Why we support Coffee Meets Water: EQUATOR COFFEES & TEAS

We’re continuing our series of highlighting all the amazing partners of Coffee Meets Water this year.  Next up is a new partner for 2015 – Equator Coffees & Teas, based in lovely San Francisco, CA.  We had a chance to connect with Ted Stachura, Director of Coffee at Equator, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us!


Photo Courtesy of Equator

Q: Tell us a little bit about Equator Coffees and Teas, and your favorite part about working there!

A: Equator was founded over 20 years ago on the premise of roasting the highest quality coffee and providing outstanding customer service. The company has evolved from being solely a wholesale roaster to operating a small number of coffee houses. This experience has allowed Equator to focus on our local community in a whole new way. We also feel deeply connected to the communities where coffee is grown; in addition to the many relationships we have with coffee producers around the world, Equator also co-owns a small coffee farm in Panama called Finca Sophia, near the town of Cerro Punta. The team that takes care of the Gesha variety trees on the farm help close the loop from coffee origin to roaster to cup. As Director of Coffee, my favorite part of working at Equator is helping establish new relationships with coffee growers and bringing their stories to our customers.

Q: How do you choose what types of coffee you use, and what drinks you make?

A: In our cafes, we feature a dynamic assortment of coffees that change on a monthly basis. Along with the standard espresso based beverages, we offer single-origin coffees brewed by the batch and by the cup. We curate the coffee offerings in our cafes and feel they are a representative snapshot of the depth of our coffee program overall.


Photo Courtesy of Equator

Q: Speaking of drinks, what is your favorite coffee drink?

A: I’m a purist when it comes to coffee, I tend to drink unadorned brewed coffee and espresso but, I also enjoy an occasional cappuccino.

Q: Have you done any coffee- specific travel? If so, what are some of your favorite destinations and why?

A: It is difficult to pick one coffee producing country over another. That said, visiting Kenya was especially memorable because the coffee produced there is consistently a favorite of mine. My recent visit to Colombia was also meaningful for the deepening relationships we have established with an assortment of growers. And finally, Panama, home of our very own Finca Sophia, and so many other excellent coffee farms.

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Ted picking coffee in Colombia. Photo courtesy of Equator

Q: How important is access to clean water in regards to coffee?

A: Water plays a critical role in coffee production. Water is used to convey coffee cherries, separate dense cherries from low quality “floaters” and, ferment and wash coffee beans in the traditional wet method of processing. Perhaps most importantly, clean water is required for the health and livelihood of the people who grow coffee and their families.

Q: Why did you decide to partner with us for Coffee Meets Water?

A: Equator decided to partner with Good Neighbors because of our obsession with sustainability. The fact that this program is focused on coffee producing communities around the world helped seal the deal.

Thank you so much Ted, and everyone at Equator, for being a part of Coffee Meets Water this year!  Equator has generously donated a bunch of great perks for supporters of Coffee Meets Water – such as a Latte Art class, bags of coffee, bkr water bottles and more!  Check out the campaign here!

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Why we support Coffee Meets Water: Demitasse

We’ve been lucky to work with the amazing people at Demitasse over the past few years.  In addition to being the first partner of Coffee Meets Water in 2014 and supporting this year’s campaign, they’ve also helped fund the construction of new cookstoves for families in Guatemala.  For the folks at Demitasse, their amazing work goes beyond coffee!

We had a chance to chat with Bobby Roshan, the founder of Demitasse, to hear a little bit about his love for coffee and why they’re supporting Coffee Meets Water again this year.

Demitasse logo

Photo courtesy of Demitasse

Q: Tell us a little bit about Demitasse, and your favorite part about working with coffee.

A: We put a lot of effort into sourcing our coffee. The past year has taken us to origin for the first time (including Guatemala) and we look to continue visiting farms and farmers to find not only exceptional coffees, but exceptional coffees from farms that are taking care of both their people and the land they work on. We also make a lot of fun drinks and try to do crazy things with different ingredients that compliment the coffee. Our current seasonal special is a black sesame lemongrass latte.


