As you may have noticed, we haven’t posted on our blog since the new year… but all for good reason. Because of you, those who love our products and our socially-driven mission, we have gained enough support to expand our chocolate and coffee production — which ultimately results in a greater social impact for our partners and farmers around the world. We would like to take this time to say, “thank you!” We have been humbled by all the support. Here's what we've been up to:
2017 was quite a year and we could not have done it without you! Let’s reminisce about a few things!
We kicked off the year by gathering around a fountain of chocolate as we inaugurated our new production facility in Honesdale PA. We packed 200 people from all around the United States into our 1,200 sqft space and celebrated our farm-to-bean-to-bar social enterprise business model.
In Honesdale, our focus was dominated by our dream to perfect the art of small-batch coffee and chocolate. Meanwhile, 6,000 miles away on our farm in Cameroon, we entered our 3rd planting year- using agriculture as a vehicle to generate livelihood and community development.
From the northern mountains of the Dominican Republic to smallholder farms nestled underneath Mt Cameroon in Africa, our search for partners in coffee and chocolate remained steadfast. Today, we have strong bonds with our farmers and suppliers and are still creating more bonds as we move forward.
We’re amped as ever for 2018 and look forward to even more progressive shifts toward sustainability, social justice, and great coffee and chocolate.
What else did we do this year?
Let's count the beans...
- 6,600 trees planted. Cacao, plantain, papaya and more
- 4,300 ft of water pipe laid on our farm. We can now irrigate year round while providing clean water to our community
- 2 important certifications achieved: Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade, with Organic pending
- We won our 1st award - Innovator Of The Year for Wayne County
- 5,080 cups of our Cold Brew were enjoyed
- We shipped to 35 states as well as UK, India, Cayman Islands, and the Dominican Republic
- 7,300 chocolate bars were poured and hand wrapped
- 9,100 lbs of coffee moved through our roastery
- We dished out 16,640 free chocolate samples on our weekly factory tours
- 980 shots of espresso we're pulled and consumed by our staff
Not too shabby for year #1. But much more important than numbers were the human bonds that we built this year through distribution partnerships, weekly tours, and visits by individuals intrigued by the idea of a mission-driven product company.
For those of you whom we have not yet met, please let our coffee and chocolate do all the talking.
Co-Founder and CEO,
Our partnerships with farmers to increase coffee yields and enhance market access started in Northwest Cameroon’s scenic Oku Valley, named for the tribes that live in the region. There, our coffee is grown at altitudes of up to 7,000 feet in the shade of orange, banana, and kola nut trees beneath the peak of Kilum Mountain, also called Mount Oku. Nearby Lake Oku provides the area’s crops with water and nutrients. The coffee we grow here is fully washed in fresh water on the day of its harvest. Farmers then dry it on raised beds in the shade of the forest's trees.
This coffee crop provides a livelihood for many people living in Northwest Cameroon who are largely dependent on agriculture, especially coffee. With a population of over 130,000 people on remote and often difficult terrain, conscious practices of innovative, sustainable, and manageable agronomy are key. Northwest Cameroon’s lush, mountainous landscape is often challenging during the rainy season, but the plentiful resources it provides are well worth the struggle come harvest time.
Within the forests of Mount Oku, the world-renowned white honey thrives as bees undertake most coffee pollination. The landscape and biome of the Oku Valley work together, with and for its people, who have in turn come to understand this land’s ability to give back in tremendous ways.
Many farms under Mount Oku range from only a half acre to 4 acres, but practicing ecologically sound and nuanced foundational farming techniques makes them mighty. Even though many farming practices in the region seem rudimentary by industrial standards, the foundational elements of proper pruning, soil and shade management, and processing techniques elevate the region’s incredible capacity for vibrant coffee production. With over 400 tons of washed Arabica coffee produced each year alone, Northwest Cameroon’s beautifully rich landscape truly delivers.
