On 2023 Honduras Trip, Coffee Shop Owners and Baristas Built a HomeOctober 30, 2023 (Published: July 9, 2023)
Owners and baristas from coffee shops across the U.S. recently traveled with Crimson Cup to Siguatepeque, Honduras.
The service trip was an inspiring and life-changing experience about making a difference in the world through coffee and community.
The group supported Serve Hope International, which provides safe homes, clean water, schools and other benefits to the Siguatepeque community.
During the trip, the group of 13 helped build a house for the Flores family of five. The home included two rooms, a shower, a latrine, and a filtration bucket to provide potable drinking water.
“Crimson Cup’s Focus on Good initiatives allow us to form meaningful relationships and help others with every cup we pour,” said Founder and President Greg Ubert. “We are proud to involve independent coffee shops in positively impacting coffee-growing communities.”
Since 2011, Crimson Cup has visited the Siguatepeque region to consult with farmers, co-op managers, and wet mill operators on improving coffee quality and life for growers and their workers. We also have invested in raised drying beds for the local co-op, equipment and lesson plans for local schools, and community improvement projects through Serve Hope.
A Team of 13 Helped to Build the Flores Family Home
Crimson Cup Coffee Buyer Dave Eldridge led the owners and staff from independently owned coffee shops in Ohio, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Iowa, and Montana.
The Crimson Cup team also included Janie Brooks, who handles marketing and product research and development, and Shannon Walker, who packages Crimson Cup Coffee.
Participants from independent coffee houses included:
- Baristas Hannah Reager and Kimmy Bridgham from 5 Bean Coffee, Reynoldsburg, Ohio
- Owner Pav Templeton and daughter Ever Templeton from Rare Bird Emporium, Murphy, North Carolina
- Owner Shawn Peterson and daughter Katya Peterson from Moose Junction Coffee and Pizza, Helena, Montana
- Pastor Matt Love and his wife Julie, Operators of The Well Coffee House in Boston, Massachusetts
- Owners Kat and Pat Bissell from The Coffee Attic and Book Cellar, Iowa Falls, Iowa
Experience Creates a Positive Impact
The journey has had a lasting impact on the Flores family, the Crimson Cup team, and the independent coffee shop owners.
“The exciting thing was that everyone on the trip was looking to make a difference,” Dave Eldridge said.
Shannon Walker said the trip gave her a stronger appreciation for the coffee she packages, the people who grow it, and Crimson Cup’s investment in coffee-growing communities.
Janie Brooks observed that happiness springs from simple things.
“A roof over your head with a few rooms, clean water, and the love of a family is more than enough,” she said.
“Serve Hope’s impact can be felt throughout this entire community by providing these simple luxuries we often take for granted.”
Coffee Shop Owners and Baristas Share Thoughts About Their Experiences
For the coffee shop owners and baristas, firsthand involvement in Crimson Cup’s Focus on Good initiatives demonstrated how Crimson Cup and hundreds of independent coffee shops across the U.S. create positive change through coffee.
Matt and Julie Love operate several Well Coffee Houses as part of the Church at The Well ministry in Boston.
Matt said the trip showed them how Crimson Cup stands behind its commitment to supporting communities in coffee-growing regions.
“Our new appreciation for the compassion that Crimson Cup displays for coffee communities has further convinced us that we have partnered with the BEST coffee roaster in North America,” he said.
This was the third Crimson Cup-sponsored trip to Honduras for Kat and Pat Bissell, owners of The Coffee Attic.
“Several years ago, we visited a coffee-growing community and fell in love,” Kat Bissell said. “We were inspired by the people, the coffee and our ability to make a difference.”
Making a difference was also top of mind for Kimmy Bridgham, a barista from 5 Bean Coffee in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
“The most important thing about this trip was truly the ability to serve in the local community in Siguatepeque,” she said. “The people there are doing incredible things: building homes for families, increasing access to clean water through bucket filter distribution, providing education to the next generation, and supporting coffee farms.”
Shawn Peterson, owner of Moose Junction Coffee and Pizza, brought his daughter Katya along to share his second Crimson Cup trip to Honduras.
“My second trip was a great reminder of how connected we all are and what an impact we can make in Honduras by sharing the story with our own customers and involving them in our efforts to help support Serve Hope and the families it serves,” he said.
“The coffee business is very competitive, and these connections and relationships help us differentiate ourselves from our competitors.”
5 Bean’s Bridgham emphasized how trips to coffee-growing communities connect local coffee shops and their consumers to the coffee.
“By sharing the experiences and the stories of the people we worked with in Honduras, we can bring more awareness to our consumers about the faces behind their coffee,” she said. “Being able to connect a coffee that you drink to a farm, farmer or community not only increases your appreciation for the drink, but also increases your desire to support local coffee shops like 5 Bean who support ethically sourced, directly traded coffee.”
Hannah Reager said she believes talking about the trip will get customers excited about the sourcing of the Crimson Cup coffee served at 5 Bean Coffee. “They will be more eager to buy our coffee knowing the impact buying our beans will make on the coffee farmers!” she said.
Pav Templeton with Rare Bird Emporium agreed. “Having a deeper understanding of the story of our coffee can be valuable in marketing our brand and products,” he said.
“It was a privilege to get to know the different programs created with Serve Hope partners, and to see some of the people whose lives have been changed,” he added.
“We also enjoyed meeting other coffee shop owners and swapping ideas and crazy coffee shop stories over beers in the evening.”
The Bissells have involved their customers in their work with Serve Hope. “Our community is extremely supportive, and customers love hearing about our trips when we return,” Pat said. “One of the joys of small-town living is that when people get behind a cause, they can really make a difference.”
After previous trips, the Coffee Attic collected customer donations to fund water filtration buckets in Honduras.
“There is nowhere in Honduras that has clean water out of the tap,” Kat Bissell said. “Clean water should be a basic human right, and we’re excited to support Serve Hope in their quest to deliver water filtration devices to Honduran families.”
Going into the third trip, their customers in Iowa Falls donated over $2,000 for materials used in building the Flores home.
“We would highly recommend taking a trip to a coffee-growing region of the world,” Pat Bissell concluded. “It offers an opportunity to learn and appreciate all of the work that goes into growing great coffee.”