Local Producer Spotlight: Wonderstate Coffee

Small Town, but No Small Feats

Established in 2005 in a Viroqua, a rural Wisconsin small town about 80 miles northeast of Madison, Wonderstate has become one of the first coffee roasteries in the world to be 100% solar-powered. That feat alone could name Wonderstate Coffee as an accomplished company and roastery — but it doesn’t stop there.

Led by founders Denise & TJ Semanchin and Caleb Nicholes, Wonderstate Coffee is regarded with an industry-leading minimum price guarantee to farmers, more than 80% above the Fair Trade conventional minimum price and over 50% higher than Fair Trade organics prices.

Even more so, Wonderstate donates 5% of its annual profits to community-based initiatives that support a more equitable and resilient future — both in the coffee industry and beyond.

Social Change Starts With Us

Wonderstate Coffee goes beyond the call to donate money, run an eco-conscious roastery and go above and beyond for their farmers. They believe social change begins with them.

Originally established as Kickapoo Coffee, the coffee roastery operated under its original name for 15 years. In April 2019, it was announced that the company would be changing its name after a staff member initiated the conversation regarding the appropriation of the Native American tribe name. While naming their roastery was originally intended to honor the Kickapoo River Valley (the area in which they call home), they realized the unintentional damage they were causing — by using “Kickapoo” their company named claimed a name that was never theirs to take. To many first introduced to the name, Kickapoo only referred to the coffee, rather than the Native American tribe. In a year-long process of rebranding, the full transition to Wonderstate took full effect in late July 2020.

The Kickapoo Nation is composed of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and the Mexican-Kickapoos. Throughout the process of renaming, the roastery was able to build a relationship with the Kickapoo Nation, as well as apologize directly to representatives of the Kickapoo Nation.

Wunderstate continues to make donations to support Indigenous communities and to the Kickapoo Nation directly (while acknowledging that no monetary contributions will ever compensate for the Nation for the appropriation of their name).

To read more about Wonderstate Coffee’s name change, click HERE

To read more about Wonderstate’s Coffee selection, visit their website.

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