Moka Origins is proud to work with farmers in Northwest Cameroon to help them respond to the dwindling volumes of coffee produced in the region. Our collaboration brings us closer to achieving our goal of creating economic stability through sustainable sourcing practices and shows the importance of developing strong agricultural economies throughout the world. One small region can truly affect the livelihood of many.
Our Cameroon Mt Oku coffee is unmatched. This medium roast presents subtle notes of lemon with a sweet caramel finish. This rare, shade-grown bean is our flagship coffee and for over a decade, Moka’s founders have worked with farmers in the shadow of Mt Oku, where coffee is the lifeblood of most local families.BUY CAMEROON COFFEE
The time has come - earlier this year we opened our factory in Honesdale, PA! While we continue to expand our farm in West Africa, we've taken the leap by opening our own chocolate factory and coffee roasting company.
No Ordinary Barn
The story of the space we chose begins in the 1940's with the construction of a dairy barn operated by a monk monastery. Later, the Himalayan Institute acquired the 400 acres campus and used the barn for its printing press and later its herbal medicine lab. Today, this renovated space is Moka Origins’ fully functioning coffee roastery and chocolate factory, located in Honesdale, PA, and serving a worldwide community.
We began our renovations with floor refinishing, upgrading electricity and constructing a separate production room. Then we repaired and repainted the walls to feature Moka Origins branding.
We built a space for roasting, a workstation for winnowing, tasting areas for our team of experts to test and compare chocolates and coffees, storage and refrigeration spaces, and a temperature controlled room for tempering and finishing our chocolate. And of course, we have a space set aside for the local community to taste and purchase our products.
In this 10-month renovation process, our equipment also got a serious upgrade. When we first started making our coffee and chocolate, we were using a simple one-pound sample roaster to make coffee, and the idea of being able to make mass quantities of chocolate was still a dream.
But as the renovations of our barn progressed and we were able to begin greater production, we upgraded to a brand new commercial roasting machine. We built a winnower by hand after a year of designing and experimenting. We initially did our refining with a traditional Indian dhal grinder fitted for chocolate production, but we’ve recently upgraded to a 600 pound commercial stone refiner.
It’s incredible how much we’ve learned from starting out on such basic and seemingly arcane equipment. Using small, cost-effective machines along with a meticulous and well-crafted process can produce incredible (and incredibly tasty) results if you work hard and absorb all you can about every method used in making your product. This avenue can lead to a strong foundation for greater commercial ventures. The care we have taken at every level of starting this business sees its fruits in how wonderfully our space has accommodated our needs. There can be innovation in the smallest or even the oldest of spaces! A living structure, with a history of its own, this old barn gave us new life, helping us to create a social venture in which we could give back to our community while making ethically sourced and insanely delicious coffee and chocolate.
All around the globe, people are going crazy over cold brew... and we don't blame them! Cold Brew Coffee is a refreshing new way to prepare your morning (or anytime) pick-me-up!
“Cold brew coffee” is coffee brewed with cold water. That cool water extraction reduces the acidity of the coffee by 60% and also produces a much less bitter flavor.
Here at Moka Origins, we value quality and flavor above all else. That is why we have meticulously labored over our recipe for more than two years to create the finest cold brew coffee on the market.
Now, you can re-create our killer brew right in your home kitchen using nothing but coffee beans, water, and a French press! Follow these simple steps to brew the same high-quality cold brew coffee that you find here at Moka Origins.
Brew At Home // 5 Easy Steps
Step 1 - Coarsely grind one cup of coffee and add it into your French press.
Step 2 - Pour 7 cups of bottled or filtered water over the coffee. Stir and make sure that all of the coffee grounds are saturated.
Step 3 - Cover the mixture using the French press lid. We know you're excited, but don’t plunge the French press until you are ready to strain!
Step 4 - Have some patience. Let your mixture sit for 12-24 hours. Keep the coffee on your kitchen counter, it develops more flavor at room temperature.
Step 5 - Wait no more! Plunge your French press, refrigerate and enjoy over ice or with milk.