paul and Joan Katzeff 2022

    Original Poster Created for Thanksgiving Coffee Company 1974

    Fifty Years of Story - Creating More Every Day

    Joan Katzeff

    Our Founders

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  • The Dr. Jean Mayer Award

    Institute for Global Leadership

    Originaly Posted On

    Mar 4, 2008

    Dear Friends,

    Tonight, in a beautifully organized ceremony at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, we accepted the 2008 Jean Mayer Award for Global Citizenship. This event was in many ways the kick-off for our month-long tour, and if beginnings are a sign of what's to come, this is going to be a fun few weeks. JJ, Sinina, Margaret, and Sam all spoke about their experience as coffee farmers, and their participation with Peace Kawomera. JJ shared some especially powerful words, pointing out that the work of making peace was just as serious as the work of preparing for war. He added that he felt we had done something small, but that there was much to do still. What we've done in Uganda is nothing if we can't find a way to build peace in Kenya, in Israel, and in Palestine. JJ's powerful words reminded me of the courage that it took to begin this effort, to take a first step into the unknown, and of the power of these farmers, and the many lessons they have to teach our world.

    I wish I had transcriptions of what everyone said, but alas, I only have the speech that I wrote, which ended up turning into something else in the moment. Anyway, for the sake of sharing, I'm pasting it in here for those of you who are interested. Thanks for your support: it's people like you who've make this project real every day!

    Yours in Peace,


    Image of the plaque of The Dr. Jean Mayer GlobalCitizens Award 2008 

    The Dr. Jean Mayer GlobalCitizens Award 2008

    Ben Corey-Moran, Director of Coffee 2003-2009

    Ben Corey-Moran, Director of Coffee 2003-2009

    (Here's my speech)

    I want to first thank Tufts University, and your Institute for Global Leadership for this tremendous recognition. We are deeply honored to receive this year's Jean Meyer Award, and to stand side-by-side with the previous winners. We commit to you to use this award to continue our work, in the service of peace and of justice.

    To Rabbi Jeff Summit and his wonderful wife Gail, thank you for making Boston our home.

    To Joan and Paul Katzeff, friends, mentors, and colleagues: the love you've put into our Thanksgiving Coffee Company since the day you opened its doors in 1972 is what got us here. Thank you.

    To everyone back home in Fort Bragg, the people who make our work possible every day, thank you.

    To my dear friend and colleague Holly Moskowitz: your commitment to the success of this project is immense. The movement you've built is strong. We would not have succeeded without you.

    To Laura Wetzler, and the whole Kulanu family: you are bridge builders and matchmakers, a new kind of shiddach for our changing world. We thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the Abaydaya, and their Muslim, and Christian neighbors in Uganda. None of this would be without you. We are proud to share this honor with you.

    Lastly, and most importantly, to the farmers of Peace Kawomera: you are a light in this world. Your example has taught us so much. I thank you for your strength, and for the courage it took to step into the unknown together. You have so much to teach us. It has been my honor to grow together as family. May our children one day know each other, and may they continue this partnership for generations.

    Thanksgiving Coffee Company is a business built on the belief that the basic values of community, fairness, trust, honesty, and caring don't end when the workday starts. We believe that business is responsible for its actions, its impact, and for the well-being of every person, every community, every forest, and every river, from the headwaters of our business, to its final destination.

    Our responsibility to the farmers who grow our coffees, be they in Nicaragua, Rwanda, Ethiopia, or Uganda, is to build a fair trade of great coffee for a reasonable price, one that ensures the well-being of the farmers and their families, and the success of our business. It is a simple responsibility actually, simply human, but unfortunately, it is historically rare, and difficult to achieve.

    We are the buyer, on the other end of the supply chain, for coffee produced with love, care, and craft. Our commitment is to the farmer's future: we don't just come one year and leave the next. We return year after year, and help to build the stability farmers need to invest in their businesses, and realize their dreams. Our responsibility, the one we invite our customers to join us in, is to build the market demand necessary to sustain the production from our partner cooperatives, year after year, thereby lessening the distance between farmer and barista, producer and consumer. Trading great coffee for fair prices makes sense, but it's not easy, and our world has long since lost track of the simple logic of fairness and sustainability.

    We are in the business of creating a different kind of business, so that business can create a different kind of world. In order to do this, we have got to unwrap ourselves from what we've inherited so that we can heal the damage that's been done. The same thinking that got us here can't get us out of here. The same tools which we've used can't fix the problems they've created. Which is really just another way of saying that we have to create a business that's about people, a business whose imagination is bigger than profits, and inclusive of more than just its shareholders. We have to create a business whose conception of profit goes beyond self, because we are all people, and there is no justification for gaining at another's expense.

