All posts by Nellie Kim

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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The long road to normalcy through music and games


***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

Good Neighbors dispatched our PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Program Operations team to assist children and people affected by the April 25th and May 12th earthquakes in Nepal. The team set up two child-friendly spaces in the AaruArbang Village Development Committee within our Gorkha Community Development Project (CDP) site, where children participate in games, music, and art programs to help cope with the stress and instability they face.

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Our Emergency Relief team and PTSD Program Operations team is planning to expand this program to additional Good Neighbors CDPs, including Sangla, Lele and Badikhel.

GN Nepal CDP Map

The program allows children to express what they are experiencing emotionally by drawing, writing and playing games. The staff explains that their emotions are symptoms of PTSD and are common among people who experience traumatic events.

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Good Neighbors developed its own “PTSD Prevention Program Workbook” that incorporates recognition behavior therapy. It has been used in several emergency situations for children affected by humanitarian disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (November 2013), the civil conflict in Syria (September 2013), the forest fire in Valparaíso, Chile (April 2014), the earthquake in San Marcos, Guatemala (July 2014), and flood in Puerto Antequera, Paraguay (August 2013).


“The earthquake didn’t just destroy buildings. People are the real victims and they are living in a constant state of fear and shock. Our PTSD program will help them become mentally strong again so that they can return to their daily lives.” – Yeoul Lee (Emergency Relief Team Leader)


***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***

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Nepal Earthquake Updates – May 13th

***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***


The road to Soti blocked by fallen rocks due to a landslide

On May 12th, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal again, 17 days after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25th claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people. The epicenter of yesterday’s earthquake was near Mt. Everest, approximately 83km east of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. The number of casualties and injuries are still coming in, and people affected by the earthquake are living in a constant state of fear due to the more aftershocks.

Thankfully, yesterday’s earthquake didn’t do as much destruction in the district of Gorkha, which was one of the hardest hit areas of the April 25th earthquake. However there are still isolated incidents of falling rocks and landslides in certain areas. Our Emergency Relief team is now re-assessing both the safety and the needs of our sponsored children and community members throughout our Gorkha project site locations.


People of Soti waiting for medical attention

“The second earthquake caused a landslide in the northern part of Soti. This area is inaccessible by car since the roads connecting this area have been damaged. Our staff stationed in this area are safe and have escaped the village with military personnel and local people on foot. We’re doing what we can to provide additional assistance to the people of Soti.” – Roh Kyoung Hoo, Good Neighbors Nepal Country Director

The people in Nepal are in a state of constant fear and shock as they are coping with the aftermath of the country’s biggest earthquake in history. Most people are still afraid to return to their homes and are living outside.


Good Neighbors Emergency Relief team providing medical support

Our Emergency Relief team will resume relief efforts as soon as the situation stabilizes. Our plans include distributing more relief supplies to families, and our rebuilding efforts include launching a PTSD program for over 2,000 children. Additionally, Good Neighbors Nepal plans to build child-friendly spaces for children who cannot return to school because of the destruction, which will include activities and other support services.

***Click to DONATE NOW to support our relief efforts in Nepal. ***


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4 kids + 4 sponsored kids = 1 big happy family

Sandy and all kids

Loving family (top l-r: Sandy, John; bottom l-r: Sammy, Ericka, Nicole, Kayden)

We had the chance to sit down with Sandy Byon, one of our amazing donors who has supported Good Neighbors for over 5 years through our Water For Life project and others.  She’s the mom of 4 daughters (!) and also sponsors 4 children through our Child Sponsorship Program.  We were thrilled to catch up with Sandy to hear about what it’s like being a busy mom and still make time to support other children around the world.

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