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Valuing the human element: Or what makes any of this worthwhile

So much of what is in the air lately speaks to a disconnect between people. Lack of empathy, compassion, kindness, and respect are everywhere causing suffering to so many. It's overwhelming. 

In the face of this sometimes helpless feeling, it's worth returning to what we can control. Ourselves, and how we want to be in the world. As business owners, Highwire is an extension of who we are and our values reflect how we want to be in the world. 

Rich, Eric and I want Highwire to be the kind of place where people can do what they love for a living and be supported and respected for it. We know that the best coffee (like anything that brings real pleasure) comes from caring. Caring on the part of each person in the long chain of coffee production. From the farmer to the person who prepares and/or drinks it. The teacher and the student. The craftsperson and the customer. The employer and employee. Mindlessness, selfishness, cynicism, or laziness can ruin everyone else's work and the opportunity for connection, pride and pleasure are lost for that moment.

We inhabit the role of a professional and care enough to become good at what we do for a living. This serves the larger goal of pleasure and creating small moments of connection around a cup of coffee or tea. Every day for every customer and each other. When we succeed this is deeply rewarding.

We value the human element of everything we do.  We ask this of ourselves and those who work with us. To be brave and vulnerable enough to care. To invest ourselves in getting better at our work. To see the person across the counter and recognize our shared humanity. To make each other feel safe and supported. To experience moments of connection. These things make our work feel worthwhile and are a fragile balance that we work to maintain. 

It is painful to read recent stories of once-admired figures' transgressions and the suffering of their victims. It is also painful to see the vengeful glee of others who see an opportunity in the suffering. It is my wish that each of us uses these moments of learning for humble self-reflection, healing, and support for those who are in pain. To see and connect with each other as humans worthy of compassion and respect. The whole reason we're here in the first place.



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What's this all about? Values.

Strictly speaking, the world did not need another coffee roaster in 2011. There were already so many places that took pride and care in preparing a cup of coffee. True, the satisfying balance between the signatures of the roaster and the farmer hadn’t been accomplished in the Highwire way, but there was lots of decent coffee.

So I admit, Highwire exists at least in part because of a personal need rather than a market need. The personal need to answer a voice in my head that has always distrusted business to do the right thing. We need this to be different. I believe in the power of voting with one’s wallet, and judging one’s actions rather than words or images. We have run Highwire with these ideas in mind. We want Highwire to be worthy of our employees’ and customers’ trust and loyalty.

Rich, Eric, and I are very different people, who approach work and life individually. We do have some key qualities in common, otherwise, we would have never come together! First and foremost, we care deeply. We care in a way that is personal and political. We really want to change and improve the world. But we’re also pragmatic. We know our impact will be limited. We insist that our beliefs and our work be aligned in a way that can do good, however modestly.

A year ago we wrote a company vision and values statement that we wanted to serve as a commitment to ourselves and our employees. It’s been understood between the three of us for years. We want to make the values explicit. It’s a promise to try and live up to our aspirations. It’s a promise we take seriously. It goes deeper than making popular decisions or winning a branding/pr contest. It’s a sincere intention to use our business as a platform to amplify the good a coffee company can do for its community.

In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more here about the values that drive this modest experiment in entrepreneurship. I believe we’ve found purpose in driving toward these ideals and hope you'll find them as inspiring as we do. 


Robert Myers


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Compostable Coffee Bags on the Way!

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In Remembrance of Donna & Em

We lost two lovely, vibrant members of the Highwire family to the Ghost Ship fire.

If you'd like to support the two memorial funds for Donna and Em, please click on the following links.

Thank you for all of your support and kind words. We're so thankful to be a part of such a caring, strong community.

Donna's Memorial Fund

Em's Memorial Fund

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New Single Origin Coming Soon!

We’re excited to feature this Catuai variety coffee produced by farmer Fidelina Pérez. Grown on a two acre family-owned farm, she’s part of the Catracha Project, which educates local farmers on how to improve their coffee production and create more business opportunities. Fidelina receives all profits from the sale of her exported coffee, providing the main source of income for her, her husband and four children. She plans on using a portion of her earnings to help her daughters attend college.

Our first roast date will be Monday, August 22. Make sure grab a bag while we have it available!

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