The alarm clock blares and half asleep, we hit the snooze until we’ve run out of 10-minute increments to continue putting off the day. We make our way to the coffeepot in hopes its fresh brew will widen our narrowly-slit eyes. But the java doesn’t have to be self-benefiting. It could have the ability to help others, too.
St. Olaf Lutheran Church, with the help of 43 Families Coffee Cooperative in Nicaragua, has begun to sell “Coffee With a Purpose.” The co-op is located in the town of El Porvenir, which does not have electricity, and the families transport the harvest to and from the work site via a 1972 tractor they share.
The Nicaraguans involved in the coffee production are former members of the Sandinista, Contra and Somoza parties, which were at war with each other due to political and economic crisis from the 1970s through the 1980s. Now each group has been left in an unfortunate state of poverty, but, in need to better their circumstances, have set aside their differences.
However, with fair trade-in value for coffee being $1.42 per pound, according to research done by St. Olaf Senior Pastor David Grindberg, money is still hard to come by. Big coffee chains have to pay for their marketing, packaging and transportation, leaving little return for growers. That is why he and the church have offered to purchase the green coffee beans for $2.05 per pound, helping increase the profit. Money earned through the sales will go into St. Olaf’s fund for its yearly mission trips to Nicaragua.
“We have a heart for the Nicaraguan people,” says Grindberg, who says El Porvenir creates a superior bean. Planted in volcanic soil and grown in shade, the coffee beans are hand-picked off the plant and sun-dried on a patio. They are then shipped in their green state and are brought to Steve Burgason at Burgie’s Coffee and Tea in Ames to be roasted.
“People who are coffee snobs, like me, love it,” Grindberg says.
“Coffee With a Purpose” can be purchased through St. Olaf’s website, the local Hy-Vee and Mary Kay’s Gifts and Home Décor.
“If you just drink our coffee,” explained Grindberg, “you are benefitting someone’s life.”
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