The Global Citizen Single Origin Coffee Club


A new partnership between Zoka Coffee and the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship delivers the best single-origin direct trade coffees from around the world to your home, while helping equip young volunteers with leadership skills equal to the challenges of our times.

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A few months ago, I joined Jeff Babcock, the owner of Zoka Coffee, on a sourcing trip to El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica. We visited over two dozen farms, cups hundreds of coffees, and visited with farmers, laborers, and communities that depend on coffee for their livelihoods. I got to see up close the difference that family direct trade makes in the lives of those involved in coffee production. I realized that the business ethics of Zoka Coffee resonated with the life-long service ethics with which we at the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship work to equip young adults. As President of the Krista Foundation, I found myself wondering how we could link together and do something special. After many conversations together, we are proud to announce the creation of the Global Citizen Single Origin Coffee Club, a coffee subscription service that will deliver 2 freshly roasted bags of the best single origin coffees sourced through family direct trade from around the world to your home each month. Half of the proceeds (not just the profit) will be donated to the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship.


Note: If you are in the Seattle area, the official launch party is going to be on Sunday, October 19 at the University Zoka (2901 NE Blakely St, Seattle) from 4:00 – 6:00. Jeff and I will be speaking and sharing more photos at 4:30. There will be light food and, of course, freshly brewed Chemex pots of some of the best currant single origin coffees available. Spread the word and bring friends! You can RSVP (not necessary, but appreciated) by calling the Krista Foundation office at 206-382-7888 or writing val@kristafoundation.org.

About Zoka Family Direct Trade

Direct trade has been around the coffee business for awhile. It’s a way of making sure that the people making the coffee get the best possible prices for their work. Instead of selling their coffee to huge multi-nationals, coffee growers all over the world can sell their coffee directly to coffee roasters, like Zoka Coffee Company, and cut out the middle-man.

Like most things, direct trade has become a big business. Search for direct trade coffee and you’ll find plenty of companies advertising their direct trade credentials. There is even a certification organization that, for a price, will give you a brand to display on your bags, on your site and in your stores.

Zoka does direct trade coffee. Zoka does fair trade coffee. We’ve been doing both since almost the beginning, nearly 17 years ago, when we were just one store with a small roaster right in the middle. In the last ten years, we’ve been moving beyond the traditional direct trade model. We’re taking it one step further, and its better for all concerned.

Zoka calls it Family Direct Trade. They don’t just fly into a country, visit some farmers, or maybe a local wholesaler, write a check and head back home. They get to know farmers, their families, their communities. They make long term commitments to buy their coffee, at prices that are usually above what other direct trade companies purchase coffees for. Why? Because they are genuinely interested in the long term health, happiness and prosperity of our coffee partners, their families, and their communities.

By working with their suppliers on a long term basis, it changes the relationship. Farmers are able to make long term plans, for their crop, their family and their community, because they know there is a stable, permanent market at prices higher than the commodity coffee traders offer. That’s a game changer, and an opportunity to change the economy around coffee farming from subsistence to sustainable. That’s good for everyone. Zoka knows their customers want to be drinking this coffee for years to come. And that’s only possible if the farmers can be assured of a market for the distinctive, high quality coffees that provide a better life for them, and a better experience in your cup.

About The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship

Named in honor of my first wife who was killed while serving as a volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee in rural Bolivia, the Krista Foundation equips young adults with skills to transform service experiences into lives of service leadership.

While there is no perfect formula for instilling an ethic of global citizenship, there is research supported by countless testimonies to indicate that young adults who engage in a sustained period of intercultural service are deeply impacted for life. They are stretched in their sense of identity, direction, community and faith.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.03.22 PMWhile having good intentions to serve is important and beautiful, these intentions do not naturally translate into a positive experience for the volunteer or for the community members where they serve. Volunteer service organizations differ greatly in their capacity to train their volunteers to have healthy expectations, and the tools to sensitively navigate cultural nuance. Alongside times of great joy, volunteers can often feel isolated, disillusioned and misunderstood, especially during the tumultuous experience of cultural immersion, and during reverse culture-shock (after returning ‘home’).

The Krista Foundation exists to empower and equip young adult volunteers with the tools and mentoring community support to not just serve, but serve well, and to make service not just a year or two of life– but a way of life.

Transitioning from a service year can be a disorienting experience. Through mentoring, a colleague community and re-integration services, the Krista Foundation helps young adults fully understand and employ the learnings from their service experience. Our colleagues touch lives through hands-on volunteer service with organizations such as Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Our unique peer-mentoring model develops young Christian leaders during their pivotal 20-something years. Our colleagues’ insightful leadership positively shapes our global and local communities.

In addition to working directly with hundreds of young adults each year, the Krista Foundation provides staff training and strategic consulting to service-learning programs at universities and volunteer sending organizations to help them provide a more positive and transformative experience to their students and volunteers, while ensuring sustainable impact of their programs in the communities they serve.

We also provide speakers to conferences and classrooms and publish The Global Citizen, a publication that I founded as a journal over ten years ago and which is used in the classrooms of universities like Gonzaga, Seattle Pacific University, and Fuller’s Seminary as well as by several volunteer sending organizations to orient and equip new volunteers.

About the Global Citizen Coffee Club

The Global Citizen Single Origin Coffee Club delivers an ever changing selection of two 12-oz bags of coffee chosen by the roaster so that you can experience a variety of great coffee from around the world. Zoka is constantly traveling to the world’s best coffee growing locations and tasting the nuances of each year’s crop from its family direct farmers. With this subscription you’ll enjoy seasonal crops from Central America in the spring and summer to Africa, Asia and South America in the fall and Winter. You will always be treated to our favorite single origin coffees and the best the world has to offer.

