We are big fans of Hugh Jackman, and we just found another reason to love him after we learned more about his company, Laughing Man Coffee & Tea, a sustainably sourced coffee and tea company with a simple and important motto: "ALL BE HAPPY." With Hugh Jackman as one of the founders (along with David Steingard and Barry Steingard), we were excited to share their vision, sourcing of their coffees and teas and what it means to have a good cup of coffee from Jackman himself. Be sure to look out for the promo code at the end of the interview, so that you can try this amazing coffee for yourself.
Momtrends: How did the idea of Laughing Man Coffee & Tea come about?
Hugh Jackman:While on a trip to Ethiopia as an ambassador for World Vision, I met Dukale, a small-time coffee grower, and I was deeply impressed by Dukale’s strength and his dignity. Despite overwhelming obstacles, Dukale supported his family and produced high-quality organic coffee. I also sensed a kinship with Dukale. Like me, he was a worker and a father who wanted to thrive and provide for his family. Only one thing had been holding Dukale back: his circumstances. He needed tree cover to grow his coffee beans, but he also needed to harvest his trees for fuel. He was able to produce the highest quality coffee, but he had no access to markets that would offer him a fair price. In our conversations, Dukale made it clear that he did not want to subsist on the generosity of others. He wanted what we all want: to realize the fruits of our own labor. Having shifted away from relief to development as a way of preventing emergencies, World Vision had recently partnered with Dukale to construct a methane gas system that converted cow manure into lamplight and cooking flame. This simple innovation spared his family prolonged exposure to smoke, enabled his children to study for school after dark, and allowed Dukale to spend more time developing his farm so he could grow more coffee. The methane burner also meant Dukale no longer had to cut down the trees that provided necessary shade for his coffee plants and oxygen for the ozone. I understood that small changes could have an enormous impact.
When I first arrived home from my trip to Ethiopia, I spoke at the UN as a World Vision ambassador about the need to work with farmers like Dukale so they could begin to raise their own standard of living by realizing a Fair Trade price for his coffee. Like millions of other men and women in countries all over the world, Dukale was isolated with limited access to the markets and opportunities of the developed world. In simple terms, he could not sell his coffee for a fair price. I immediately discovered that the coffee business was not set up to benefit the small farmer. Cafes, patrons and distributors were not oriented toward the concept of Fair Trade. Dukale needed a coworker, so I needed to start a business that could partner with farmers like Dukale in order to gain access to markets through distribution and promotion. The business Dukale inspired, Laughing Man Worldwide, reinvests 100% of its profits in its partnerships with farmers. By practicing co-branding, Laughing Man Worldwide approaches farmers as equals in pursuit of a shared dream.
Momtrends: In your opinion, what makes a good cup of coffee?
Hugh Jackman: First of all, a good cup of coffee tastes good. It tastes fresh and rich and free of artificial flavors, as distinctive for what you can detect as what you will not find: chemicals, fertilizers and the other byproducts of industrial processing. Just as important as the coffee, though, is the story. The perfect cup of coffee not only has a story, but a true story of the farmers who planted the seeds with their own hands and the lives of the families transformed by your purchase.
Momtrends: How do you find where your coffee/tea is sourced from?
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Hugh Jackman: When you buy a cup of Laughing Man coffee, you are buying coffee grown by people we know. We partner with small growers who will benefit from access to Fair Trade markets, and who are eager to use organic methods on order to grow the healthiest, best tasting coffee the world can offer. We seek out small farmers who want to transform their lives, the lives of their families, and the future of their communities and of the world.
Momtrends: Can you tell us what it means to buy fair trade coffee?
Hugh Jackman: When you buy Fair Trade coffee you make the choice not to compromise. You are making the holistic choice. First, you want the highest quality coffee, and that means you want the best tasting coffee, of course. It means that you want to know that the coffee is healthy and good for you. To know if the coffee is healthy, you have to trust that a company like Laughing Man can verify where the coffee was grown and how it was grown. You want to know about the soil, the fertilizers, the method of processing and packaging. From the moment the seed is planted in the ground to the moment the coffee is ground and served, you want to know that the coffee you put in your body is treated with care and nurtured according to organic principals. It is the job of a company like Laughing Man, which believes in the importance of Fair Trade, to protect the organic integrity of the coffee. Just as important, however, as your own health, is the health of the farmers growing your coffee and the baristas serving your coffee. Fair Trade means that the needs of everyone in the economic chain (from the grower to the merchant and the coffee drinker) are treated with respect. The grower and merchant are fairly compensated and the consumer buys a superior product that they know is safe and delicious.
Momtrends: What do you think parents will appreciate about the coffees/teas that you offer?
Hugh Jackman: When I first met Dukale and his family in Ethoipia, I was deeply impressed by their work ethic and by Dukale’s determination to make a better life for his family. Before World Vision assisted Dukale in the creation of a methane burner for a stove, his wife spent hours every day collecting firewood, his children had no lights in their home after dark, and his family was exposed every day to smoke from the open fire. After the simple innovation of the methane stove, Dukale’s wife could spend more time farming and raising the children; his children no longer had to inhale smoke and fumes all day, and his school age children could now study at night by the light of the flame. Dukale and his wife hope that their children will finish school and strive to make a better life for themselves, their own families, and the communities of the future. The smallest innovations and improvements can transform the lives of farmers and their families in Ethiopia and other communities around the world. By purchasing coffee from Laughing Man—by making the Fair Trade choice—parents chose to support families all over the world that want better lives for their children.
Want to try Laughing Man coffee for yourself? We have an exculsive 20% discount when you purchase their products on online - https://secure.laughingmancheckout.com/
Simply use the code: MOMTRENDS at checkout.
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