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Local coffee shop takes journey to El Salvador

Honey Caranzo / Red Dirt Report
Fair Fellow Coffee is located in the newly thriving Whittier Square Historic District in Tulsa, Okla.
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TULSA, Okla. — Staying true to its name, Fair Fellow Coffee strives to not only be fair to Tulsans but also fair to its producers.

Fair Fellow Coffee is located in the Whittier Square Historic District in Tulsa.

Andrew Unruh, Jeff Pelt, Kaitlyn Pelt and Danielle Wyman co-own Fair Fellow Coffee.

“We all have different strengths that compliment each other,” Wyman said.

 Pelt explains the name Fair Fellow was born after a legal name dispute over their previous coffee shop, Hoot Owl.

Instead of enduring a legal battle for the name Hoot Owl, they decided to be the bigger fellow and not fight for the name.

Thus the name for their new coffee shop was born, Fair Fellow.

“It’s been great being open a full year and just seeing the life come out of it and we are starting to grow to more than we can handle,” Jeff Pelt said.

The coffee shop prides itself in direct trade.

Direct trade is a term that ensures coffee farmers are directly paid by a coffee shop.

“We also strive to be very fair with farmer. What we are paying and how we are treating the farmer and what the farmer is getting out of the relationship we have with them,” Wyman said.

Their first priority is to treat their producers fairly.

The four friends recently took a trip to El Salvador to visit Anny Ruth Pimentel the owner of Loma la Gloria, the coffee farm that produces their coffee.

“Our whole reason for visiting was to start the process of sourcing coffee directly,” Unruh said.

Their goal was to cut the middleman out of the equation.

“We knew deep down in our gut that things were happening in the middle, but we didn’t quite know what,” he said.

Wyman said Pimentel received a bad deal from her distributor and importer.

“So we were able to pay her more and make sure that her actual workers were getting paid too because she wasn’t getting offered a fair price,” she said.

One of Unruh’s goals is to start a coffee importing business.

“One of the goals is to really create transparency within the coffee community all around the world, and we want to be able to connect every coffee farmer to a roaster that would want their coffee,” he said.

Unruh said what sets them apart from other local coffee shops is how they roast their coffee.

He explained most coffee shops drum roast their coffee, but at Fair Fellow they air roast their coffee.

“I think our transparency is what makes us most different from places around Tulsa. I don’t know that there’s anybody that I know of that’s taken their following on the journey with them,” Kaitlyn Pelt said.

Unruh said several women coffee producers have approached the coffee shop.

“We’re working a lot with women producers to really help change that gender gap problem that’s going on,” he said.

They are currently working on importing coffee from a female coffee producer in Honduras.

The notes for the Honduras coffee are watermelon, lime and milk chocolate. 

Folks can expect to try the coffee in June.

The coffee shop not only sells a variety of coffee but also local Tulsa Urban Bee Honey for $6.

Instead of using refined sugars, the coffee shop uses honey and maple syrup as substitutes.

Local art can be found on the walls and is switched out on a monthly basis.

Wyman explains that in order to be featured at Fair Fellow, the artist must be local.

She currently has a waiting list for over a year.

They also encourage creativity by having a sketchbook with pencils at every table.

Kaitlyn Pelt said their most asked for items are their nitro’s and cold brew coffee.

“We are always trying to bring interesting coffees with amazing stories behind them,” Unruh said.

He encourages Tulsans to drink direct trade coffee.

“Buy direct trade, know that there is a relationship behind the coffee,” Unruh said.

Their hours of operation are Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and are closed on Sundays.

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Honey Caranzo

Honey Caranzo graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree...

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