Back in 2006, Bean Around The World founders Pete Boëda and Barney McKenzie sought to supplement their extensive catalog with carefully grown beans from one of the finest coffee regions in the world.  As it happens, a close friend had a brother in Guatemala who was tirelessly investing in and revitalizing his family’s generations old coffee plantations.  It wasn’t long before Pete and Barney were touching down in Antigua to meet Ricardo Zelaya.

After a week of touring farms and securing their inaugural shipment of green coffee, the duo were enticed to visit Finca Carrizal - one of Ricardo’s grandfather’s first plantations, a rugged 8-hour 4x4 drive from Antigua.  Astounded by the remoteness and pristine natural landscape, Pete and Barney were also amazed by the lack of a school for the children in this dedicated rural community.  Approximately 300 people live on the farm year round with numbers swelling to 1500 during the picking season.  On this initial visit, Pete and Barney made the decision to build and maintain a school with Ricardo’s help.

Construction of the school was completed in 2008 and both Pete and Barney were on hand for the grand opening.  The school holds 90 full-time students spanning kindergarten to grade 7.  In the evening, adult classes are offered.  In addition to the learning spaces, there are four washrooms and a small kitchen where lunch is prepared and served daily.  Since 2008, Bean Around The World has funded the salary for the schoolteachers ensuring the education of these growing farming families is secure.

Bean Around The World initially began offering Finca Santa Clara coffee in support of the Carrizal school all the while Ricardo was carefully bringing the heritage plantation up to modern standards both agriculturally and in terms of processing.  Today, the farm’s Carrizal coffee is a workhorse component of our signature blends, contributing body, the sweet tones of citrus and stone fruit and hints of chocolate and Finca Santa Clara continues to be the Schoolhouse roast.

Both coffees are purchased directly from the Zelaya family - a testament to the commitment to a partnership and friendship that has lasted over a decade.

For more on this project, you can see photos from Bean founders Pete and Barney's original visit to Guatemala and read a North Shore News article from 2008.

2016 UPDATE!  The newly launched www.ricardozelayacoffee.com and their Facebook page offer a great glimpse into the folks behind the coffee.  One great example is this profile on Jorge.  Having started at the Carrizal Farm, Jorge moved onto the manage the coffee mill in Santa Clara and now oversees green coffee quality for exporting.  Thanks to Ricardo for passing these stories along! 

the School bus.

the School bus.

the schoolhouse.

the schoolhouse.


HEALTH 4 HUMANITY MISSIONS: VANCOUVER TO ANTIGUA

One weekend a while back, probably a result of overzealously biking the North Shore mountains, Bean Around The World’s coffee buyer, head roaster and coffee blending ace, Jeff Boëda suffered a broken wrist.  Facing surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital, Jeff was introduced to anesthesiologist Dr. Joe Del Vicario.  The small talk turned to coffee and Joe revealed that he was part of a group of medical professionals who make a yearly pilgrimage to Antigua, Guatemala with the group Health 4 Humanity.

Health 4 Humanity (H4H) strives to improve the lives of Guatemalans by organizing multidisciplinary teams of volunteers health care professionals on annual medical assistance trips.  Since 2002, the group of nurses, doctors and surgeons from around the world have been travelling at their own expense to, among many other things, repair the cleft lips and palates of infants and children.  The Primary Health Care team has performed upwards of 300 surgeries to date.

Jeff immediately realized that Dr. Joe should meet Ricardo Zelaya - a man equally dedicated to improving the lives of people in Guatemala.  On the next H4H trip, the two philanthropists united and set the bar high.  Aiming to expand the reach and impact of Health 4 Humanity, Ricardo and his family have donated a parcel of land where already a new hospital and orphanage are being built.

In an effort to build upon the collaboration from home, Jeff Boëda and Bean Around The World, have bridged a fundraising effort.  Ricardo provides green beans that the Roastery custom roasts to be sold by H4H as a fundraiser for their annual trips.  Additionally, Bean Around The World has donated computer equipment and made financial contributions to do their part to keep this ambitious project moving forward.

2016 is already proving to be a monumental year for Health For Humanity.  In addition to their preventative care, H4H's funding of and involvement in Ecofitro, a nutrition education program using filtered potable water, has incrementally improved quality of life.  Safe water filters based on technology invented by a Guatemalan biochemist in 1981 are being put into every classroom at every school including the above mentioned Santa Clara Schoolhouse.  Health For Humanity's efforts are projected to deliver this basic human right to 25,000 children in Guatemala in 2016.

Follow Health 4 Humanity's ongoing work in Guatemala and see photos of their annual missions on their Facebook page.