Shared Values And New Beginnings


Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Brian

Word is out that David and Susan Kobos are retiring nearly 43 years after founding their company. Everyone here wishes them the very best, and we will miss them.

Word is also out that Kobos Coffee has sold to Groundwork Coffee. We want to assure all our valued customers they will continue to receive great locally roasted coffee and excellent service from a company with solid values based in our local community.

A key reason why David Kobos, Susan Kobos and myself felt comfortable selling to Groundwork Coffee was shared values – community involvement; sustainable practices; fair treatment of employees, vendors and coffee growers. We really felt like Groundwork was the right fit.

“When Susan and I first met the principals at Groundwork Coffee, we were impressed by their experience, honesty and vision.  Their core values were aligned with ours, and we feel good about handing the Kobos legacy over to them.”

David Kobos

So shared values remain the same. We’re still roasting right here in Portland as we always have. And you can continue to purchase your favorite Kobos Coffee right here online.

I’m genuinely excited about Kobos Coffee becoming a part of Groundwork Coffee. If you’re curious about Groundwork, visit groundworkcoffee.com.

Brian Dibble
General Manager
Groundwork Coffee / Kobos Coffee

Megan Fogarty Live At Kobos Coffee


Monday, January 25th, 2016

Megan-Fogarty

Megan Fogarty, local singer/songwriter, will perform live on Valentines Day at Kobos Coffee. Megan will be sharing her original songs as well as a few familiar tunes. This is a FREE event. Come support this up and coming artist.

Sunday, February 14th 2016
1 PM – 3 PM

Free

Kobos Coffee
2355 NW Vaughn ST
Portland OR 97210

Happy Trails, Ed


Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Ed Menashe

More than 13 years ago, a hardworking entrepreneur named Ed Menashe decided to step away from his espresso cart and come to work with us here at Kobos Coffee. Ed’s experience in the coffee industry as well as his good nature were just the right fit for our sales department. Because of his background, Ed was a specialist in espresso bar training. He rose to the title of Vice President of Sales.

Today, we announce that Ed has found a new challenge. He has become the Manager of Special Events for Meals on Wheels in Portland. Because of his love for a good cause, and his dedication in organizing past events for Kobos Coffee, there is no doubt he will thrive in this new position. All of us at Kobos will miss Ed’s fun spirit and kind heart.

Congratulations Ed, and thank you!

Trillium Arbor Build


Friday, July 24th, 2015

arbor-build

Over the last several years, a few of us here at Kobos Coffee have gotten together to work on projects for the Trillium Parry Center campus. This year (under the direction of Jenny Bush, Trillium’s Children’s Garden coordinator and licensed horticultural therapist), Brian, Ed and Rob designed and built an arbor, which now serves as a gateway to the campus labyrinth. As always, we had a great time and the end result turned out beautiful. This residential campus serves as home and school to children challenged with mental and behavioral obstacles.

Trillium Family Services is the coalition of three Oregon agencies: The Farm Home in Corvallis, Waverly Children’s Home, and the Parry Center. They merged in 1998, and together, they are the number one provider of mental health and behavioral services to the state of Oregon. Learn more about Trillium Family service at www.trilliumfamilyservice.com.

David Kobos’ Summer Feast


Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

summer-feast

We’re digging our early potatoes right now and I sort out all the small ones for this recipe.  The skins are very tender.  If you’re not growing your own, you should be able to find good ones at a local farmers market—or use the smallest red potatoes from your supermarket—quarter them after cooking.

 

PASTA AND NEW POTATOES WITH PESTO

1 ½ pounds small new potatoes, scrubbed clean, unpeeled
¾ pound pasta such as penne, fusilli, or shells

Drop the potatoes into a pot of boiling salted water.  Bring back to the boil and cook for at least 10 minutes or until they are tender.  Drain in a colander.  Cook the pasta according to package directions, and when al dente, drain in a colander.  In a large bowl toss the potatoes and pasta together.  Add about a half cup of pesto sauce and toss again.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more pesto if desired.  Best served warm or at room temperature.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts.

 

Pesto Sauce

2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor with the knife blade attached, (you may also use a blender).  Process until smooth.

