It’s not every day you see green beans roll off an assembly line…coffee green beans, that is. The Southwest Airlines Emerging Media Team (plus an Employee Communications stowaway) had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour the Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee plant out in Fort Worth, TX.Mother Parkers has a rich and full-bodied history (pun intended), just like Southwest. They were established in 1912, and are one of the largest private label coffee and tea manufacturers in North America. They've also been Southwest's coffee provider for many years.
What was the occasion for such a visit? Well, if you haven’t yet heard through the online “buzz,” Southwest is unveiling a new coffee experience onboard…two years in the making! LIFT (the "brand name" of the coffee) is a 100 percent Arabica blend of South and Central American coffees—with a richer, dark-roasted taste. Southwest is also transitioning to Coffee-Mate’s individual liquid creamers—so say goodbye to powdered creamer! And say hello to our Insulair, eco-friendly, eight-ounce paper cup—part of Southwest’s Company-wide initiative to “go green” and help the environment.
Adam Willis, Manager of Trade Marketing for Mother Parkers, led us on a wonderful tour of the plant—complete with an outfit of hair nets, goggles, and ear plugs. We began with a demonstration in the cupping lab, where a lab technician carefully scrutinized, smelled, and tasted the different blends of coffee. (She let us give it a go, too. You could definitely tell a difference between the Arabica and Robusta beans.) Many beans (before and after roasting) were also on display to show the wide range of quality available throughout the world.
Next up was the factory, where we watched millions of green beans being sucked up into a huge tube, heading off to be roasted and packaged.
Finally, we ended on the assembly line, where silver LIFT bags were nitrogen- flushed, sealed, and boxed up to go ride our 737s high in the sky.
So the next time you order a complimentary cup of LIFT, think about its journey to get to you, and the journey you’re about to embark on!