Vancouver Entrepreneurs Expose Coffee Plant’s Best Kept Secret in Social Startup

Two Vancouver entrepreneurs are looking to revolutionize the coffee industry by harvesting the coffee plant’s leaves for tea. In order to go into full production, they’re looking to raise $40,000 via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

Max Rivest and Arnaud Petitvallet are exposing the coffee plant’s best kept secret: coffee leaf tea. “This has been overlooked for hundreds of years and now it’s time we see the coffee plant differently,” stated Max, Co-Founder of Wize Monkey. The opportunity to sell coffee leaves in addition to beans will create year-round jobs for coffee-farming families and help prevent recurring socioeconomic crises linked to the coffee industry’s seasonality and volatility.

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The organic coffee leaves produce a subtle, smooth tea that tastes much like black tea but without the tannins or bitter aftertaste. It boasts higher antioxidants than green tea and contains high levels of mangiferin, which is commonly in mangos and has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects while also reducing the risk of diabetes, blood cholesterol, and protecting neurons in the brain.

The only way to get your hands on this brew is to participate in their Kickstarter starting November 7th. They will be offering a $15 Christmas Special for two samples delivered before December 25th but supplies are limited so be sure to get in early.

If you’re in Vancouver BC, they are hosting a Kickstarter Launch Party which will feature a tea tasting and photo gallery on Friday November 7th at Kafka’s Coffee & Tea on Main and Broadway. Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/360587470773225/

Their $40,000 goal will help them fund their second run of product, source packaging, build a solar-powered leaf dryer, and start developing new flavours.

The idea blossomed from a grad school project in early 2013 in France. Having been to Nicaragua, Max was aware of the economic difficulties facing Latin American coffee farmers. Intrigued by these challenges, the two started doing research and found a study on the health benefits of coffee leaf tea. As they continued to do more research, it became clear that the coffee industry could utilize this leaf in order to create sustainable year-round income for coffee-dependent families.

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“The coffee bean is the world’s second most traded commodity and it’s only profitable three months a year for its producers. If we can make that year-round, we can change millions of peoples’ lives.” – Max Rivest, Co-Founder/CEO

Pursuing their passion for clever solutions and culture, the two went down to Nicaragua in August 2013 to see for themselves if this was possible. After three months, they deepened their knowledge of the industry and coffee leaf production. After tasting the final product of their work, they were convinced that this could, in fact, revolutionize the industry forever.

Since the beginning of the project, they have created work for over 40 people in two separate towns in Nicaragua.

For more information, contact [email protected], call 604 839 7640, go to wizemonkey.com or connect via Facebook, Twitter (@wizemonkeytea), or Instagram (@wizemonkey).

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Gary and Taya Ng are the Founders of Eating In Vancouver & the World. This husband and wife team search for the best dining experiences - including restaurant launches, new menu tastings and culinary events. Learn more about the couple here and connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.