 

Barbecued Salmon Fillets

Sprinkle your fillets with salt, pepper, and lemon juice—dot with butter.  When your coals are hot, lay the fillets on the grill skin side down and cover.  Check after 12 minutes—using a fork or spatula check the fattest portion of each fillet (do not turn them over).  When done, slide two long spatulas under the skin and lift carefully onto your serving platter.  Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Fruit Salad Tips

At our house we use a combination of the best fruits we can find.  I usually sprinkle the salad with juice of a lime.  If the fruit is not perfect, toss with one or two tablespoons of honey.

Barista Showdown 2015


Thursday, June 18th, 2015

barista-showdown

This past Saturday, Daniel, manager of our Market street café, competed in the 3rd annual Barista Showdown. In coordination with Caravan Coffee and the American Barista & Coffee School, Kobos Coffee helped sponsor the event. All proceeds will benefit the Newberg Area Habitat for Humanity.

The competitors presented judges with their best shot of espresso, best cappuccino, and their own signature drink. Daniel’s signature drink was his interpretation of a ginger snap. He used steamed almond milk, heavy molasses, fresh ginger and our own Fiera Organica Espresso. The competition was fierce. At the end of the day, the winner was Cole Werfelman from South Store Café in Scholls.  We are proud to be a part of this tradition of friendly competition and community support.

Meals on Wheels Luncheon 2015


Monday, June 15th, 2015

meals-on-wheels-annual-spring-luncheon

We’re honored to be a regular supporter of our local Meals on Wheels chapter. Ed and Kevin attended the Meals on Wheels annual Spring Luncheon in Portland about a month back. It was held at the Oregon Convention Center, and over 750 people attended. In just one hour, enough money was raised to provide nearly 70,000 hot meals for seniors. When combined with the Vancouver luncheon, $510,000 was donated making the luncheons their largest fundraiser of the year. Congratulations to a terrific organization!

David Kobos’ Big Bowl of Beans!


Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

big bowl of beans

We make beans often at our house—we use them in soups, stews, and stir fries; we puree them for appetizers; but best of all, we prepare them as described below.  There’s always the temptation to use canned beans—and if you rinse them thoroughly they’re not too bad.  But once you’ve tried them this way, you’ll find it’s hard to go back to canned.

2 cups dried Great Northern Beans (or Black, Cranberry, Cannellini, Pinto, etc.).

Place the dried beans and two tablespoons of salt in a 4-quart casserole and add cold water until it is an inch over the top of the beans.  Soak over night.

When ready to cook, turn on your oven to 325 degrees.  Pour the soaked beans into a colander and rinse the pot and the beans thoroughly.

1 large onion cut into 4 pieces
2 bay leaves
8 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried sage)

Put the above ingredients into the rinsed pot, and add the beans and water to cover by an inch.  (Add no salt!).  Bring to a gentle boil on top of the stove.  Cover the pot and place in the oven for 1 hour.  The beans should be perfectly done.  Black beans might take 15 or 20 minutes longer.

The bean broth is quite delicious so you might want to save it for other uses.  In any case drain the beans and discard the onion, bay, and sage leaves.  Place the beans in a large bowl.  Add the following ingredients and toss gently.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

½ cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste.

Employee Spotlight: Daniel


Monday, May 11th, 2015

daniel

Favorite Drink: Any coffee from the Indonesian region – Sumatra is the go-to
Working Here: Summer of 2012 / managing Market store since 2014
Hobbies: Cycling, vegan cooking

Originally from upstate New York, Daniel moved to the West Coast on a whim. He was attracted to the Northwest, and specifically Portland, because he believed it would be a great place to meet new friends. Portland offered an urban experience that fit his criteria: a space easily navigated by bike and where nature intersects with the city.

His favorite way of enjoying a good cup of coffee is prepared in his Bialetti stove top espresso maker. Considering his early morning work schedule Monday through Friday, this method is usually reserved for relaxing on the weekend. Outside of coffee, Daniel enjoys his whiskey neat, and is always on the lookout for a new local distilled spirit to enjoy.

Daniel started working in coffee when he was hired at our Vaughn street café as a barista. He looked forward to the challenge, because from the outside, espresso drink preparation was mysterious and appeared difficult. After honing his skills he was tapped to manage the Market street location when the opportunity became available. Daniel’s outgoing friendly style is a perfect fit for the busy mornings at the downtown location.

