About Kickapoo Coffee
In our search for the perfect roast, we team up with small-scale farmers who share our vision for quality. As these partnerships deepen over time, our farmer partners earn additional income while our coffees get sweeter and more delicious. By clicking on the pages to the left, you can learn more about our practices, ethics, and passion for what we do.
We are a family-scale enterprise situated near the scenic Kickapoo River in the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin. The foundation of our business is our shared values: connection to the land, consideration for our local and global community, and commitment to our families and those of our trading partners.
- Good Food Award, 2017
- Good Food Award, 2016
- Good Food Award, 2014
- Good Food Award, 2013
- Good Food Award, 2012
- Top 15 Coffees in the World, 2013 - Coffee Review
- Best Coffee Roasters in the US, 2013 - Complex City Guide
- Roaster of the Year, 2010 - Roast Magazine
- Five 94+ scores since 2008
Sustainability is at the heart of our mission, so we make a continuous and comprehensive effort to incorporate sustainable practices into every aspect of our business.
Sourcing our green coffee
We trade directly with small-scale sustainable producers to ensure their practices meet or exceed the minimum standard for fairly traded beans and to allow us to build lasting partnerships with farmers willing to meet our high standards for quality. You can read more about our fair trade relationships in the Fair Trade page of the About Coffee section, and learn about the farmers on the Single Origin product pages in the Buy Coffee section.
Plastic packaging is one of the major environmental costs of the coffee industry. At Kickapoo Coffee, we strive to eliminate plastic from our operations. All of our prepackaged coffee is sold in reusable, recyclable steel cans containing 80 percent post-consumer recycled steel. Our one-pound bags feature a biodegradable glycine liner, and we package the majority of our bulk five-pound bags in biodegradable kraft bags.
On a more fundamental level, we are actively engaged in cultivating a local customer base. Although we ship our coffee all around the country to discriminating coffee drinkers, the bulk of our production is hand-delivered or shipped within a 200-mile radius. Through cupping events, sponsorships, and so on, we are building a strong customer base within our immediate community and the surrounding region.
T.J. Semanchin, Co-Owner
T.J. found his way to coffee after working and traveling in Latin America, focusing on sustainable development. Convinced that fair trade, organic coffee was the best bet for farmers in Latin America, T.J. returned to the States and has spent 11 years in the coffee industry working for social change. He is married with two children.
Caleb Nicholes, Co-Owner
For most of his life, Caleb has been a professional gourmand, including three years as an importer of boutique European wines and nine years as a coffee roaster. His work in the wine industry took him all over France, Italy, and Spain where he learned that "if you run fast enough, you don't actually run with the bulls." Caleb is married with three children.