Uncommon Coffee Roasters(UCR) is a small batch specialty coffee roaster in West Michigan. Owned and operated by Guy Darienzo and Stephen Keye, UCR opened as a café by the name of Uncommon Grounds in Saugatuck in 1994. In 2000, UCR began roasting their own coffee. Due to popular demand, in 2010, UCR opened a wholesale business in the neighboring city of Douglas.
As an NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprise, UCR now provides services to more than 200 small businesses and large corporations throughout the Midwest. The company enjoys working closely with coffee producers to better understand their products, sourcing green coffee globally and traveling to the origin whenever possible. UCR takes pride in their diverse partnerships and strives to work with companies who share similar values. Their goal is to provide a variety of delicious and unique coffees and coffee products to as many people as they can while creating and maintaining sustainable partnerships with customers, coffee producers and everyone in between.
Uncommon Coffee Roasters has always sought out sustainable sources of green coffee beans, traveling to origin to visit farms and meeting producers and farm workers whenever possible. UCR also wants to create and maintain a sustainable workplace for employees and to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are just a few of the ways that the company is helping to accomplish this goal.
Grounds-to-Ground Initiative – Since the beginning of 2017, UCR has donated nearly 12 TONS of exhausted coffee grounds to be repurposed at Houser Enterprises. That’s 24,000 pounds of coffee grounds that were diverted from our landfills! Learn more.
100% Biodegradable Single Serve Cups – UCR cares about providing customers with high quality coffee; They also saw a need for an environmentally friendly option that fulfilled customers needs for convenience as well. The Biodegradable UpShot single-serve capsule encompasses all of the above. It’s landfill free, sustainable and leaves a positive footprint on the environment all while brewing a flavorful cup of coffee that you deserve. Learn more
Coffee in Cartons – UCR teamed with Natural By Nature Dairy to create 3 types of Cold Brew Coffee available in dairy style cartons. The primary raw material for our cartons is wood, a renewable resource from responsibly managed forests and other controlled sources. All our cartons are fully recyclable, thus reducing raw material use and carbon emissions. The shape of the carton provides more space efficiency during transport and storage; transported as a flat-pack prior to filling further reduces delivery costs and environmental impact. Learn more
Compostable Paper Products – UCR designed unique cups and sleeves to enhance their consumer’s coffee experience.
The cups and sleeves are produced by World Centric, a socially responsible company that provides zero waste solutions to reduce environmental impact. Their products are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute(BPI). BPI is a third-party organization that reviews and certifies compostable products that meet ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 conditions for compostability.
UCR provides these compostable paper products available to their wholesale customers at an affordable rate so that they can help to protect the earth’s ecosystems and natural resources for generations to come.
Diversity & Inclusion
Since Uncommon Coffee Roasters opened in 1994, it has always been known as “the local gay coffee shop.” Gay and Lesbian youths (and adults) have always found it welcoming and comfortable and have always been greeted by the rainbow flag.
Since 2009, UCR has worked with the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce of Chicago. In 2012, we became certified as a LGBT Business Enterprise through the National GLCC in Washington, D.C.
The NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. Many Fortune 500 companies work with the NGLCC to show their support of the LGBT community and to enhance their HRC (Human Rights Campaign) Equality Index Score.
In 2014, UCR facility manager, Nita Darienzo, became involved in creating the West Michigan Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and continues to serve on the board.
Uncommon Coffee Roasters is a proud supporting member of both the West Michigan and Chicago GLCC. Visit the NGLCC website for more information about NGLCC and certified LGBT businesses.
Direct Trade Partnerships
Since 1994, relationship has been at the core of everything we do at Uncommon Coffee Roasters. From our customers to our coffee producers, and everybody in between, we make it our priority to build strong, sustainable partnerships.
Uncommon Coffee Roasters has developed several coffee partnerships, also known as direct trade. Each year we become more and more involved with our farmers. President of UCR, Guy Darienzo, and members of the UCR team visit our partners farms each year.
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