Market is closed on weekends, which gives him time to enjoy his outside interests. Taking advantage of Portland’s bike friendly atmosphere, you’ll catch Daniel on his bike year round exploring our neighborhoods. Additionally, Daniel loves to reading, vegan cooking and sharing a cup of coffee with friends.

The passion that drives Daniel in his everyday life is environmental justice. He is committed to living by simple means and with as little impact on the environment as possible. He suggests that “everyone should eat more vegetables” as a start.

Something that many of us didn’t know about Daniel is that he holds a black belt in karate. He practices to stay sharp. Eventually, he plans on finding a local Portland academy to help him remain engaged and proficient in this art. Over the last couple years, Daniel has indeed met new friends and has settled in. The people at Kobos Coffee are fortunate to know Daniel, and we too consider him a friend.

WSUV serving Kobos


Monday, April 27th, 2015

wsuv-kobos-cup

Washington State University Vancouver got a new coffee on campus and the reaction is Go Kobos! Recently, the espresso bar and cafeteria in the Dengerink building began serving Kobos Coffee. Café and catering manager, Bill Bontems, says everyone loves it. Students and faculty are very happy and sales are up. Before Kobos Coffee, some of the faculty had to stop off on the way to work just to get a good cup of joe.

Thank you WSU for serving Kobos Coffee.

Go Cougars!!!

David Kobos’s Stuffed Mushrooms


Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Mushrooms
I serve these stuffed mushrooms often as a side dish with meats or as an hors d’oeuvre. If you choose some larger Portobello mushrooms, they become a main course for a luncheon or brunch.

Ingredients:
12 mushrooms about 2 inches in diameter
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons minced onion, shallots or leeks
1/3 cup minced red pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 3 drops of Tabasco Sauce
3 tablespoons fine bread or cracker crumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese (Gruyere, Cheddar or Parmesan)
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream
Salt and pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.Snap the stems out of the mushrooms and trim around the edges so you have a fairly flat but slightly concave surface. Chop the stems and trimmings into a fine dice.Heat the butter and oil on medium heat and add the onions and chopped mushrooms. After two minutes add the pepper and parsley. Saute for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are done. Off the heat, stir in the bread crumbs, pepper flakes and cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Then add the cream—this helps hold all the ingredients together. When the stuffing has cooled somewhat, take a heaping tablespoon and form it into a ball and place on a mushroom cap. Repeat with the rest of the filling.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushroom caps are tender. Serve immediately.

Champagne Christening to Launch Roaster


Friday, February 27th, 2015

The New Production Coffee Roaster Christening

 

Our new Loring Smart Roaster is in place and ready to roll! It’s been quite a journey to get to this week’s celebration. The first time I saw it at a trade show three years ago I was most intrigued by the efficiency of the roaster. They claimed up to an 80% reduction of energy – Wow! The roaster uses a single burner to roast and re-circulate the smoke, replacing the need for an afterburner.

After learning more about the high-tech features, such as profile roasting, I started to ask questions about the effects on the coffee taste profiles. After getting satisfactory answers, I finally flew down to their manufacturing facility in Santa Rosa, Ca. – yeah, the new roaster is made in the USA. I was impressed with the quality of materials and the people behind the scenes, but more importantly, I was impressed with the taste of the coffee. This new roaster really sets the stage for our future growth while enhancing our ability to continue our mission of delivering the best quality coffee in Portland, Oregon.

The new roaster replaced our 1979 Probat 25K that we bought new back then. It served as our only production coffee roaster until 1995: before moving to our current location. I must admit that it was tough to see it go, but the increased capacity of the new Loring roaster kept my emotions in check.

Finally, I wish to give a big shout out to a few of our partners who joined us for our roaster champagne christening celebration. To the people from Equal Exchange, Percasso Coffee Service, Jim and Patty’s, Grumpy Monkey, Dryke & Associates, Dragonfly Chai, Café Femenino Foundation and Pier Coffee, THANK YOU for everything.

Brian Dibble
C.O.O & Co-owner

DAVID KOBOS’ DILLY BREAD


Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

dilly-bread

This is an unusual full-flavored bread ideal for serving with a light supper or a hearty soup. It’s wonderful for toast and for sandwiches too.

