Fig Leaf Coffee Company puts a lot into crafting a great cup of coffee

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Tom Nemeth, Owner and Head Roaster Fig Leaf Coffee Company masters the cost and quality of coffee production

By Tom Nemeth, Owner; Fig Leaf Coffee Company

Roasting coffee is a hard job. I have worked numerous manual labor jobs but also worked as a corporate accountant for almost 20 years. This job is by far one of the hardest I have had, both physically and mentally. It is surprisingly one of the lowest paying jobs I have had, too. Financial stability comes with growth, predictable markets and cooperative world-wide climates. We got the growth part, but the others are tough.

While we’re into the sixth year of production and doing really well, each year brings challenges and unforeseen roadblocks we can’t anticipate. The largest roadblock is anticipating the cost of raw/green coffee. Since COVID started, we have seen an increase of 140 percent in the cost of green coffee. This is a commodity, and we expect fluctuation in the market, but that increase is extraordinary. Additional increases are freight (up 70 percent) and utilities (up more than 60 percent). Unfortunately, the rate paid to farmers as a whole did not increase and has not increased since 1979. This is why we try to focus on buying from small farms or farm cooperatives where we know they are getting paid better rates. These are some of the factors that influence the price you pay for quality, specialty coffee.

There is a silver lining through all these industry issues. The coffee market is very competitive and filled with determined and passionate people. Coffee quality is at an all-time high, with new production methods being introduced often. We’re watching the industry grow by producing new varieties of coffee that are more drought and disease tolerant. We’re also seeing coffee consumers (our customers) actively seeking out education and information about the products we’re selling. One of my main goals is to help educate every customer about the specialty coffee industry so this is a huge win.

All this information helps our customers make informed decisions in choosing some of the highest quality coffee around, particularly our Ultra-Specialty line of products. These products are the best of the best and in some cases rare offerings. We always have 100 percent Kona in stock and currently have a Honey Processed offering from Uganda and a Gesha offering from Colombia. Check them out on our website at

Fig Leaf Coffee is located in West Geauga Plaza Shopping Center at 12628 Chillicothe Rd. in Chesterland. For more information call 216-645-6167. The web address is

Categories: Eastside Food & Dining