New coffee sold at People’s Market benefits Tapestry Health

By Katie Landeck

A caffeine-fueled partnership between Dean’s Beans and Tapestry Health will debut at Black Sheep Café in Amherst at a launch party this Thursday from  5:30 to 7 p.m with music, samples, free hors d’oeuvres and lots of coffee.

The party will feature a line of coffee called “Emergency Caffeine.” The majority of the profits will benefit Tapestry Health, a non-profit organization that provides “family planning and reproductive health services” to Western Mass.

University of Massachusetts senior and Dean’s Beans intern Caroline Dorr, a Management and Economics major, describes the coffee as “smooth and full bodied, [with a] fresh and sustainable taste.”

Fellow senior and intern Katie Mills also adds that the Emergency Caffeine is “not your regular, everyday Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.”

“The roast was created specifically for the [Dean’s Beans and Tapestry Health] project,” said Mills, who encourages caffeine-lovers to “practice safe coffee drinking.”

The “EC” roast – a wordplay off the emergency contraceptive services the non-profit offers – is farmed at 5,000 foot slopes by a women’s co-op in Pangoa, Peru. The co-op allows the community to offer programs such as the women’s loan fund, which distributes loans for education and medical bills. The Peruvian co-op and others sell directly to Dean’s Beans, insuring that the coffee growers are given a fair price for their goods. Dean’s has been working with the Pangoa co-op since 2003.

This “women helping women” partnership was first conceptualized by Dean’s Beans and Tapestry Health this fall.  As Mills said, it’s “as simple as drinking a cup of coffee to help women locally and abroad.”

In addition to aiding the co-op, the profits will help supplement Tapestry Health’s budget, whose fee system works on a “sliding scale.” This means patients’ costs are relative to their income level. Because of this business model, Tapestry Health partially relies on donations and fundraisers to help provide service to uninsured patients.

Mills helped coordinate the coffee partnership. Mills is an international business and economic development major, and said she was first drawn to the coffee company after meeting its owner, Dean Cycon, when he gave a class lecture.

Cycon began Dean’s Bean in 1993. Mills said he “started [the company] not because he’s really into coffee, but because he wanted to help indigenous communities.”

Dean’s personality has made him popular with interns and alumnae alike, and several graduates are currently employed at Dean’s Beans. Cycon began his career as a lawyer before transitioning into a coffee connoisseur. Mills describes Cycon as a “very cool guy” whose résumé also includes a stint as a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie extra.

Dean’s Beans operates with the same philanthropic business model that it began with in 1993, selling only fair-trade and organic coffee bought directly from the source. Dean’s Beans sells “shade grown” coffee, an environmentally sustainable method. Their growers currently farm in Mexico, Peru, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea, among other countries.

The coffee is shipped all over the world.

The Emergency Caffeine roast is the only coffee product that aids Tapestry Health. The beans are currently being sold at People’s Market in the Student Union, Black Sheep Café in Amherst and online at Dean’s Beans and Tapestry Health websites. Gift baskets containing Emergency Caffeine can also be purchased.

Audrey Coulter can be reached at [email protected] Katie Landeck can be reached at [email protected]