Ingredients:

¼ cup warm water
1 scant tablespoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (plus a little extra for kneading)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dry dill weed (or ¼ cup chopped fresh dill weed)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 large egg
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon melted butter

In a measuring cup mix together water, yeast and sugar and allow to proof—it will get very foamy. In a 4 quart bowl, mix together the flour, soda, salt and dill. Add the cottage cheese, egg, onion and the yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spatula or spoon. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. Wash and dry the bowl and spray or brush with cooking oil. Return the dough to the bowl, flip it over once to coat the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Set oven at 325 degrees.

Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk—from one to two hours. Punch down the dough and fit it into a greased bread pan and cover with a damp towel. (I often use a ceramic 2 quart round soufflé dish.) When the dough reaches the top of the pan or dish (about an hour), bake for 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read 200 degrees. Unmold immediately, set on a cooling rack and brush with the melted butter.

Employee Spotlight: Sara


Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Employee Spotlight: Sara

Favorite Drink: Herbal Tea/Chai

Working Here: 3 years

Hobbies: Fire Spinning

Sara moved to Portland a few years ago from the Coos Bay area where she worked in the property restoration industry. She was part of a demolition crew working long hours tearing down, cleaning up, and preparing sites for construction. An income with nowhere to spend it allowed her to save enough to move.

The Portland scene is far more her style. With mountains, lakes and rivers in close proximity, it is only the ocean she misses. Sara enjoys the changes of season. She also likes the culture available in a city the size of Portland.

Her favorite drink is typically herbal tea, and to pick just one is impossible. She enjoys different teas for different moments and different reasons. That said, there is never a bad time for chai.

Sara started working swing shift for Kobos Coffee 3 years ago in a production role filling and packing bags of coffee. She developed skills roasting coffee and managing a small crew of people. Recently, she moved to a daytime position in a similar role.

The change in shift has opened the door to Portland’s nightlife where Sara enjoys the burlesque subculture along with fire performance. Sara is a fire spinner moving towards advanced levels of the art. In the past, Portland developed a strict code for fire performance because of the perceived danger involved. Recently, regulation has let up, and a new interest in this physical and visual art has reemerged. Classes are being offered around town and there is a much better chance you can find a show. Who knows, you may be lucky to find Sara performing.

Kobos Coffee Training the Students at The Green Scene Cafe


Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Green Scene Cafe members at Kobos Coffee's Roasting Floor
You may not have heard about The Green Scene Cafe, but this program is doing some incredible things. The cafe is set up in Wilson High School’s cafeteria as part of their Life Skills program. “The program prepares young men and women with moderate and severe disabilities (e.g., Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Developmental Delays) for work in well-respected community jobs so that they can support themselves as adults and become involved members of the our community“ (Program Director, Dominic LeFave).

The Green Scene Café started serving Kobos Coffee in November. To help in the learning process Ed, Brian, and Rob held an all day training session. The group had coffee tastings and went through the full process of the coffee trade: importation, handling, preparation, roasting, and packaging.

We are honored to have Kobos Coffee be part of such a program!

Please go to this website to read more about this incredible program offered by Wilson High School here in Portland.

http://www.pps.k12.or.us/schools/wilson/lefave.htm#pod1721

David Kobos’ Breakfast Strata


Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Here’s a delicious breakfast strata, or casserole, to serve as a centerpiece for breakfast or brunch. It’s easy to assemble and I make it often for our family gatherings. This can be put together a day ahead and kept refrigerated until baking time.

Ingredients:

4 Cups bread, cubed. Can be fresh or stale, white or whole grain.
1 Pound bulk pork sausage cooked and crumbled. Or use link sausages cooked and sliced ¼ inch thick.
2 Cups broccoli, cooked and chopped in 1 inch pieces
10 Large eggs
2 Cups whole milk
2 Teaspoons dry mustard
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 Cups grated cheese—Sharp cheddar, Gouda, or Gruyere

 

Grease a 9 X 13 inch glass baking dish or other convenient casserole dish. I use an 11 X 7 X 3 inch ceramic dish. Beat the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.

Spread the bread in bottom of the dish. Top with broccoli then the sausage. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Allow to sit for half an hour before baking.

SET OVEN TO 350 DEGREES

Bake for about until puffed and the center is set.

