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Farmers First Coffee Company—Let's Boost Coffee Farmers' Incomes, Together.

Created by Farmers First Coffee Company (Formerly 'Levanta Coffee')

Farmers First Coffee Company—Let's Boost Coffee Farmers' Incomes, Together.
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616 backers pledged $52,638.01 on Kickstarter

The coffee trade isn't fair to small-scale farmers. Most earn less than $2,000 per year. That's why we pay them a 50% bonus, directly—4 times higher than "fair" trade. By waking up each morning with a cup of Farmers First Coffee, you’re giving hard-working farmers an income that will change their lives. Ready to drink a better coffee? Levanta Coffee is now Farmers First Coffee Company.

Raised in Kickstarter
$52,638.01 / 616 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$2,429.78 / 534 backers

Latest Updates from Our Project:

The Latest News from Farmers First Coffee Company
4 days ago – Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 11:17:13 PM

Hello!

We've had an exciting October getting everything ready to ship next month. Before we begin, please remember to check your inbox for our SURVEY we sent that allows you to choose your preference of coffee roast, grind type, t-shirt color if you got a t-shirt, etc. Also, the survey collects your shipping address. Without that, we can't mail you your order. If you didn't get a copy of that survey and you feel that you should have received it, please let us know!

Without further ado, here are the latest updates on our progress:

1. Rosa and Daniel's coffees have made it to the port in New York! They'll be arriving in North Carolina before the end of this month, which means we remain on schedule for a mid-November ship date, ideally before Thanksgiving. Woohoo!

Since we're roasting in North Carolina, some folks have asked why we didn't ship to the port of Norfolk, Virginia, or Charleston, S.C. The answer is about costs and time: we saved quite a bit of money by having our coffees share a container with other companies' coffees, even after factoring in freight transport from New York to North Carolina. The only container available was heading to NYC. 

2. Matt drove to meet with our roasters outside of Charlotte last week and tried numerous samples of each coffee at different roast profiles that were shipped in advance via air. We'd of course like to keep expectations measured, but the truth is that our roasters and Matt both agree: the coffee tastes fantastic!

3. We've chosen a design for our bags which will include a clean, simple graphic printed on the front along with a label on the back. We wanted to feature the farmer, front and center, along with a few other details. "Less is more" was our thinking. Remember that this will be printed over a "kraft" or brown bag material. Here's a mockup showing the front of the bag:

4. We've also chosen designs and materials for our packaging. We're again going for clean and simple, but we're pleased with the look the packaging will have. We won't publish photos of that--it's going to be a surprise.

5. We've now placed orders for all other gear, such as t-shirts, mugs, and french presses! We should have them by early November.

6. We're big, big fans of this Kickstarter Project: de Palo: Handmade from real coffee wood. The people who have created that project live near Lake Yojoa in Honduras (where Robert has his lodge) and, outside of that personal connection, we're impressed by their ingenuity in converting coffee wood (which is essentially trash that is burned) into beautiful, handmade products. They're 68% of the way to their $8,000 goal...so take a look!

Coffee scoop made from a coffee tree!
Coffee scoop made from a coffee tree!

 

That's all for now! We're really excited to mail your pre-orders soon. Stay tuned for more updates.

Matt and Robert, Farmers First Coffee Company

Changes and Opportunities: We have a new Name!
24 days ago – Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 10:10:50 AM

Hello, and happy National Coffee Day!

We have some news and we're sharing it with you all, our Kickstarter backers, first.

Coffee is a crowded field. When we created our name, we noticed there was already a "Lavanta Coffee Roasters." However, we were told this wasn't an issue because their application states, verbatim, "The English Translation of the word "LAVANTA" is "lavender." And as you all know by now, "Levanta" is the Spanish verb for "to wake up/to lift up." No problem, right? 

Towards the end of our Kickstarter campaign, Matt and I received some news: our trademark application for Levanta Coffee had been suspended, pending clarification. The trademark has not been rejected, but the process would now take a lot longer (possibly years) and there was no certainty we'd ever be granted a trademark.  

We've realized that if we were forced to change our name in, for example, one year it could be extremely damaging to our branding. So, we've decided that it's best to make a change now.

Sometimes, though, change is a blessing in disguise.

The truth is that while the name "Levanta" is as clever as it is catchy, it required a lot of explaining for us to do. Originally, our thinking was that since "Levanta" doesn't mean anything in English, it was an opportunity for us to create a brand. Trouble is, that's easier said than done in today's world.

