Image via WikipediaMy esteem of the blessed bean is well known. I fairly gush when people bless me with a bag of these marvels of creation as I relish the enjoyment that is to come my way for days to come. Darkly delicious brews every morning to awaken the senses of sight, smell, and sound (my FAVORITE morning sound is that final "gurgle" of the coffee maker!) make getting out of bed a joy. Combine that with regularly scheduled moments of quietness before my Maker and mornings are something to which I look forward.
Imagine my pleasant surprise in discovering that Lee Gross, a young man I had the privilege of ministering to during his high school days, is working on his masters degree from the University of Vermont and is spending the summer in the Dominican Republic, get this, working with coffee farmers! Yes, I immediately contacted him and asked about coffee. I didn't ask him how he was doing, or if life was treating him well, or even how his mother was doing. No, I dispensed with all the social niceties and cut directly to the chase. Would it be possible for him to procure for me a few bags of those beautiful beans? After all, this was coffee we were dealing with and the summer is growing long in the tooth. Time was of the essence. We could visit later about family, life, and love - maybe even over a cup of the marvelous mud.
After securing his promise of procuring the goods for me I dug a little deeper and discovered an opportunity for people like me to make a difference. There are coffee cooperatives springing to life in poor countries and they simply need customers. It occurs to me that I am one. Granted, I will not be able to afford these premium coffees all the time, after all I have kid starting college and two more to follow soon, but I can treat myself and a few others to some wonderful coffee every now and then and in so doing offer hope to some folks in some desperate places in our world one cup of coffee at a time.
Here are a couple of links for you coffee bean counters out there. Wooden Bike Coffee brings coffee to your door from the volcanic soils of Rwanda and is helping rebuild lives and communities in that devastated nation. The cooperative Lee is working with is Cafe' Alta Gracia. I have enjoyed a shipment from Wooden Bike earlier this year and will eagerly await the arrival of the coffee from the Cafe' Alta Gracia. Perhaps I will let you know about its brew soon.
If you have a moment stop by Lee's place and find out a little about what he's doing down there in the Dominican.
I've got to find a master's program like this!