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Direct Coffee – a coffee to boost… the Ethiopian local economy

September 1, 2016 / Laure


For a long time, we Westerners have acquired resources from richer lands to the south, under the pretext of commerce to bring exoticism and innovation to our tables. An exoticism at an indecent price due to huge margins in the long supply chain. The first in the chain, the one whose hands are hardened by the soil, and whose back is stiffened by hard labour, receives only a tiny portion often insufficient to feed and to raise his children with dignity. Our collective consciousness has evolved and invented social responsibility to offset our actions and guilt. We put back a small part of the profit in humanitarian actions via an NGO to bandage those gaping wounds, opened so many years ago. But this does little and much of our economy works on this unilateral model based on a Demand, which subjects the offer to its own rules. A different model of economic flow is necessary to restore some balance of the wealth. To generate flows of income and to inject them in social projects to support individuals and help them create them own valuable flows, is the example of “Social business” or the Model of « Direct Coffee » that Laure and Fabiana present you this month.

This is Michaël, graduated from the university of St-Gall with a Master’s degree in Economics, specializing in Social Business. He has worked for several years on health and agriculture projects in Africa. This it is Marie, a graduate of the University of Zürich in economy, specialized in behavioural economy, where she’s learned to use randomized controlled trials to generate maximum impact with every invested CHF 1.- They are highly qualified and the doors finance, the multinationals, the NGO are wide open for their careers. But Michaël and Marie’s heart and soul are opened to the world. They want to make big things and start something that corresponds to their values. So they started looking for a social project they can make profitable using their economic background.

Their approach is new. Opposite to an NGO who would assign a unique budget for a time limited social project and therefore limited impact. Marie and Michaël search to identify a product with a great potential of development for the country and which would be highly attractive and with no production possible in our country. Until then it’s a stupid Offer/Demand economy rule. But here, as an income, we generate flows of sustainable income which we reinvest in social projects in the producing region: a sold package = a steady child.

In 2015, over coffee seeds from Ethiopia the idea of « Direct Coffee » germinated. The health (wormer), education (glasses) and school diligence (meals) are the first social projects, which DC got involved in. In January 2016 Marie and Michaël met the producers and the partners for the social projects (schools), in April they found partners in Switzerland (to roast and encapsulate) and in June the on-line sales began in Switzerland. Soon the coffee will be available for the German, Austrian and French market online. The coffee is directly forwarded by shipping container from producer to us, without an intermediary, so DC knows exactly how much money the producer receives, how much money the cooperative collects to wash and transport the coffee, and can communicate it in a transparent way.

Using the on-line shop, an original, pure quality coffee in biodegradable capsule, ground or in beaded according to consumer’s preference at the same price as the competition and delivered to the customer in packaging to reduce waste. The type of subscription is flexible and allows customers to never be out of coffee in the morning. After having paid for the raw material, 40 % more than the rate of the fair trade, invested a substantial part in the local projects, their margin is thinner than the big industrialists, but allows them to be profitable as the volume follows.

” We offer to the producers’ families glasses to CHF 2.-for their children who need them. So that they can read to the blackboard without having a headache, being more concentrated in class, learning more and thus being better armed for the life, and maybe someday be able to read the figures of the exchange “, asserts Michaël pensively! To invest in health and education, it at first to help, to look and then to give protection keys to the knowledge and to help the country grow economically. That’s the dream and the challenge that Marie and Michaël have settled on.

Today, other coffee brands boast about their labels and assert their eco-responsibility by marketing that fact widely and apparently it packs shelve. “Only being checked by external authorities is not acceptable anymore; the responsible consumers wants a much more complete” information asserts Michaël. It is necessary to establish a real connection between the consumer and the local producer, and to share in the reality via social networks, thanks to testimonials, videos and photos. Companies have to change their method of communication and can no longer hide behind a brand, a logo and a fancy headline. That’s what Bang Bang defends, a brand acting assertively in the field. It is under this condition that a Brand today is actually credible and sustainable.


A crowdfunding to value the Ethiopian coffee

Marie and Michaël have many other ideas. To emphasize the coffee of Ethiopia cultivated in natural ecosystems, they decided to launch a new cold coffee: the ” Cold Brew ” a new revolutionary way of drinking its coffee, slightly roasted which infuse during 20 hours with cold water before being bottled. ” It is fruity, thirst quenching, delicious and highlights the complex aromas of the coffee; we feel in good shape but of a way softer than an Espresso. Faithful to our philosophy, every sold bottle supports a wormer for a child. ” Cold Brew is already a success in the USA and in the UK, Jamie Oliver praises benefactions. To allow the beginning of the production in Switzerland, Marie and Michaël are launching a of Crowdfunding campaign as of September 1st, 2016 on the platform

Bang-bang is proud to support this initiative! Do the same! Support by clicking on the link below!

” Join the pioneers of the brew Cold in Switzerland! Order 6 -packs of cold brew thanks to the link above: it is delicious and you support six treatments vermifuges for children in the region of the coffee ! Thank you