A Miami-based coffee company is hoping to help preserve the future health of Biscayne Bay, one cup of joe at a time.
Officially launched in May, Biscayne Coffee Co. is an eco-friendly brand created by Steve Turk, founder of Turk Hospitality Ventures and the voice behind "The Hospitality Mentor" podcast.
Turk, who lives near Biscayne Bay in Edgewater, recalls walking with his two young children one morning and witnessing the aftermath of the 2020 fish kill.
“My kids were asking me what happened, and it was frightening to see so many dead fish,” Turk tells New Times. “It angered me and made me sad, and I thought: 'There has to be something I can do.'”
The next morning, while having his morning cup of coffee, Turk found inspiration.
"I was looking out over the bay and it hit me. I could roast a really good coffee, right here in Miami, and use the proceeds to help protect the bay,” says Turk, who has overseen food and beverage operations for high-end luxury and lifestyle hotel brands including Loews Hotels, Mandarin Oriental, Nobu, Delano, and Viceroy.
For that reason, Turk adds, he's passionate about creating a coffee brand that can stand up to the toughest critics. So he found a local roaster who could produce a high-end product that could do good and taste good.
Just a few weeks after launching the product online, Turk says he has made several donations to the Biscayne Bay Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase awareness of the health, safety, and sustainability of Biscayne Bay waterways. It's all part of his pledge to donate 10 percent of all Biscayne Coffee Co. sales to the foundation.
The donations will be used to support a variety of clean-up programs, Turk says. "But what we'd really like to be able to do is help the foundation hire two full-time employees who will be responsible for cleaning the bay every day. We have to sell a lot of coffee to get there, but that’s the goal."
Bags of coffee are priced at $18.96 — a nod to the year Miami was founded. A variety of branded Biscayne Coffee merchandise is also for sale on the website, including travel mugs, coffee mugs, T-shirts, and insulated tumblers, with prices starting at $3.99 and a cut put aside for the Biscayne Bay Foundation.
"As you're drinking this coffee — or just buying a mug or a T-shirt, whatever it might be — our supporters can know the proceeds are going directly to helping the bay," Turk notes.
Biscayne Coffee's product lineup includes Biscayne Blend Dark Roast, a mix of beans from Indonesia, Central, and South America that offers complex flavors with hints of dark chocolate, raspberry, and sugar cane; Biscayne Single Origin Colombia, a medium roast made with beans farmed in the Huila region with tasting notes of orange, caramel, and milk chocolate; and Biscayne Blend Light Roast, with flavors of grapefruit, apple, caramel, and roasted hazelnut.
"Born and raised in Miami, I know the people of the area really care about the bay. My hope is that this brand can be a way to inspire everyone to support this initiative and show Miami we care about where we live," Turk says.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.