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What sets Thread Coffee apart? It’s dignity and people above profits.
We work daily to raise the bar on quality of life by creating sustainable systems at home and at origin. Our commitment to smallholder coffee farmers and our sourcing principles are rooted in dignity and solidarity. SInce 2012, Thread Coffee has worked to elevate farmers and empower women at origin and in Baltimore. We build and maintain relationships with farmers through a model of transparent trade built on dignity. We pay above fair-trade prices and reinvest in our farmer communities each year. We strive toward egalitarian governance in our worker-owned model by prioritizing women, queer and POC in our hiring practicies. Sustainability in the coffee supply stream must include all hands lifting up their neighbors and communities. We know that woman cannot live on coffee alone.
Thread Coffee formed in 2012 among friends who wanted to come up with a way to stand in solidarity with different social movements around the world. Our first relationship coffee was with the autonomous Zapatista coffee community in Chiapas, Mexico. Years later, we continue to purchase coffee from those same farmers, and have added more direct trade coffees to our offerings. We stand in solidarity with women and indigenous smallholder farmers around the world.
In 2014, we partnered with Baltimore collective Red Emma’s and became the in-house coffee roaster for their popular vegan restaurant/cafe and bookstore. Between 2014-2017, we grew our wholesale coffee business and continued to grow our commitments to our farmer partners. We expanded our services to include cafe build outs and partnered with Johns Hopkins University and Bon Appetit food service to provide fair trade organic coffee in their university local Real Food campaign.
In 2017, we moved into our new and larger roastery in the mixed-use makerspace in Open Works in Baltimore’s Greenmount West neighborhood. In 2019, we released our first ready-to-drink beverage, our nitro cold brew canned coffee. We were named Best Coffee in Maryland by Food and Wine Magazine in 2019, as well as several notable mentions in Bon Appetit, Sprudge, Daily Coffee News and Roast Magazine.
Nani Ferreira-Mathews started her career in coffee in 2011 in a small Brooklyn cafe that sourced coffee from the transparent importer Crop to Cup. Eager to learn more about coffee production, Nani joined the Joe Coffee roasting team at the Pulley Collective in Red Hook in 2015. She moved from production into sales for Nobletree Coffee and Unique Coffee Roasters.
In 2017, Nani moved to Baltimore, MD to take on the role of Coffee Director for Woodberry Kitchen and its related restaurant group, Foodshed. She left to join Thread Coffee Roasters in 2018. Nani is responsible for Sales and Marketing at Thread Coffee.
In her free time, Nani is a musician, writer and activist. She has released several albums under the name Nani FM. She is writing both fiction and nonfiction and is a frequent contributor to Roast Magazine and Bmore Art.
Holly Kent Payne
Holly was an adjunct professor at a for-profit college in Chicago when she took a part-time barista job at a seedy, second-wave cafe to make ends meet. She became a full time barista when her school abruptly closed in 2016. At Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, she experienced the power of collective action when baristas came together in response to the company’s messy collapse. She was a lead barista at Bird in Hand in Baltimore before joining Thread in 2018.
Holly is Thread’s head roaster, green buyer, and chief snack officer.
Growing up in England, Holly vividly remembers sipping her first cup of black coffee a stone’s throw from Dracula’s castle in Whitby. Outside of coffee, she has a background in antiwar and labour activism, and a very useful degree in creative writing. She currently enjoys drawing, painting, collecting outlandish vintage clothing, and learning Russian in hopes of one day reading the original Anna Karenina.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Nate Klock started his coffee career in 2016 while working for local coffee and sandwich shop chain, Atwater’s. While there, he took several Counter Culture Coffee classes. Nate instantly fell in love with all things coffee, and yearned to understand the technical aspect behind his favorite drinks.
In 2021, Nate joined Thread Coffee Roasters as a delivery driver and production assistant. Today he is our production manager and espresso technician. Since 2021, he has taken courses with Marco, Bunn, Fluke, Slayer Espresso, and La Marzocco.
In his free time, Nate writes poetry, paints flowers, and has read 19 Stephen King novels.
Michael Zepeda started his coffee career in 2016 as a barista in the bustling DC neighborhood of U Street Corridor at Peregrine Espresso, now Small Planes. His love for coffee increased as he transitioned from patron to barista. During his time in DC, Michael took several Counter Culture Coffee classes that gave him a richer appreciation for coffee and made tasting more interesting and fun. He joined Thread Coffee in 2019 as a barista before transitioning to production assistant. Today, he is a full on coffee addict and enjoys naturally processed coffees as well as light and floral washed coffees. He is learning to roast and wrote the Brew Guide for Thread Coffee Roasters.
In his free time, Michael is a skilled guitarist and musician. He released his first solo album in 2022 under his name, Michael Zepeda. He has watched over 80 movies on AFI’s Top 100. Michael won Michael of the Year in 2020.
Beyond Fair Trade
Thread Coffee works to create relationships directly with farmers, ensuring that producers receive a just price for their beans, and that their coffee is grown in a way that’s good for both the environment and the culture. Thread goes above and beyond fair trade standards to provide a model of trade that is more than just a logo. More and more farmers are expressing that fair trade minimum standards are not, in fact, fair. Thread strives to build a better model by:
- Paying higher prices than the fair trade minimum
- Establishing long-term, direct relationships with farmers
- Supporting practices that protect the environment and the culture
- Making a commitment to participatory democracy and collective structure, both here in the workplace and with the farmers
In striving to create a better model of trade, transparency is key. Thread works to provide information about our coffee’s journey every step of the way. All of our contracts and financials are open and available to the public.
Revolution through Coffee
Many different social movements throughout the world have turned to coffee as a means of supporting their autonomy. From the Zapatistas and Las Abejas of Mexico, to the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we seek to work with farmers we want to stand in solidarity with.