Why would I want to drive to Guelph after a long day, instead of stay home, make hot chocolate and curl up with my puppy and a good book?
Good coffee of course!
And not just any good coffee. Planet Bean good coffee.
See Planet Bean sells fair-trade, organic coffee - just like several other suppliers I found in Toronto. Unlike many of those other suppliers, they are wholly commited to fair-trade, the certification, and quality of their product.
They are certified by TransFair Canada (http://transfair.ca/) - the nonprofit certification organization that promotes and licences fair-trade operations in Canada. You've probably seen the logo :
If you're not sure what fair-trade really means - read about it here.
One of their best selling coffees is called Cafe Femenino, and I was sent home with a bag of it. It's delicious coffee, and even better, it comes from a wonderful place. The first of it's kind, a cooperative of women in Peru started growing their own organic, shade-grown coffee, and using the profits to support their community. According to Bill Barrett of Planet Bean Coffee "Women in these rural areas are said to be at a 70% risk of sexual assault. They have few resources, no support network limited education and no control over the household income." This allows them to take control of their lives, the education of their children, and increasing their quality of life.
This network has grown, and now involves over 750 women, in 50 different communities.
Read more about it here.
While sipping samples of some of their single-origin coffees, Byron explained to me that this principle carries through everything Planet Bean does. The company is employee-owned, and the driving principles of the company are to be ethical, operating in a democratic manner, and ecologically sustainable.
I got to peek inside the magic room - where the roasting takes place. The smell was out of this world. (Although as opposed to the picture, the roaster wasn't present - just imagine what the steam coming off those beans would smell like. Heaven!)
Ahhhhh, I now cannot wait to get home, and make myself a coffee.
I'll leave you with a link to an interesting article about the health benefits of coffee, as reported by Harvard researchers - enjoy!