We love our Northern California community and have operated a family owned roastery on the Mendocino Coast since 1972. We are proud to be Certified B Corp who partners with small family farms and Fair Trade coffee cooperatives on five continents. Coffee is our medium, “Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup” is our message.
Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup
In 1984, The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) hosted its first conference, entitled “Coffee, Human Rights, and Third World Economies.”
Paul, President of SCAA at the time, visited Nicaragua the following year for the first time. When he witnessed the poor living conditions of the coffee farmers first hand it radically changed his view of coffee and how it should be produced and traded.
The trip ignited Thanksgiving Coffee’s mission to become a force for good, committed to improving the lives of our coffee farming family. The company motto was born on Paul’s flight back from Nicaragua on April 17th, 1985 — Not Just A Cup, But A Just Cup.
Thanksgiving Coffee became a conscious company, focused on global, environmental, economic, and social justice. The company’s Fair Trade practices and philanthropic partnerships have enabled coffee cooperatives to build schools, improve roads, and provide healthcare for workers in their communities.
In the beginning, Noyo Harbor was surrounded by rugged fishermen, artisan boat builders, cranky deck hands and the salty aroma of a true working harbor. It was a vibrant, resource-rich environment in the 70s.
Thanksgiving Coffee is deeply committed to the coastal community, where its been located for over 47 years. Local employees roast, package, deliver and ship our products directly from the roastery that overlooks the scenic Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, California.
Thanksgiving Coffee’s first digs in Noyo Harbor
Morning light on the Mendocino coast
In the Noyo Harbor, Paul and Joan witnessed firsthand how trickle-down economics and lack of sustainability affected their local economy. The salmon catches decrease each year, forcing fishermen out of work. They witnessed mass deforestation of redwood trees, logged irresponsibly which closed the local mill, and more jobs were lost. Many talented artisans disappeared from the area, leaving unemployment and a struggling community.
These injustices were a crucible for them to do and be better as a company. Inspired by these lessons, Thanksgiving Coffee is dedicated to a light footprint on the planet and a heavy focus on economic justice.
Every pound of coffee Thanksgiving roasts, and every cup you brew, celebrates the craftsmanship of family farmers and provides stability and hope — here in Mendocino County and in communities around the world.
“The way to great coffee flavor is not direct. The path must be traveled with great care and attention. The way becomes a path, the path a road, and then, magically, the road becomes a highway that leads to people who cultivate the land from which the coffee derives its special flavor. How does one find the path? Through caring. One does not search so much for the road that leads to the tree, as for the road that leads to the heart. This is the secret.”
-PAUL KATZEFF, FOUNDER
Meet Our Founders
Joan and Paul Katzeff established Thanksgiving Coffee Company in 1972, developing their unique coffee roasting craftsmanship. Paul shares the story of their journey …
Paul Katzeff with his dog Panda on the dock of Thanksgiving Coffee’s orginal Noyo Harbor building.
Paul and Joan Katzeff in front of the original “Thanksgiving Coffee” signage in 1972.
Joan Katzeff in Thanksgiving Coffee’s original Noyo Harbor building.
Joan and I started out as two hippie migrants from the urban fast lanes of the East Coast. I was 34 and Joan was 23 when we started Thanksgiving Coffee Company. We met in Mendocino and together we came to the conclusion that roasting coffee was a better way to support ourselves than stringing beads or making leather items or candles.
The culture of the early 70’s supported this urban migration to rural America. Joan and I lived in a little cabin under the redwood trees with gas lights, a wood burning cook stove, and a 150 pound Newfoundland dog named Panda. In 1972 we set up a twenty-five pound roaster at the Mendocino Hotel and began a journey that we never expected to last nor could dream up if we tried today.
We were not looking to save the world when we founded Thanksgiving Coffee. We simply wanted to provide the Northern California coast with the best coffee possible. At the time that meant bringing a spirit of craftsmanship to a stale-coffee-in-a-can-industry.
So much has changed since our humble beginning, but when I think about how to define Thanksgiving Coffee, what comes to mind as a guiding light is the line “take the path that has a heart” from Carlos Castaneda’s 1970’s cult classic, “The Teachings of Don Juan.” We hope that the values imagined in this thought permeate all the work we do – the creation of artisan coffee products made with respect for the world around us.