By Pastor Jorden Meyers
It is estimated that Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day.
I don’t know about you, but I enjoy good coffee. Growing up my parents and grandparents drank coffee almost every day. My coffee consumption increased during my college years and then increased again during my seminary years. Studies out of Harvard show that having a moderate consumption of coffee - about three to four cups per day - will lengthen your life, and not only will your life be longer, you will also benefit from a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson's Disease.
On January 27, ECC started serving Top of the Lake coffee in the main lobby of the church. As part of the Engaging Young Adults grant, we have started a partnership with Top of the Lake coffee company. This company is not only interested in producing delicious coffee; they are also interested in making a difference in the world.
Top of the Lake is committed to building relationships with farmers who utilize best agricultural practices to produce the coffee they roast. They look for farmers and cooperatives who demonstrate a commitment to paying a sustainable wage for their workers (full time and seasonal) and who maintain a meaningful investment in their community through the economics of coffee. With each bag of coffee purchased, $1.00 is invested into their “Greater Good” initiative which endeavors to support community development in San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala and beyond.
The coffee we have selected for ECC’s consumption is called ‘La Voz’ from the Atitlan Region of Guatemala. Atitlan coffee comes from a region in the Western Highlands of Guatemala named for its picturesque volcanoes and beautiful lake. Grown in fertile volcanic soils by a small farmer cooperative rich in Indian tradition, La Voz que Clama en el Desierto (The Voice that Cries out in the Desert) has been certified organic since 1992. The Guatemalan highlands produce some of the best and most distinctively flavored coffees in the world. La Voz’s coffee arabica trees are cultivated under a rich shade tree canopy that includes many trees native to the region. This canopy provides a home to a diversity of migratory bird species. La Voz is a cooperatively managed farmer group with roughly 200 members. The associate farmers produce coffee on small plots of land (1-2 hectares each) that are individually owned and maintained. Ripened coffee is harvested by family members and other coop associates. Sacks of coffee cherries are manually carried to the communal wet processing mill where La Voz’s management oversees the depulping, fermentation and patio drying.
Through the “Greater Good” initiative, Top of the Lake has provided a low interest loan for a business start-up, bought a sewing machine for a single mom to support her young family, provided a necessary handrail for a local school to meet government compliance standards, purchased and planted trees to hold the soil in the crucial land surrounding the water source for San Juan la Laguna, and bought trees for school children and their families.
By your coffee consumption at ECC you are now supporting these efforts all the while enjoying delicious Guatemalan Coffee. If you would like to learn more about Top of the Lake coffee or if you would like to start making this coffee at home here is a link to their website. In the coming weeks, we will also have a donation box out on the coffee cart so you can contribute monetarily to this new initiative.