Why We Are On A Mission

 
ampersand-coffee

Society is going through some pivotal changes in the way that we consume products. Gone are the days in which we just look for a product that is purely convenient and one that serves our needs. There is now an interest in the area of where your product comes from, what it stands for, and the impact that it has on the world. This is most likely due to the transparency that is happening throughout every industry as a result of the internet and social media. If a company is doing something that is not honest, it gets discovered quickly. The millennial generation and beyond are constantly asking the question, “How does this product help somebody else?” In an effort to balance out the need for fair wages, rights, and equality throughout the world, this question has moved to the forefront of the purchasing decisions of consumers around the globe. Businesses that are helping in this effort are sourcing their materials more consciously, paying a higher price, and creating an impact outside of the walls of their store. These business models are known as social enterprises and they are on the rise and here to stay.

 

The Real Story of coffee

In the coffee world, there is a lot of miscommunication with where this product actually come from and how it is sourced. A large amount of consumers still don’t know that coffee is green in its raw form and comes from a cherry on a tree. The journey from a seed in the soil to a finished cup of coffee has many steps and many decisions that have to be made along the way to make sure it is ethical and high quality.  Coffee comes from farms generally located between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. This is because of the climate and soil characteristics required by coffee tree. Altitude also plays a huge role in the development of coffee.

 

In most coffee harvesting countries throughout the world, there is not only a lack of infrastructure, but a lack of gender equality when it comes to the workforce. At least 70% of the coffee industry is comprised of women. However, men dominate the higher paying roles in the coffee supply chain.   The majority of women merely pick the cherry and get paid pennies on the dollar to do so.

 

When you look at the profits that many of these coffee farmers make, males will generally spend a large portion of their income on consumables.  Studies have shown that women, on the other hand, will reinvest 90% of their income in their family.  While everybody is definitely free to make their own decisions, the implications from these decisions maintain the status quo of generational poverty. When the money isn’t going to take care of the family, there are high instances of kids dropping out of schools and joining gangs.  This prevents the community from progressing and developing the much needed infrastructure.

 

What We Can Do About it

At Ampersand, we want to break this cycle of poverty and inequality, specifically in the coffee world. In an effort to fix these problems, we focus on sourcing our coffee from women owned and operated coffee farms. The results of these farms have been astounding. The women, when getting paid fairly and put in decision making positions, use the money and profits from the coffee more wisely. They invest heavily into their family and community. This results in the building of schools, higher education, keeping their children out of gangs, greater environmental awareness, and higher quality coffee products.  The long term effects of this lead to higher profits, a healthier community, the growth of infrastructure, and the breaking of the poverty cycle.

 

The coffee that we serve and sell supports this mission. We could make the decision, as coffee roasters, to just purchase the absolute best coffee in the world at the cheapest price possible and make a large profit. However, this does not make the world a better place. We want to make a difference.  Each coffee we purchase is fair trade, organic, and supports a cause. These coffees are extremely high quality, handled with care, and slowly change the world with every cup. If you are choosing to purchase coffee, this is an easy way that you can change the lives of so many others by simply choosing excellent coffee with an excellent cause. We are extremely proud of what we are doing as a coffee roaster and it is this mission that fuels us everyday to produce the best coffee with the best service.  Besides, if we aren’t creating a dent in the world, why do it?