We feel the elevator pitch of 30 seconds is outdated in an age when we give 5 seconds to an image on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. We've learned in these past few months that we have to be as clear and concise as possible when explaining what makes us different as a company. That should begin with our name.

We present to you Farmers First Coffee Company.

We've taken a different approach from the beginning, launching this endeavor in reverse from Peru and Honduras, meeting with farmers and understanding their needs. We've put them first in each decision we make, and that's how we arrived at this name. 

Of course, there's the saying, "The customer is always right," so the customer should come first, too. We agree! By thinking first about our farmers and providing them with a better income, their coffee will be better and we'll make our customers even happier.

Most coffee farmers earn less than $2,000 per year. Traditionally, their incomes have been an afterthought for much of the coffee industry--even though those same farmers produce more than 80% of the world’s coffee.

Not anymore. By waking up each morning with a cup of Farmers First Coffee, you’re giving hard-working farmers an income that will change their lives.

Ready to drink a better coffee? We are.

All other plans remain the same and we're still on track to begin shipping coffee in November. We'll be reaching out soon, in early October, to request your preferences and shipping details for your pre-orders.

Also, thank you for your continued support. We've only made it this far because of you. If you have any questions or want to provide us with feedback, please let us know! Send us an e-mail to team@farmersfirstcoffee.com. We'd love to hear from you.

Finally, we took some time to spruce up our pre-order store. We'll be accepting pre-orders now through early November. Remember that our coffee makes a great holiday gift! Take a look and visit FarmersFirstCoffee.com.

Yours truly,

Matt and Robert

Farmers First Coffee Company

 

P.S. To give you an example of other startups that have inspired us as we chose a new name, see Boxed Water is Better and This Bar Saves Lives.

Some September Updates
about 1 month ago – Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 07:34:44 PM

Hello!

We hope you're having a great month. Our September is moving very quickly and we wanted to take a moment to update you on our progress.

First, your coffee is officially on its way to the United States! After having traveled from the interior of Peru (Moyobamba and San Ignacio), it's now awaiting shipment from the port of Paita on the Pacific coast. Your coffee will pass through the Panama Canal on its journey north, heading through the Caribbean and up the Atlantic seaboard before finally arriving to the port of New York.

Our final microlot samples arrived to Lima this past week and Robert was able to participate in a "cupping," or official scoring/grading of Rosa and Daniel's coffees. Great news: both coffees scored high enough to be considered "specialty!" Oh, and they tasted great, too.

Evaluating Daniel and Rosa's coffees in Lima, Peru
Evaluating Daniel and Rosa's coffees in Lima, Peru

What else are we up to? Robert's working on the new website which is now about 30% complete. Meanwhile, Matt is evaluating samples and beginning to order some of our gear including the t-shirts, coffee mugs, and french presses. 

Here's some news about our third farmer, Emiliano: while we are placing an order from him this year, his coffee won't arrive in time for our first shipment date. So, all coffee shipped this year will be from Rosa and Daniel. We look forward to offering Emiliano's coffee on our website beginning next year.

Now, let's talk about coffee bags. Have you ever had a not-so-pleasant experience opening a coffee bag? We sure have. Think about it: most coffee bags need scissors to open. If you don't have a pair, you usually rip the bag wide open and spill coffee all over the counter. Or, coffee bags sometimes refuse to sit up straight--falling over, and, again, dumping your beans all over the place. Finally, closing the bag is generally a battle and never really works that well. 

We can do better than this.
We can do better than this.

So, we're planning to select a coffee bag that has 3 features:

1. It stands up straight and sits flat so that you don't spill the coffee that traveled 4,000+ miles to reach you (and that Daniel and Rosa worked so hard to harvest).

2. It is easy to open. No scissors necessary.

3. It has a zip-lock to close the bag easily and keep your coffee fresh (along with a valve--read more here).

Here's an example (disclaimer--our final bag might look different):

Pull that tab.
Pull that tab.

Also, this week we're launching a competition for our bag design (which we're very excited about). If all goes according to plan, we should be ordering bags by the end of the month!

We're still on track at this stage for a mid-November ship date. While we had originally anticipated sending out surveys in late September, we've opted to wait until October as we finalize some fulfillment details. In that survey you'll be able to provide us your correct shipping address as well as choose what type of coffee roast/t-shirt size/etc. you'd like.

Know anyone that didn't get a chance to pre-order their coffee or gear? Please send them this link: 

https://coffee.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Please note that you can now pre-order our coffee as a holiday gift!