David Kobos’ Bean Pie


Friday, December 19th, 2014

David Kobos' Bean PIe

My good friends Sue and Bill Deeming wrote several fine cookbooks back in the 1980’s. My favorite is titled Bean Cookery. As I got more interested in beans and began cooking a greater variety of them, Bill mentioned that I should try the Spanish Rice and Bean Pie in the book. It became an immediate hit as a main dish for our family vegetarians, and a side dish for the omnivores. Later on, my daughter, Nora, and her family became Vegan—so I came up with a Vegan version. Below are both recipes.

Ingredients:

2 Cups cooked rice (I often cook Bob’s Red Mill Country Rice)
1 Cup chopped green pepper
1 1/2 Cups red pepper flakes (or two tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper)
2 Teblespoons olive oil
1 1/2 Cups ricotta or cottage cheese
1 Can red kidney beans thoroughly rinsed (about two cups)
1 1/2 Cups grated Cheddar or Gruyere cheese (about 3 ounces)
Salt and pepper

Set oven to 350 degrees

In a large fry pan, sauté the pepper, onion and hot pepper in the olive oil over medium low heat until soft and fragrant—about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice and mix thoroughly. Add the rice mixture to a 10 inch pie plate and, using a fork, press the rice into the bottom and up the sides of the plate forming the “crust.” Spoon the ricotta cheese into the plate, and then arrange the beans in an even layer on top. Sprinkle on the grated cheese. Bake for Serve warm or at room temperature.

VEGAN VERSION

In place of the ricotta cheese, place a 1 pound package of “firm” tofu (drained) in a bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Beat with a fork until the mixture resembles cottage cheese and proceed as above.
In place of the grated cheese, use your favorite vegan cheese substitute.

Spotlight on giving back – Trillium Family Services


Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

The Trillium & Kobos Coffee Partnership

Kobos Coffee has always aligned themselves with worthy non-profits that support a healthy strong community. We were first introduced to Trillium Family Services 5 years ago when Rob Fogarty came to work for us. His passion for supporting Trillium was quickly adopted by Kobos Coffee and over the years we have become partners in serving the Oregon community.

Trillium is grounded in the belief that mental health is not just a personal challenge but the challenge of families that comprise the community we live in. Trillium Family Services is the coalition of what once were three separate agencies: The Farm Home in Corvallis as well as Waverly Children’s Home and the Parry Center of Portland. They merged in 1998 to become Trillium, which is now the number one provider of mental health and behavioral services in the state of Oregon. Trillium is not a state agency, but relies on state funding along with the generous monetary and in-kind donations of individuals and corporate sponsors such as Kobos Coffee.

In our time working with Trillium, Kobos Coffee’s volunteer efforts have included:

Participating in providing coffee service for all fundraising events including:

  •         Trillium’s Home Grown fundraising event (Held this year at the Portland Art Museum)
  •         Trillium’s Annual Golf charity challenge (Held at Langdon Farms)
  •         LPGA Caddy fundraiser
  •         Bootlegger’s Ball
  •         Annual Parry Center employee appreciation day where we provide espresso and hot cocoa to staff members
  •         Private label for the auxiliary board to actively generate awareness and generate fundraising dollars for Trillium

In addition to coffee services, Kobos employees have donated time and labor to many campus projects:

  •         Supplied material and labor to build potting benches to serve the healing garden
  •         Supplied material and labor to build an Arbor leading to the greenhouse
  •         Partnered with another business to build and install six park benches around the Parry campus

In the years since Kobos Coffee became involved with Trillium, Rob Fogarty was elected to the Trillium Board of Trustees, and as of November serves as Chair. We look forward to working with Trillium on future projects and opportunities to raise awareness to the growing need for quality mental health services in Oregon.

Employee Spotlight: McKenzie


Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Employee Spotlight: McKenzie

Favorite Coffee: Anything Smooth
Working Here: Since October 2014
Hobbies: Rock Climbing, Playing the Tuba

McKenzie is a Portland native. Not surprisingly her favorite things about the Northwest are the rain and the cool crisp days of autumn.

When it comes to coffee, she likes things smooth without the acidic notes a Central American bean would offer. Ideally prepared drip-style or in a French Press, she takes her coffee with just a touch of milk. Before coming to Kobos, McKenzie’s experience with espresso was limited to her work at a chocolate shop, which utilized a fully automated espresso machine. She’s really getting the hang of using our semi-automatic, and she looks forward to honing her skills with latte art.