Join the Global Citizen Coffee Club, and you’ll nurture a worldwide community of small coffee farmers and young leaders changing the world. 40-50% of the proceeds from your purchase will be invested in the Krista Foundation’s mentoring and skill-building programs that help young people transform a volunteer year into a life of service leadership.

About the Coffee You’ll Get

All of the coffees are single origin and family direct sourced. What makes single origin so special?

Most coffee that people drink is a blend of coffees from several, and sometimes many, farms. Single origin coffees are from a single farm. Often from a single lot on that farm. These coffees are an opportunity to enjoy the efforts of one farmer’s work, with its distinctive attributes. Single origins are a great way to experience more about the variety of flavors of truly great coffee.

A proud Costa Rican coffee farmer

A proud Costa Rican farmer showing his natural drying coffee cherries

In addition to great beans, these coffees benefit from highly specialized processing. That processing doesn’t involve additives, chemicals or any other nefarious tricks. Coffee processing is the series of steps that take the coffee from a freshly picked cherry on a tree to what is bagged and sent to Zoka to roast. It involves some combination and variation of:

  • Whether, and how long, the coffee bean fermented in the cherry after picking.
  • Whether the coffee was washed, and, if so, how it was washed.
  • How the coffee was dried — on drying patios, drying tables or in large drying machines, or some combination.

Each of these methods effects flavors, textures, acidity and other characteristics that come together to product the coffee you enjoy. The best coffee processing facilities — or mills as they’re also known — are constantly experimenting on very small batches of coffee to determine the best ways use the various coffee processing steps to best express the essence of each unique bean’s flavor.

And that’s all before its shipped to Zoka’s roasting facility, where they goes through the same process in deciding how to roast the coffee. A typical single origin is test-roasted over ten times to find exactly the right combination of time and heat that reveals the essence of each coffee’s flavors. Of course, the farmers Zoka buys directly from are making their own critical decisions that impact flavor— what plants to combine, soil, location, sun exposure, watering, plant nutrition, the crucial decision about when to pick.

Better Coffee for you, Better Wages for the Farmers

Single Origin Coffees give credit to the farm, and the farmer, from which Zoka bought the coffee. This is no small thing. If farmers know that their efforts to make a premium coffee will bring a premium price and the premium exposure that becoming a Single Origin at Zoka Coffee conveys, they’ll continue to improve their coffees. And so will the (jealous) neighboring farmers. The result, more great coffee for their customers, better prices for farmers.

With every delicious cup, you’ll help Zoka Coffee’s independent growers create sustainable livelihoods—and help the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship equip young volunteers with leadership skills equal to the challenges of our times. Like great, equitable coffee, thoughtful leadership is no accident. A year of service is only the beginning. Through Krista Foundation’s training programs, returning volunteers build a 21st century global citizen skill set.

Sign up now for your 2 bags a month subscription here. Or, give a 3-month subscription gift for Christmas here.


Some Photos from our Direct Trade Coffee Sourcing Trips

Yellow Bourbon on the vine in El Salvador

Yellow Bourbon on the vine in El Salvador

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The entrance to the old farmhouse at Finca Malacara

A coffee plant in its prime!

A coffee plant in its prime!

The amazing

The amazing “accidental” Orange Bourbon!

Driving in to the beautiful Santa Rosa 1900 farm

Driving in to the beautiful Santa Rosa 1900 farm

An amazing family farm

An amazing family farm “Granitos de Altura del Ortiz” run by a mother and four daughters.

Initial cherry sorting during picking at Finca Malacara in El Salvador

Initial cherry sorting during picking at Finca Malacara in El Salvador

Jeff Babcock inspecting just picked beans with their farmer

Jeff Babcock inspecting just picked beans with their farmer

One overnight farm visit in Nicaragua included a delicious home-cooked meal with these tortillas

One overnight farm visit in Nicaragua included a delicious home-cooked meal with these tortillas

washed beans drying on a patio

Washed beans drying on a cement patio.

patio drying requires a considerable amount of labor to keep the beans turning

Patio drying requires a considerable amount of labor to keep the beans turning.

Got to get those bean out somehow, might as well do it in style!

Got to get those bean out to market somehow, might as well do it in style!

Hand sorting elevates the quality of the cup.

Hand sorting elevates the quality of the cup.

Weighing bags of beans for shipment to roasters like Zoka

Weighing bags of beans for shipment to roasters like Zoka

All lots are micro roasted and cupped and graded on site. Only the best lots are selected for purchase at prices WAY above C-market.

All lots are micro roasted and cupped and graded on site. Only the best lots are selected for purchase at prices WAY above C-market.

Here I am cupping amazing coffee at Fincas Mierisch

Here I am cupping amazing coffee at Fincas Mierisch

Many ways to enjoy coffee, espresso, pour over, Chemex, ...

Many ways to enjoy coffee, espresso, pour over, vacuum pot, Chemex, …

... old school on the farm, ...

… old school on the farm, …

...or new school at the hotel.

…or new school at the hotel.

_____________________________________________________

Note: These are my photos; if you want to use them, that’s fine, so long as 1. you don’t make money with them, 2. you give me credit, and 3. you use them in a positive way. If in doubt, drop me a line and ask permission. If you want higher resolution versions, I’ll exchange them for a donation to the Krista Foundation. Thanks.
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Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Global Citizenship, Social Enterprise

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One Comment on “The Global Citizen Single Origin Coffee Club”

  1. July 2, 2015 at 1:35 am #

    Best ever collection of coffee image from around the world and found much information about coffee farming. Before it i was a little bit information about coffee but u have enhanced my knowledge after adding this blog. Thanks for your article because i am fond of drinking coffee.

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