Photo courtesy of Demitasse

Q: What’s your favorite coffee drink?
A: My favorite coffee drink right now is an iced cappuccino. We shake up some milk and espresso with ice in a shaker and it creates a nice little foam on top. Nice and refreshing on these hot LA days.

Q: Have you done any coffee-specific travel? If so, what are some of your favorite destinations and why?
A: In the past year or so, I’ve had the privilege of visiting El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia. I loved each country in its own way! I have a weakness for coffees from El Sal and being the first country we’ve bought coffee from directly, it’ll have a special place in my heart. As far as cities go, Bogota blew me away.
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Bobby working on a coffee farm in Argentina. Photo courtesy of Demitasse

Q: How important is access to clean water in regards to coffee?
A: Clean water is insanely important to any plant, but especially coffee. Not only does the coffee itself need clean water to grow, but many countries need clean water to process the coffee as well. Having a stream or a well on a coffee farm gives that farm a huge advantage over its neighbors.
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Photo courtesy of Demitasse

Q: Why did you decide to partner with us for Coffee Meets Water?
A: I’ve always been interested in development work since my days at a foreign policy think tank, and to be able to combine two of my favorite interests was huge for me! You guys do amazing work and we’re happy we’re able to help in any small way we can. Now if only we can get the Lakers involved somehow, we’d have all three of my interests wrapped into one effort. 😉

Thanks so much Bobby!  We agree, if only we could get the Lakers involved somehow, we’d be thrilled too!  We appreciate your support and everything you’re doing to help get access to clean water around the world.  To support this year’s Coffee Meets Water campaign to get water filtration systems for schools in Acatenango, Guatemala, click here!

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We’re so excited to have several coffee companies partner with us for Coffee Meets Water! We’ll be highlighting one each week during the campaign, so stay tuned to see what they have to say about coffee, water, and life!


First up is LA Coffee Club! Founded in 2011 by Adam Scott Paul and Antone Hall, the goal of LA Coffee Club is to introduce a wider audience to local roasters in Los Angeles by offering an affordable monthly coffee subscription. We got Adam to answer a few of our questions – even though he’s currently on a trip in Amsterdam! Read below to see what he had to say!

Adam @ TEDxUSC - photo by Rios Enriquez via lacoffeeclub.com

Adam @ TEDxUSC – photo by Rios Enriquez via lacoffeeclub.com

Q: Hi Adam! Tell us a little bit about LA Coffee Club.

A: LA Coffee Club is a subscription service that delivers unbelievably fresh, locally roasted coffee – directly to your door. Every week, we feature a different local roaster – highlighting the best brews LA has to offer.

Q: How do you choose the coffee roasters you work with?

A: Since January 2012, we’ve been rotating through a list of about 40 roasters and have been letting each roaster pick the coffee they like most to feature, though that’s all about to change. I’m happy to announce a new program we are rolling out this fall called Roaster In Residence, along with our brand new space in Culver City called The Subscription Room – it’s pretty much a members only Club House!

We will be hosting quarterly reviews of all our roasters offerings and cupping each coffee out in order to find only the best of the best coffees & roasters.

Photo via lacoffeeclub.c

Photo via lacoffeeclub.com

Q: Have you done any coffee- specific travel? If so, what are some of your favorite destinations and why? 

A: I’ve yet to travel to origin, but I’ve gone on a few adventures across the US and abroad in search of other local roasters. At the time of this writing, I’m in Amsterdam – which is going through a similar transformation around specialty coffee. Coffee shops all around the city are either buying or have bought roasters and have begun roasting their own coffee – it’s really an exciting time to be a coffee lover!!

Q: What’s your favorite type of coffee?

A: Freshly roasted coffee is my favorite. The flavor begins to dissipate after about 2 weeks and all that goodness fades away. I’m usually a fan of Naturally processed Ethiopian Coffee – they are fruit forward and quite unique.

