Wize Monkey is on a mission to improve the livelihoods of coffee-dependent communities by harvesting a sustainable product from coffee leaves – a waste product of coffee – in the form of coffee leaf tea.
By making use of the coffee leaves too, the production of coffee leaf tea generates a year-round economy for coffee growers and workers, who typically only have a three-month long production season for the coffee bean. This means growers and workers can work year-round, feed their families and keep their kids in school.
Wize Monkey, which sources its coffee leaves from Nicaragua, has taken a centuries-old concept from Ethiopia and Sumatra and applied craft processes and fermentation to premium coffee leaves to reveal a palatable tea that has similar caffeine levels to green tea, no bitterness.
Coffee Leaf Tea has the same antioxidants as green tea as well as high polyphenol content, including Chlorogenic Acids and Mangiferin, which is known for being anti-inflammatory and lowering blood pressure. Its caffeine content is similar to green tea providing a natural lift.
Wize Monkey’s coffee leaf tea selection comes in a variety of flavours including strawberry hibiscus, earl grey, ginger lemon, jasmine and minty marvel.
What started as a college project has now turned in to a fully fledged business with Wize Monkey’s coffee leaf teas stocked in hundreds of stores in both Canada and the US, including Whole Foods. Wize Monkey co-founders Max Rivest and Arnaud Petitvallet took their idea to Nicaragua in 2013 where they managed to convince at least one farm owner to believe in the idea of coffee leaf tea. Today, Enrique Ferrufino, a third generation farmer in Nicaragua, completes the founding team.
Wize Monkey currently employs three people full-time, and another five part-time demo-representatives at their Vancouver-base, while in Nicargua, where Enrique Ferrufino runs the coffee farm, Wize Monkey have 70 employees picking, processing and shipping their product year-round.
Arnaud Petitvallet said: “We started out with 30 employees. But we have a five-year goal of employing 1,000. We’re building slowly to ensure we have a demand for the product. The chance to give people year-round employment and build a sustainable business is rewarding on a very different level.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea