Brewing Change Campaign

Fund to assist Blessed Coffee, social enterprise and the Nation's second Benefits Corporation with opening a Coffee Cafe in Takoma Park.
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Christopher King
Small Business
Takoma Park, Maryland
United States
5 Team Members

NEWS Coverage of our campaign - links below:

Gazette & Washington Post 

The VOICE (Takoma Park / Silver Spring

Tadias (US-Ethiopian Publication)

Silver Spring Patch


Blessed Coffee is founded on 
the philosophy of "from the farmer to your cup." 

Established as a socially responsible business and trade geared towards development in coffee growing regions, as well as in communities in the US where coffee is sold. Now Blessed Coffee seeks to build a cafe in Takoma Park, MD.

Blessed Coffee is:

  1. The first business ever to implement the Virtuous Exchange (www.brewingchange.us/virtuous-exchange/) model.
  2. The Nation’s second Benefit Corporation, a new law introduced by Maryland in 2010 to support social entrepreneurs advancing public benefit as well as profit. Now enacted in 20 States.
  3. Designed to advance social/cultural and economic development in coffee growing regions as well as communities in the US.

It offers investment partnership and dynamic profit sharing to 240,000 small coffee growers in Ethiopia (making them major stakeholders) representing over a million families. It will give back 50% of the profit from the wholesale business to the farmers.

Providing similar investment opportunity to the community in the US and donating 50% of the profit from the café to local organizations producing public good in the US.

Since the inauguration of Blessed Coffee in 2011, Tebabu and Sara (husband/wife team and founders) have shared their story about and aspirations for developing Blessed Coffee, one cup and one conversation at a time at their dinner table, farmers markets, community events, colleges campuses, sustainable business forums and festivals. In just two years, they have come a long way.

Today, they enjoy massive community support, valuable recognition from policy makers, and broad media coverage. Their story is reaching many across the nation and beyond.

  • September 2011 - MD Governor Martin O’Malley, during his Blessed Coffee inauguration address, says of the business that it, “stands at the intersection of profits and social responsibility.”
  • January 2012 - The White House awards Blessed Coffee with the “Champion of Change” recognition.
  • The award honors ordinary Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.
  • June 2012 - Edible DC, a Washington DC based food magazine, features a cover story recognizing Blessed Coffee as one of the 16 “Game Changers” in the local sustainable food sector.
  • September 2012 - At the Second Blessed Coffee Anniversary, MD Senator Jamie Raskin, the Keynote Speaker, named Blessed Coffee “Community in a Cup”
  • May 2013 - MD Senator Ben Cardin mentions Blessed Coffee in his keynote address at the USAID Small Business Conference, citing it as “an outstanding example of innovative socially conscious international businesses”
  • September 2013 - Blessed Coffee is invited to introduce its social business model at the Africa Braintrust event, an annual US-African Trade Investment forum hosted by Congresswoman Karen Bass at the 43 Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference.

Fund Utilizations.

It is with a strong sense of accomplishment and solid confidence our continued growth - on our third anniversary - we are launching this crowd-funding campaign developed to support Blessed Coffee in raising the necessary capital to open its first café and roasting facility.  Yes, Blessed Coffee is destined to be a model for social and economic development in the Coffee growing region and our community here in the US. And yes, we are singing … “Ain't no stoppin' us now…We're on the move”

And your support will help us get there. Below is the chart that shows you the the fund utilizations.

Virtuous Exchange

Virtuous Exchange (www.brewingchange.us/virtuous-exchange/) embraces Fair Trade’s principles of helping producers in developing countries obtain fair prices, ethical treatment of workers, and environmentally sustainable practices.

Virtuous Exchange goes beyond Fair Trade to:

  • Provide producers with significantly higher benefit—sharing up to 50% of profits.
  • Offer producers attainable investment opportunity—making possible an ownership stake in the business.
  • Recognize and appreciate the human element inherent in trade. Producers become more than commodities. Their cultural and social traditions are honored and shared in every transaction.
  • Set a higher bar for socially conscious businesses. Rather than simply meeting a set of
  • standards, VE asks businesses to be in real relationship with producers and consumers and uniquely connect them in ways that have the best interests of both, and our world, at heart.

The Culture of Ethiopian Coffee

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and their ancient coffee ceremony is a tradition that is woven into the fabric of Ethiopia’s culture, community life, and spiritual identity. For thousands of years, coffee ceremonies have been conducted daily where coffee is roasted, ground, and brewed three times. It is a social gathering where dreams are translated, blessings are offered, and social relations and discourse are fostered to build engaged communities.

Blessed Coffee intertwines ancient and vibrant cultural traditions with a business model that celebrates community and advances social and economic development.

Blessed Coffee is also proud to bring you the finest coffee varieties from Ethiopia, where the soil, altitude, and climate are ideal for producing truly outstanding coffee grown by farmers who have cultivated the bean for thousands of years.

The Global Coffee Trade

After crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity in the world. It is a worth over a $100 billion dollars worldwide. In this market, ultra premium coffee beans are taken from small farmers at pennies on the dollar. The beans are then mixed into large batches with cheap, plantation-produced coffee, and then branded and labeled as a “fancy blend” by wholesalers, retailers, and upscale coffee shops.

In this profit driven market, farmers who contribute 90% of the work only get 1% of the retail price. With this meager share, farmers struggle to make a living and cannot afford to eat a decent meal and send their kids to school.

Brewing Change

The Brewing Change Campaign is a crowd-funding campaign developed to raise the capital necessary for expansion of Blessed Coffee into retail business markets and allow for the more complete implementation of its Virtuous Exchange business model.

The members of the Brewing Change campaign team come from a diversity of backgrounds, but have each been drawn to Brewing Change because of Blessed Coffee’s socially conscious and sustainable business practices. Team members represent the breadth of skills and professions found in the Washington DC Metro Area—art, law, organizational development, communications, technology, community activism and real estate.

The Story, One Family Building a Social Business Tebabu and Sara (husband & wife team), both native Ethiopians, founded Blessed Coffee in 2011 in their hometown of Takoma Park, MD. They are both community activists; social entrepreneurs; and the proud parents of two children, Helena and Yared.

Tebabu and Sara were inspired to develop the Virtuous Exchange business model and Blessed Coffee after meeting fellow Ethiopian activist Tadesse Meskela in 2002 in Washington DC. Tadesse is the founder and general manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co- operative Union (OCFCU), with 240,000 small coffee framing members. It was through Tadesse that Tebabu and Sara learned of the tremendous inequities in the global coffee market and the devastating impact on small farmers.

Tebabu and Sara have been growing their wholesale business and spreading the message about Virtuous Exchange via farmers markets, e-commerce, partner organizations, and traditional brick and mortar grocery stores. In 2012, Edible DC magazine recognized the couple among its notable “Game Changers” revolutionizing the Washington DC food scene. Blessed Coffee is destined to do more for its local community than Starbucks has for Seattle! It is with a strong sense of accomplishment--on the occasion of Blessed Coffee’s third anniversary--that Tebabu and Sara (with the support of the Brewing Change team) launch this crowd-funding campaign developed to support Blessed Coffee in raising the necessary capital to open its first café and roasting facility.

Brewing Change

We hope that you will support the campaign and help propel Blessed Coffee into a bright and prosperous future of positive social, cultural, and economic impact.


Find This Campaign On
$8,081USD
raised by 75 people in 2 months
4% funded
No time left
$226,274 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on December 22, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $25USD
    Planters

    0.5lb coffee certificate Thanks on the website + report

    16 claimed
  • $50USD
    Harvester

    Certificate Thanks on the website + report 1 Lb Coffee BC Mug

    10 claimed
  • $75USD
    Processors

    Certificate Thanks on the website + report 1 Lb coffee BC Mug BC t-shirt

    15 claimed
  • $150USD
    Dryers

    Previous Lists + BC t-shirt• digital copy of documentary Cartoon by Citizen Bill signed limit 1

    4 claimed
  • $200USD
    Millers

    Previous Lists + BC t-shirt• digital copy of documentary Cartoon by Citizen Bill signed (limit 1) Solomon's signed pencil drawing (limit 1) Name on the cafe wall

    4 claimed
  • $250USD
    Tasters

    Previous Lists + Copy documentary of Black Gold Handmade Jewelry from Ethiopia

    2 claimed
  • $500USD
    Roasters

    Previous Lists + 3 Lbs coffee Handmade craft Scarf Name higher on cafe wall Photobook Ethiopia from the Heart

    4 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Grinders

    Previous Lists + Handmade Ethiopian Pottery Name higher on cafe wall Charcoal drawing by Solomon Canvas print from Photobook (signed) Ethiopian restaurant dinner for two (nearest to donator)

    1 claimed
  • $2,000USD
    Brewers

    Previous Lists + 6 Lbs coffee Copy documentary Black Gold Handmade Ethiopian Silver Cross Charcoal drawing by Solomon Canvas print from Photobook (signed) Ethiopian restaurant dinner for four (nearest to contributor Original painting (one of a kind)

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Family of Blessed Coffee

    Previous Lists + Charcoal drawing by Solomon Canvas print from Photobook (signed) Host for homecooked dinner and coffee ceremony (travel not included). Or dinner for 8 to restaurant. Weekend Stay at Etta Mae Inn in Silver Spring, MD

    0 claimed
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