International / Leaders & People

Unexpected Innovator: Joseph Stazzone of Cafe Kreyol, Haitian Artisan Coffee

Joseph Stazzone, Cafe Kreyol

Innovators are creative risk takers who deliberately and sometimes, accidentally engage a new idea to collaborate and effectively create a new paradigm shift in business and consumerism.

Joseph Stazzone found his calling as a game changer, during a humanitarian mission to Haiti. In the humid hot verdant hills filled with poverty beyond the imagination of many, Stazzone realized the coffee growers were not earning enough money to live fairly and yet, their coffee was prized.

With an idea, sense of purpose, Stazzone established Café Kreyól a Haitian artisan coffee venture whose mission is to grow the best coffee beans and provide access for the farmers to the US market. Stazzone incorporated and sold shares to investors to support the venture. Individual investors also have the option to ‘own a tree’. Starting with approximately 250,000 coffee trees among four co-ops, Stazzone is planting new seedlings each month. With the first shipment in 2012, Café Kreyól is making its presence known in the Washington, D.C. area.

One clear purpose, Stazzone shares is that

“We pay our farmers based on the amount they need to eat, put their kids in school, and have a home.  This ended up being roughly 300% higher wages than fair trade.  Fair Trade is a very low “world average” that tricks consumers into thinking they are helping 3rd world countries when in fact they are not.  We sell our coffee at the market value for that product which is roughly $15.99-$19.99 (Arabica Typica and Arabica Blue Mountain).”

Café Kreyól is on par with Counter Culture coffee. Café Kreyól is a liquid elixir, dark, smooth, bold with a chocolate, fruity and nutty aroma that enlivens the senses – with no need for sugar or cream.

Stazzone calls attention to the role of the consumer in best business practices,

“It is both the customers and the business owners responsibility.  To purchase goods from Wal Mart says that said person supports the child labor in India and the underpaid workers.  We are responsible for paying more to organizations that pay ACTUAL fair wages.  I do not think everyone deserves 300% higher wages than Fair Trade for coffee, but I think that the quality is an important factor.  People who grow a better product should be paid a decent amount more.  Especially if their coffee is being sold in the US for 15 per pound!!!  This is where the integrity of the business comes into play.  Transparency is key.”

After water, coffee may be the most consumed beverage in the world and is certainly essential to any creative. Plus the price of coffee is a insightful way to gage the cost of living in any area of the world.  Mashable recently posted a story on the seven unknown facts about Starbucks including a note on the cost of a 16 oz. latte around the world – from $2.80 in New Delhi to the same latte in Oslo for $9.83. Yet, how often do we inquire or consider all of the people involved to actually deliver that latte to our cafe table.

The power of a purchase has enormous global implications and a direct impact for families in Haiti. Café Kreyól is available for purchase on-line, which delivers the maximum profits possible to the venture and also at St. Elmos in Alexandria, Virginia; Winchester Coffee Roasters, Virginia; Qualia Coffee, Washington, D.C.; Notting Hill, Lewes, Delaware; Caffe Amouri, Vienna, Virginia; St. Thomas Roasters, Pennsylvania and at Whole Foods in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Anita Roddick shifted the global trade practices over 30 years ago to incorporate better business ethics and now there is a growing discussion to educate the consumer on how to buy well and fairly.

Café Kreyól is game changer, proving that global trade, humanitarian development and consumerism can collaborate with integrity.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographers, Washington, D.C. (Please follow 9 Muses News copyright use policy.)

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6 thoughts on “Unexpected Innovator: Joseph Stazzone of Cafe Kreyol, Haitian Artisan Coffee

  1. The best coffee in the world comes from Ethiopia. In the mid 1500 Arab merchants took these beans and introduced it to European market. Since the coffee was brought by the Arabs , it got its name Coffee Arabica. What is sad, is these ppl producing this important beans are not getting the right prices for their product. Coffee is the second highly consumed drink in the world. Coffee also grows in very limited regions of the World. People with conscious should really stand for these unfairly exploited coffee producers and form a campaign to stop exploitation.
    Best
    Bekele

  2. I would like to start similar campaign on this unfair deal with Starbucks .
    ABOL, is the first cup of Coffee offered Fresh to folks. We should start COFFEE- ABOL campaign to at least give a reasonable price for these farmers .
    Best
    Bekele

  3. Thank you for your comments, Bekele.

    Perhaps Joseph would be able to share some insights or thoughts on how to encourage fairer trade of coffee beans in Ethiopia.

    Thanks, again!
    Keri

  4. Nice reading about you

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.

  5. Thank you so much for your comment.
    I really enjoyed reading your blog filled with beautiful thoughts and photographs.
    Many best wishes to you!
    Keri

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