Q: How important is access to clean water in regards to coffee?

A: It is said that coffee passes through the hands of about 32 people before arriving at your door or in your cup. Every one of those people along the supply chain rely on access to clean water in order to survive.


Q: Why did you decide to partner with us for Coffee Meets Water (for 2 years in a row!)?

A: Providing access to clean water in coffee producing countries won’t just help improve the quality of their coffee – it will provide opportunities for those people to grow and thrive. And that feels pretty great! We feel so honored to be even just a small part of such a driven organization!

Thanks so much Adam! Learn more about LA Coffee Club here and Coffee Meets Water here

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We so excited to launch Coffee Meets Water for the second year in a row! Last year we fixed broken water wells in Ethiopia; this year we’re focusing on another coffee-producing community… in Guatemala!

The majority of homes and schools in the coffee-producing community of Acatenango lack clean and safe drinking water. We all know how important water is for great tasting coffee and for LIFE, so our goal for this year is to provide clean drinking water in Acatenango, starting with 7 schools that educate over 1,700 students (the children of the hardworking coffee farmers!).

We’re kicking things off with our own take on Shark Tank — with younger, cuter judges! Watch below to see what the judges of Guppy Tank think about how to get clean water!

So, what can YOU do?

  • Read all about our campaign on Indiegogo, then share! Use #CoffeeMeetsWater and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
  • Donate! Just $5 covers the cost of clean water for one child – YES, you read that right. Then refer 3 friends and we’ll add a surprise perk for you as a thank you!

So, you heard it: the guppies are all in! Are YOU?  Let’s get clean water flowing. 

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Interning in the Dominican Republic: PART 2

Sophia interned at Good Neighbors Dominican Republic this summer, and wrote about her experiences in a two-part blog. Read below for her second entry!


Hello! Living in the DR has reminded me of how fortunate I am to live in the USA and have constant access to potable water. Here in the DR, tap water is not safe to drink, so people purchase water from jugs that are brought to the house via motorcycle. This service is expensive for those living in extreme poverty and it causes people to struggle to provide their families with safe drinking water (the price for one 5 gallon jug is over $1.50). Good Neighbors Dominican Republic has provided the people living in the urban slum of Los Guandules, Santo Domingo with a water filtration system so that they can refill water bottles at the affordable price of only $1.50 per month instead of per jug ( it’s called “Project Good Water”).

This is the “Project Good Water” reserve osmosis system.

This is the “Project Good Water” reserve osmosis system.

The Community Development Project (CDP) in Los Guandules has a dedicated doctor working for them.  Dr. Rossy Molina Cuevas provides free medical checkups and care for the parents and children enrolled in the program. Dr. Rossy always has a long line of people waiting to see her and she does an incredible job providing the community with quality care despite the limited amount of resources she has at her disposal.


Los Guandules is located by the Ozama River, but unfortunately the river is considered to be the most polluted river in the Dominican Republic due to decades of industrial runoff.

I also had the opportunity to work at the summer camp in Los Guandules as a yoga instructor. Over 250 children attended the camp and it was truly an amazing experience (hundreds more children will be back for the second half of the camp). The children are truly talented, sweet, and enjoyed the yoga class. I got more hugs than I thought were possible and the outpouring of love was heartwarming. I’ll never forget their smiles and gratitude.

Yoga time!

Namaste! Yoga time!

The staff and summer camp volunteers are a group of dedicated individuals and I was lucky to get the opportunity to work with them.  The final day of the camp a couple of us got dressed as clowns and the kids went nuts!

That's me in the front and center clowning around!

That’s me in the front row clowning around!

I never thought I’d ever be a clown, but that’s the amazing thing about volunteering abroad – you never know where it will take you or who you will become!

Thank you SO much for spending part of your summer with Good Neighbors Dominican Republic, Sophia! We know they loved having you as much as you loved being there! Are YOU interested in volunteering? Visit our website for more info! 

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News + Notes from Our Corner of the World