    Oh, economics, ”the dismal science".

    Transaction? - producer - consumer? You notice that this doesn't sound like the neighborhood you live in. It doesn't sound like community, because it's not. If you lived next door to the farmers who grew your coffee, you wouldn't pay nothing and then go on with your day.

    Let's imagine a new kind of economy, an economy of people. Transaction? How about interaction? You notice that our very language hides us from ourselves. How about relationships between people: farmer and mother, Muslim and Jew, Ugandan and American. How about JJ, and you, and me? Let's get to know each other, let's talk shop. We can sit down for a cup of coffee, let's do business. Let's live together, let's make the world a smaller place, a richer place. I submit the radical notion that we can use capitalism to heal itself. That we can create a culture that would civilize this savage beast, based on what a former Jean Meyer prize winner, Archbishop Tutu once said: "God created enough for all of our needs, but not enough for all of our greed."

    This is the story of a different kind of business. And stories like, the story of Peace Kawomera, are what shape and change the world.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    When I first met JJ Keki, in the winter of 2004, he asked me if we would join him to build peace. He thanked me and my colleagues at Thanksgiving Coffee for agreeing to buy his cooperative's first harvest. He told us that it was coffee that united his community, and that through fair trade he could convince his neighbors that there was more to be gained by working together than there was to be had from competition with each other. We committed to being his partner, guaranteeing a fair price for all of the coffee his cooperative could produce.

    Then he set a challenge to me that has filled my days and my dreams ever since. JJ asked me how we would bring the story of Peace Kawomera to Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the United States. To be the teller of a story of such power is an enormous responsibility, that much I knew then. To be honest with you, at that moment, I didn't think we could, I didn't imagine that we could. It seemed like something extra that we would have to do, something that would take more than it would give. Something that would distract us from our obligation to find a market, buy this year's coffee, and to return next year, to purchase the next harvest. I was wrong, thankfully, and JJ, in his JJ kind of way, was asking me to see his dream, and to become a part of it.

    From vision to practice, from dream to reality, we have been guided by the courage, inspiration, and example of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. We have been guided by what started as JJ's dream, the dream that his neighbors began to dream, the dream they are still dreaming.

    Tonight I want to tell you the story of our work with over four dozen churches, synagogues, and mosques in the United States. Theirs is the the other half of the story of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative: together, linked through our little coffee company, this new alliance of Jews, Christians, and Muslims is creating the market necessary to sustain the farmers of Peace Kawomera.

    Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques in the United States, American Christians, Jews, and Muslims, have come together to support Christian, Jewish, and Muslim coffee farmers in Uganda.

    So I think that this award is also for the thousands of people who have heard this story, and who connected hand with heart to make real their support of this project. This award is for them: the people who heard a sermon, or read an article, or listened to a friend, and then said wow, beautiful, and then stepped up to do their part in making this real.

    They are the ones, and let me tell you, they are the most amazing people, religious school teachers, single moms finishing PhD dissertations, travel agents, and filmmakers, each of whom has taken this to their community, and in their own way, mobilized their friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family. Every day these people brew a cup of this sweet coffee, and make it part of their lives. Every week, they buy a package. They are building a market, one-by-one, but they are also building a relationship with this cooperative, far away in Uganda. They are bringing the world together, making it a smaller place, a more peaceful place, and a more human place.

    These are people of different faiths who see that each of our proud traditions converge in our teachings of justice, of the essential worth and dignity of our fellow humans, and in our responsibility to inform our daily lives with these deepest beliefs. Together, these communities are beginning to see that, like the farmers of the Peace Kawomera Cooperative, there is more to be gained by finding our shared common ground, and by building a world together, based on that foundation.

    You know, the economists talk about producers and consumers. One creates and the other takes, one sells and the other buys. I'd like to suggest tonight that we re-imagine that relationship, and begin to look for ways to be producers, together, of the kind of world we'd like to live in. We talk a lot about empowerment. I'd like to point out that we all have power to create the kind of world we'd like to live in. It's often times as simple as the choices you make when you shop. So let's empower ourselves to buy in a way that creates, and to recognize that when we do so, we not only fulfill our responsibility to pay a fair price, but that we also empower the dreams of people around the world, dreams of a future of peace and beauty. I'd like to end with the words of Arundhati Roy, from India, one of our world's most courageous voices.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

    Letter from the Institute for Global Leadership February 13, 2008

    Letter from the Institute for Global Leadership February 13, 2008

    Using Coffee as our medium for change


    The Dr. Jean Mayer Award

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