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Roasting For Good

I love coffee. I like the aroma, the texture, the act of grinding beans and the sound of my pot sputteriung and spewing as black liquid goodness drains down into my stainless steel carafe. Now, I’m no coffee snob, evidenced by how my friend Nathan (who most certainly is a coffee snob) rolls his eyes and turns up his nose whenever he catches a whiff of me pouring the latest International Delights flavored creamer (Caramel Hazelnut Swirl, Vanilla Toffee Caramel, Southern Butter Pecan – the more words the better) in my steaming cup. Frankly, it feels therapeutic to get that out in the open. I’ve been outed – Yes, world, I pour flavored creamers in my coffee…and I like it!

But I like coffee numerous other ways too – that’s the point. I like it hot and cold, flavored and unflavored. I’ll drink from a pot that’s been sitting on the burner all day, black-tar stains singed at the bottom. I’ll even drink coffee with Splenda.
This is not to say that I believe all coffee is created equal. It most certainly is not. Some coffee is high quality, and some coffee…not so much. More importantly, some coffee companies takes unjust advantage of the farmers while some coffee companies build equitable partnerships.
Recently, I’ve made a new friend, and I’d like to introduce you to his company. About eight months ago, Scott Hackman and several partners started a new business, something they call a “missional venture,” a for-profit company that seeks to make a superior product and then use their leverage for just causes within their sphere of business. One Village Coffee has quickly built a reputation as a boutique roaster providing premium coffee and a vibrant social ethic.

With each of One Village’s roasts, you are not only receiving excellent coffee at a modest price, you are also helping to do good in the world. While all their coffee is (at a minimum) fair trade, for their Kenyan roast, they pay the famers close to double the standard fair trade price. With other roasts, they support the Mama Project, a group serving as vocal advocates for malnourished children in Honduras. The focus of this campaign is to give back $1 per bag to support one child in one village for one year during the Mama Project’s 2008 deworming initiative.
And now, for the next several weeks, One Village Coffee is partnering with our blog to help care for children in Cairo, Egypt, through the work of Stephen’s Children, a group that has begun over 60 schools in the middle of the urban garbage dumps where these children live. With each bag of their Smart Blend coffee we purchase, $1 will go directly to help send one of the kids to a Stephen’s Children camp where most will recieve their first bath, along with food and rehabilitating education on how to cope with (and protect one another from further) sexual abuse.
One Village intends to be a storyteller, telling the narratives of people and places that are forgotten, neglected, and oppressed. And they intend to do business well, using their enterprise to fund good causes. There are many noble causes. There are many coffee companies working to promote justice. This is one, and I love what they are doing.
Why don’t you hit this link (look on the bottom left hand corner for “Relevant Magazine Choice”) and consider some early Christmas shopping. Fantastic coffee. Great price. A just cause.
…and it doesn’t need any flavored creamer added. It’s good straight.
peace / Winn

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