Our venture was inspired by a passion for the highest quality coffees and teas of the world. Our passion led us to study the industry from seed to cup. What we learned painted a bleak picture of the lives of coffee farmers, and assault on the environment and economies, caused by large corporate farms. The changing economies have forced the small sustenance farmers to abandon their age-old practice of growing coffee under a canopy of rain forest trees without the use of chemicals. To increase production farmers have cut down these trees and now grow coffee and tea fully exposed to the sun while using various chemicals at different stages of the growing cycle. This increase in production comes not only at the expense of the quality of the product but also of the health of the farmers and the environment.
As successful business owners for more than 18 years, my wife and I decided to pursue a more personally satisfying career. We sold the business in 2000, and I joined the Peace Corps. Working in Guatemala as a Peace Corps volunteer with five cooperatives of coffee and tea farmers I learned first hand about the production and processing of coffee beans and tea leaves. I also witnessed the desperate plight of the farmers.
After returning from the Peace Corps, I visited India to research the production of coffee and tea. After a careful analysis, we decided that a business of roasting coffee and selling coffees and teas would be an ideal endeavor for us. It gives us the satisfaction of being active in educating consumers and helping farmers while offering great products, and to that end we offer only certified organic and fair trade products.
We purchase our products from carefully selected farmers and their cooperatives. We pay them a fair price for their product, a price that will allow them to live with dignity and provide for their families and communities. All of our coffees and teas are:
Fair Trade Certified - products that assure producers fair prices.
Certified Organic - to protect the farmers and the environment from harmful chemicals.
Shade grown - to protect the natural wintering habitat of birds and to produce more flavorful products.
When you drink our coffees and teas, you enjoy the best quality and help farmers live in dignity and health.
Isolated on top of a beautiful mountain is the home of a farmer living a very harsh life. I stayed with them for a few nights. Chickens, cats, dog, three kids and husband and wife all in one room full of smoke from the cooking fire. Here I am with the kids. One had polio. The only toy was a torn up plastic football that they played with all the time. Hard to imagine such a harsh life in such a wonderful setting. They followed Indian rituals and had great late night laughing sessions with friends that came to visit.
Having dinner with the host family. For most people breakfast, lunch and dinner are the same. Corn tortillas and beans. Sometimes only tortillas and salt. They drink the worst coffee that cannot be sold. Very weak and sweet.