Finally, we'll be sending out an announcement about a big change we're making on Monday, October 2nd. Stay tuned!

Thanks for your time and support. We can't wait to send you some coffee!

Yours truly,

Matt and Robert

Thank you.
2 months ago – Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 01:31:19 PM

Hello!

We want to thank each and every one of you for your amazing support during our Kickstarter campaign. Not only did we pass our original goal of $35,000--but we reached out stretch goal of $50,000 on our last day. Levanta Coffee is now a reality, and we're starting with THREE farmers! 

The past few months have been an amazing ride that have culminated in this moment. We could not have done any of this without you. Please pat yourself on the back. You rock. We're eternally grateful.

Here's a neat statistic: turns out that of more than 2,200 projects on Kickstarter under the "drinks" category, Levanta Coffee is the 22nd most-funded project ever. That means that your support has placed us in the top 1% of most-funded Drinks projects. That's incredible! 

What comes next?

For now, Kickstarter is in the process of verifying and receiving your pledges. Funding should arrive, at the latest, in the second week of September. While we wait for that, we're already in the process of getting organized for what's ahead: fulfilling all of your orders.

Sometime in mid to late September we will send out a questionnaire that will request details we'll need to get your order set, such as what size t-shirt you'd like or what kind of roast you'd like for your coffee. We're still aiming for a mid-to-late November shipping date. We'll keep you posted!

Until then, we'd like to announce some great news: the company BackerKit reached out to us at the end of our campaign. They have a great platform that will allow us to make fulfilling all 616 of your orders go very smoothly. They will also host an online pre-sale store from now until we launch our official website in November! BackerKit offered their services pro bono given the social aspect to our start-up. That's extremely generous of them. Kudos to BackerKit!

You can visit our new pre-order store by clicking here: https://coffee.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

If you know anyone who missed out on our Kickstarter campaign, feel free to send them that link!

Finally, we'd like to share a word from our first partner-farmer, Daniel:

 He says, "thank you for supporting our Kickstarter, and thanks for drinking our coffee!"

We're always available at team@levantacoffee.com should you have any questions. Until then, thank you again for all you've done for us. This is real change. This is when a dream becomes a reality.

Yours truly,

Matt and Robert

P.S.: follow more frequent updates on Facebook (www.facebook.com/levantacoffee) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/levantacoffee)

We can't thank you all enough.
We can't thank you all enough.

 

Photo Finish: 39 Hours Left in the Campaign
2 months ago – Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 06:41:51 PM

With less than 2 days remaining in our campaign, we're $1,623 away from reaching our "Stretch Goal" of $50k!

The pace has picked back up the past few days. We're so, so close to the new goal of $50,000 that will allow us to begin with not just two, but three farmers!

We only need 81 more people to contribute $20 for 1 bag of coffee to push us over our goal. At present, you and 556 other people have chosen to support our campaign. If only 1 out of every 7 Levanta Coffee supporters picked up the phone right now and called/texted/messaged a friend or family member and convinced him or her to get some coffee, too, then we'd hit $50k instantly.

So, this morning we're asking you for this one last favor: will you reach out to just ONE person today and personally share with them why you chose to support Levanta Coffee, and why they should, too? Click here to visit the Kickstarter page, or copy and paste this link to send to your one person:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/levantacoffee/levanta-coffeelets-boost-coffee-farmers-incomes-to?ref=9kgyve

Remember, this is about a better opportunity for people working hard to grow, harvest, and process the coffee you drink

Emiliano, our third partner-farmer if we pass the $50k mark, isn't looking for a handout. Neither is his daughter, the valedictorian of her high school class who spends her time on the sides of steep mountains picking coffee in the rain to help pay for her education.

All coffee farmers want is recognition for their hard work and the promise that IF they put in raw effort THEN they'll see a real improvement in their quality of life. It's what we all do, every day. We work hard to be able to achieve a better standard of living. It's time that the people who grow your coffee had that same opportunity.

Emiliano's Daughter, the Valedictorian of her High School Class
Emiliano's Daughter, the Valedictorian of her High School Class

 

No matter what happens, this has been one of the most exciting times in our lives. We have been moved by how many people have joined us so far (557?!) and how supportive all of you have been. We thank you for making this project a reality.

We believe in what we're doing and we're in this for the long-haul. Once the Kickstarter ends tomorrow at 11:59pm Eastern US time, the real work starts. Let's begin Levanta Coffee with three farmers. Please take that small moment to ask one person to support this goal.

Thank you again,

Matt and Robert