THE COFFEE POTTERS
Where Art Meets Flavor
Art Meets Flavor:
So, what does that mean? More than a catchphrase, we are both artists who enjoy beautiful, unique, personal expression in our lives. For years we have both pursued artistic expression through painting, writing, and ceramics. Both of us are also coffee lovers. Long ago we donated our mass-produced cups and plates to charity and produced our own handmade service-ware. The experience was transformative for us, as it added art to our everyday lives. Our coffees are unique; the picking, sorting, and roasting process are labor-intensive and performed by people we consider experts—these people are artists in their own right. Enjoying coffee produced by these painstaking efforts seemed much more meaningful when using a cup made through a similar process. We are not opposed to mass-produced mugs and coffee cups. While perfectly suited for their purpose, factory produced drinking vessels tell no stories of their own and add nothing to the experience of enjoying a fine coffee. Each mug we sell is handmade and absolutely unique. Each is a product of the skill and artistic vision of a potter who throws each base on the wheel and handcrafts and attaches each handle. Because we found the experience more meaningful, we thought we would share. Now you do not need to become a boutique coffee grower or roaster, nor do you need to craft your own service-ware to enjoy the experience of handcrafted coffee and handcrafted pottery. We have you covered. Let us help you take a few minutes each morning to settle back and enjoy the finer things in life through the tactile feel and visual beauty of our mugs, as the rich aroma of fine coffee transports you in those moments before you savor the flavor.
One of Our Primary Missions is to combat Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is a global problem, and unfortunately that includes the coffee industry. Fair-trade coffees offer the consumer piece of mind, but the fair-trade system does little to benefit the poorest coffee growers in the world (Dragusanu n.d.; Wydick 2016), and then there is the quality. Fair-trade coffees are sourced from cooperatives with set prices, which attract growers to dump their pour quality beans at a guaranteed standard price. As coffee lovers ourselves, we have been disappointed by quality of fair-trade coffee. We were determined to find a better way. We entered the coffee business with the goal of providing premium quality, ethically sourced, and sustainably grown coffee. Our single-origin coffee is sourced directly from family-owned and operated farms around the world. The beans are picked ripe and hand-sorted to ensure consistent quality. We’re proud of the approach, and of the product. This approach may be slightly more expensive, but it enables us, and you, to enjoy high-quality coffee without contributing to the scourge of human trafficking. Whether you buy from us or someone else, it is up to all of us to ensure our coffee is ethically sourced.
Who We Are:
Rick is a man of many talents. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and earned full retirement after nearly two decades of service. An aviation electronics specialist in the Navy, he served aboard 6 aircraft carriers during his long career--the U.S.S. America, the U.S.S Enterprise, the U.S.S. Kittyhawk, U.S.S. Nimitz, U.S.S. Lexington, and the U.S.S Carl Vinson. It was on the U.S.S. Carl Vinson he served during the Gulf War in the Persian Gulf. Upon retiring from the navy, he studied English, and then he chased a dream: he attended the University of Arkansas and graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture. He gained his license to practice and worked for several years designing business park and housing developments, city parks, retirement centers, and high-end residential projects. Northwest Arkansas is all the more beautiful because of his talent and vision. Rick is also a talented artist. Rick paints (watercolor and acrylics), sketches (pencil, charcoal, and ink), and he plays guitar. Rick’s success as a Landscape Architect was enhanced by his tremendous artistic talent, as clients are always stunned by his design plans and renderings. An artist in the kitchen, Rick also loves to cook from the vegetables and herbs he grows in the garden. His from-scratch marinara and bolognaise sauces are worthy of tastebud shattering envy.
Chris has more degrees than a thermometer (BA, MA, JD, Ph.D.). He practiced law in the early 2000s, and then went to work full-time at the University researching legal responses to federal terrorism trials and earned a Ph.D. while managing a federal research project. In 2008, Chris began teaching as a professor in the Sociology and Criminology Department. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and mentoring, including the Imhoff Award (2017), the University’s highest honor in teaching and mentoring. In 2013 he worked with students on an honors project concerning Human Trafficking. That changed everything. He shifted focus and created a research project and database to study and help curb human trafficking. He created and continues to teach an upper-level course on Human Trafficking, sponsors symposiums, and is active in collaborating with subject-matter experts in the field. Aside from presenting scores of research discussions at professional conferences, publishing dozens of academic articles and book chapters, as well as a book (American Terrorism Trials: Prosecutorial and Defense strategies), Chris is an artist as well. He plays Saxophone, he’s paints (acrylic), and he is a potter. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Community Creative Center, a community art center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and even finds time each year to teach beginning and intermediate wheel classes, …and in his spare time, he produces the beautiful pieces we sell on this site. To boot, he has also written and published a 4-book fiction series available on Amazon (The Weald Fae Journals).
Chris and Rick are both devoted coffee-lovers, touring coffee plantations while traveling, and always ready for that next amazing cup. After Chris began researching human trafficking, his love of coffee was nearly shattered. It was sobering to realize that a huge proportion of commercial coffee is the product of human trafficking. It was even more sobering to learn that one of their "former" favorite growers was implicated in a human trafficking ring. Unfortunately, the methods in which most companies source coffee make it nearly impossible for the consumer to know whether their coffee is trafficking free. Moreover, tainted beans are intermixed and sold with those grown, picked and sorted by good growers, so it is likely that most commercial coffee contains the work of human slaves. Chris and Rick refused to be part of the problem. That's why they are so proud to have partners that only source our beans from family-owned, single-origin coffee farms. Rest assured, the committed team members who source the raw beans and roast them to perfection know where every bean comes from, they know the growers and their families personally. Chris and Rick are proud to offer you a variety of delicious beans that are procured the right way; beans that support good, honest, hardworking family growers all over the world.