Big Medicine Ranch: Farm Fresh Coffees

It’s about the beans…at Big Medicine Coffee, we seek, source and roast the highest quality, freshest, “Specialty” coffees from Organic, sustainable coffee farms.

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Estate grown, ripened Arabica coffee cherries

…. Heirloom Ethiopians from Hambela, Blue Mountain from High Haiti, Bourbons from bird-friendly Brazil, Honeyed coffees from the cloud forests of Nicaragua…


Coffees grown in common regions with similar terroir are known as Single Origin coffees: Guatemala Huehuetenango, Sumatra Mandheling, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Mexican Chiapas, Hawaiian Kona might be familiar…these have a consistent flavor profile and are grouped and exported through a sustainable cooperative such as Fair Trade or Rain Forest Alliance.

Each coffee is graded after harvest and the best coffee beans receive the highest grade: Grade 1 or “Specialty Grade.”  These are the coffees we seek…great care, love and commitment are needed to grow these exceptional coffees along with higher elevation, soil, shade and careful processing.

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Coffee Country Cordillera Central, Puerto Rico


We roast several coffees from Organic, Fair Trade and Rain Forest Alliance: Sumatra, Honduras, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Uganda, Ethiopia, Columbia, all Specialty Grade, the best and freshest beans we can find, given the time of year and season.  

Lesser known, but equally powerful are the smaller focused sustainable projects we source coffees from:

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center:  one of the hardest certifications to achieve, encourages organic coffee farmers to nurture tree canopy and foliage critical for migratory birds throughout Central America, we roasted a wonderful SMBC Guatemalan Bourbon last year.

Bob-O-Link Coffee: another migratory bird coffee project, works with specialty coffee farmers throughout Brazil, ensuring healthy biospheres for migratory birds, butterflies and bees – while growing great coffee. We roasted an excellent peaberry last spring and are looking forward to this year’s crop.

Singing Rooster: High-Altitude Haitian: a non-profit group promoting Coffee, Chocolate and Art from Haiti, they are helping grow small businesses in Haiti while creating market opportunities through direct and Fair Trade sources.

Sustainably grown coffees are the centerpiece of our artisan coffee mission, providing much needed living wages, medical and schools for coffee harvesters and processors. By nurturing living, breathing healthy farms, our sustainable coffee family will ensure we have these amazing beans, birds, butterflies and bees for many generations: they are true beacons of hope in some very challenging environs across coffee growing regions.

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From our common experience as growers under a shared sun, our true kindred spirits are the smaller, single estate coffee farmers.  They grow some of the most prized and sought after specialty coffees, often winning their respective countries “Cup of Excellence,” the Olympics of Specialty coffee held each year to highlight the worlds’ best coffees.  

These farms are much smaller in scale than the larger cooperatives, sometimes farming only 10 acres or less so much smaller harvests and only available for a limited time, a bit more ephemeral, like a ripe autumn pear…

Some of the Award-winning Single Estate coffees we roast:

•Aida Batlle Finca El Paraiso  

•Hala Tree Farm Organic Kona

•Costa Rica Hacienda La Amistad

•Victor Calderon’s Finca El Tambor, Guatemala Huehuetenango

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Coffee Cupping, Evaluating Current Crop Harvest, Papua New Guinea


Coffee has a relatively short half-life for peak flavor, it’s why we obsess over finding the freshest, bestest coffees, roast them with skill and precision and get them to your cup at peak flavor…You’re likely familiar with the characteristics of a good, dark roasted coffee: full body, aroma, balanced acidity and dark tones or what we call “chocolatey” notes.

But a Specialty coffee, carefully roasted, can impart a much wider variety of flavors and aromas: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel, nuts, fruit, flowers, herbs and spices: Some of the more delicate varieties have an almost tea-like quality, such as Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Panama Geisha.

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Sebastian Legner from PomaRossa coffee farm Puerto Rico, pairing our Ethiopian Hambela Guji with local fresh fruits at Alden market

Many of us have been to wine tastings, our coffee tastings are similar as we highlight and showcase a wide variety of coffees with traditional and more unique flavors. We showcase these different coffees at our farm markets, and will serve 4 or 5 different coffees, some popular varieties like Costa Rican and Papua New Guinea, but also new ones as they arrive. But the real joy the past few years has been pairing these varied coffees and their distinctive flavors with local fruits, chocolates and desserts, highlighting the various distinctive flavors (Specialty coffee has hundreds of different identifiable flavors).


Big Medicine coffees are for the everyday coffee drinker as well as acclaimed coffee purists and aficionados.  We encourage you to explore, imbibe, sip, savor, infuse Big Medicine: current varieties: Haitian, Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica La Amistad, Sumatra Takengon, Uganda Sipi Falls, Honduran, Nicaragua Selva Negra (Honey), El Tambor Guatemalan, Aida Battle’s El Salvadoran and Hala Tree Farm Kona.

As mentioned, we serve and sell our coffees at nearby farm markets: Boyne City year round, Alden, Elk Rapids and Harbor Springs during summertime.  

We partner with some culinary establishments and stores that embrace and support local, sustainable producers:

•Pond Hill, Harbor Springs

•Village Market, Elk Rapids

•Ethnology, Elk Rapids

•Boyne City Bakery

•Pour/Tap 30, Petoskey

•Toski Sands Market, Harbor Springs

•Brownwood Acres, Eastport (summer)

Thomas Zawistowski is one of the owners of Big Medicine Ranch. Find more information at Contact Thomas at [email protected].