When you pick up your morning latte, try to imagine the journey that a coffee bean takes. Sometimes grown on farms halfway around the world, these beans travel a long way to get to the local coffee shop, ground up, and turned into coffee. The coffee supply chain is complex and wide-ranging, to say nothing of the process required to prepare the beans in their native lands.
Sadly, many female coffee bean farmers in foreign lands, despite working hard each day to provide the world with coffee, remain in poverty. Due to the beliefs of their cultures, many of them lack the power to make business decisions, control aspects of their production, or even meet without men present. And in societies where women are seen as having fewer rights, it’s nearly impossible for them to find a voice and truly make the best decisions for the needs of their business and their employees.
That is, until 2003, when Cafe Femenino was born.
In Peru, more than 450 women farmers decided to separate their coffee production into a completely different channel, generating their own profit and income. With support from their coffee cooperatives and corporate partners, they created Café Femenino—a program that works to provide a voice for female coffee producers.
In order to cooperate with Cafe Femenino, cooperatives agree to follow important initiatives to support the women farmers they employ. As a result, women farmers are able to own their farmland, have important voices in decision-making, and receive direct profits for their coffee.
But it doesn’t stop there. Women involved with this unique program have reported cultural benefits as well. Not only are they more likely to receive recognition for their work and help supplement their family’s income, it’s also more common that girls will be able to go to school in areas where Cafe Femenino works. Abuse of women has even gone down as a result of the work of Cafe Femenino.
Any coffee farm that works with Cafe Femenino is an institution that cares deeply about ethical treatment of its employees and partners, especially women, and strives to do good in the world, not only through their coffee exports, but by the way that they help women in difficult situations.
And so, at Catholic Coffee, we’re proud that one of our primary bean vendors is Café Femenino Guatemala; and we thought it would be appropriate to use their beans to produce a roast that would honor women who fight for the forgotten and downtrodden.
So, our St. Joan of Arc French Roast was born, commemorating the patron saint of France who, though a young girl, was called by Our Lord to ride into battle and liberate her people, a command which she courageously followed until her death.
Not only that, this delicious coffee is roasted and packaged by women in our facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. Chelsea, our expert coffee roaster, carefully monitors each batch of Catholic Coffee, ensuring that it maintains the same quality provided by the female-run farms in Guatemala.
Whenever you drink a cup of this rich, savory coffee, remember the efforts of St. Joan hundreds of years ago, and the women of Cafe Femenino who truly make a difference in the lives of women coffee farmers around the world.
St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!