Outside her work at Kobos, McKenzie is an avid rock climber and likes to combine this passion with camping. During the rainy months when weather makes climbing too dangerous, she spends her free time reading: Steinbeck, David Foster Wallace, and Hunter S. Thompson are some favorite authors.

McKenzie volunteers at PSU’s outdoor program where she leads camping trips a couple times per term including the winter months. She enjoys introducing people, who are not yet acquainted to surviving the outdoors, to a new way of looking at the world. Environmental and sustainability issues are very important to McKenzie. “One of the things that impressed and surprised me about Kobos Coffee is the small amount of waste that is thrown out. The recycling and composting efforts here are very apparent.”

McKenzie’s hidden talent is playing the tuba. This time of year, she looks forward to the annual Tuba Christmas when she and over 250 fellow tuba and euphonium players flood into Pioneer Courthouse Square. Tuba Christmas 2014 will be held on Saturday the 13th from 1:30pm to 3pm. The public is welcome and as of now, the weather looks promising.

Café Femenino Peru – A Great Coffee Doing Great Things!


Friday, November 14th, 2014

Cafe Femenino Foundation Peru

Kobos Coffee is proud to be offering Café Femenino Peruvian coffee and doing our part to help facilitate the hopes and dreams of women coffee producers. Their beans are specially treated with loving care motivated by a better life for themselves and of their children. Enjoy this smooth cup with a mild yet sweet citrus acidity and a nutty fullness that lingers on the palette.

Every purchased pound of this coffee is donating an additional $0.50 per pound to the Café Femenino Foundation to fund grant requests from the women. Since its inception Kobos has donated many thousands of dollars to the cause and this year has adopted a grant in La Florida Peru to fund $3,300 for a clean water project, www.coffeecan.org for more information.

When you purchase this coffee you will help change the lives of these women and children. Continue reading and learn more about our travels to Peru where Café Femenino started.

Co-owner Brian Dibble made his first trip into Peru in 2004. At this time, Café Femenino was just getting started. A meeting in Chiclayo, a city of just over 600,000 located at the base of the Andes Mountains was scheduled for all the women participating or hoping to learn more about this new concept. Many of these women traveled days to come from their farms to participate. It is rare for coffee farmers to leave home and even more so for the women. The roads are difficult and transportation is minimal.
Over 200 women showed up with seemingly little enthusiasm. Many were very shy and worried about the implications of doing something on their own. The uncertainty of how the men would react was surely in the back of many minds. Life was already hard enough for most of the women to have the men become threatened by this project. Many already oppressed or abused did not need things to be worse. An important part in the creation of Café Femenino was not to exclude the men but rather demonstrate that by improving the woman’s self-image, the family unit can be more fulfilling for everyone.

Two years later Brian went back to Peru for a second meeting and to celebrate the hard work making Café Femenino a success. The feeling in the room had completely turned around! The quiet room full of faces looking at the floor were suddenly smiling, making eye contact and laughing. The transition was amazing. During this time, a small film crew from Canada joined Brian and other coffee roasters on the trip. They traveled for a week staying in their homes while learning more about the project and how it has begun to change their lives. The film “Strong Coffee” was released in 2007, a true testimony of the project’s success.

After visiting Peru and learning about the real changes, Brian decided to be the first and only male on the Café Femenino Foundation Board of Directors in 2008. Every year he helps to plan fund raisers and organize events to fund the grant requests from the women. He appreciates the fact that the board does not assume what their needs may be, but rather the women themselves decide what is best for them. The grants are all funded at the end of each year and Brian helps to decide which can be funded based on the amount raised that year. He’s quoted as saying that it is the most rewarding part of being a Board Member. The grant request he brings up most is the Kitchen Improvement Grant.

Witnessing, first hand, the awful adobe stoves with little to no ventilation, the Kitchen Improvement grant requests gained Brian’s support for funding these improvements. These grants seek to raise the stove so that children don’t fall into the fire and to ventilate the smoke so it is not slowly taking their lives.

All the grant requests received from the women coffee-producers are meaningful. Their annual requests include Uterine Cancer Screenings, Seed Projects, Disaster Relief, Water Projects, Health Training, Micro Lending, Livestock and many more that enhance the lives of women and families in the remote coffee-producing communities in Peru.