Inside: Wize Monkey coffee leaf tea, the delicious award winning beverage with incredible health and socio-economic benefits.

 

We love a good cup of coffee, we really do!

But, did you know that the coffee bean harvest is only 3-months long and most coffee farmers face many challenges and are unemployed for the rest of the year? Not to mention that a lot is wasted during the traditional coffee production process. While the fair-trade movement is headed in the right direction, it doesn’t address an industry-wide problem.

Hello, coffee leaf tea!

We were blown away by the creativity and perseverance of 2 amazing guys that are set to change the industry and make a big social impact by creating over 1,000 year-round jobs in coffee farms in Nicaragua. So, we had to sit down with them and learn more about their inspirational business model and how their Wize Monkey story got started, the social impact they’re creating and benefits of this incredible beverage. And, since it’s patio season, you might want to whip up their delicious VIP Mango Party cocktail recipe (vodka optional). Scroll down to read more about how a story of wine that started in Bordeaux, France turned to coffee, turned to coffee leaf tea and ended up in Nicaragua with the founding of this amazing company!

All Naughty Nutrition readers also get 20% OFF any order on WizeMonkey.com. Simply use promo code NN20 for 20% OFF.

 

“Think outside the bean.”

 

1) We were blown away by the idea of coffee leaf tea, and so happy that you guys are bringing us this amazing product. We’re thrilled to be featuring Wize Monkey (voted Best New Product at the World Tea Awards 2015 woot woot) as this month’s feature. Could you tell us a little bit about how you got the idea to make tea from coffee leafs? What inspired your company?

Arnaud and I (Max) were studying for our Master’s in Bordeaux, France and we came across an article about the health benefits and long history of Coffee Leaf Tea. We saw that it has been around a very long time, yet the only traditional method that it has been consumed (and still is today) is simply sun-drying the leaf and steeping it. The reports all said that it was quite bitter, so we were unsure as to what it would taste like.

We then started learning about the seasonality of the coffee industry and how farmers only harvest the bean for three months a year, and how the industry as a whole is in dire straights. They can barely survive, and even though fair trade movements have done some good, it isn’t a cure-all solution to a major challenge in coffee. Since Arnaud was studying a wine major (Bordeaux’s specialty), and I have always been in health and sports fields, we decided it would be worth trying to reinvent the way Coffee Leaf Tea is made, by actually crafting it with proper tea methods and techniques to reveal its true flavour, instead of just sun-drying it. If we were to succeed at creating a tasty and healthy drink, then we can help solve the systemic challenges in the coffee industry, and help lift the socioeconomic burdens on the families that rely on coffee exports.

2) Our name says it all, at Naughty Nutrition we don’t like to place restrictions on eating, we rather focus on finding the healthiest version of the foods we love and creating balance in our lifestyles. And, that is why we enjoy desserts, chocolate and the occasional glass of wine without the guilt. At Wize Monkey, what would you say your motto is?

In regards to our global mission, it is to create world-class beverage experiences while stabilizing the coffee industry for long-term socio-economic growth. In terms of our personal and office culture, we definitely indulge strategically! For example, we always meet with mixologists, chefs, bakers, and generally curious culinary minds to explore what we can do with the coffee leaf, whether it’s cocktails or cupcakes. We’ve recently launched a kombucha collaboration with Bucha Brew as well, it’s so good (especially with a bit of 7 yr dark rum and mint garnish).

 

3) Your company is not only about creating and selling a product, you also have a big social impact on the jobs and lives of hundreds of people. Can you tell us a little bit more about the coffee industry and how Wize Monkey is creating a big impact in the community?

We’ve been training coffee farmers how to create various styles of Coffee Leaf Tea with the off-season prunings that they would typically discard and throw away.

The coffee bean harvest is only 3-months long, and 90% of them are unemployed during the 9-month off-season. We’ve employed over 100 people that wouldn’t have off-season work, and this also helps keep their kids in school since the family doesn’t need to migrate to the city and back again for the next bean season. It’s a very holistic solution to a big complex challenge that has many direct and indirect effects on the lives of coffee farmers and even those in the cities that rely on coffee exports.

If we can raise the GDP of a coffee-producing country by using the typically wasted leaf, especially employing the most impoverished segment of the population, then we’re on our way to making long-lasting positive impact for these communities, all while exploring new teas and writing coffee and tea industry history.

4) How and where do you source your coffee leafs?

Our third founder is named Enrique and he’s a third-generation coffee farmer in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. His farm have 1,000 acres of coffee and 1,000 acres of protected rainforest. It’s also Rainforest Alliance® Certified and UTZ® Certified for ethics and sustainable farm practices.

We met him through a mutual friend in the area and we were blown away by the quality of his coffee farm and how the workers are very well treated. They have apartments for accommodation and spring water fountains on-site, as well as playgrounds and social areas. It is leaps and bounds better than any other farm we’ve ever seen, even better than the most highly regarded ones in the country.

After sharing our discovery with him, he understood the overall implications of Coffee Leaf Tea, how it would be a new avenue to innovate and explore, and help keep his workers employed during the off-season. One of the soft data points that you can really tell that people like being there is the fact that most staff have been there 5+ years, whereas the other farms we visited were mostly transient workers going farm to farm until they find one where they’re treated properly. You can see the farm for yourself in our short documentary series.

 

5) Of course as Nutritionists, we’re very curious about the health benefits of coffee leafs. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? What about the caffeine content?

Coffee Leaf Tea is rich in mangiferin and chlorogenic acids. Mangiferin, typically found in mangoes (hence the name) is a strong anti-inflammatory and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries in India, eastern Asia, and Central America to help treat inflammation, among other ailments. The caffeine content is similar to green tea, about 20mg per 8oz/250mL. (Black tea is 60mg, coffee is 120mg+)

6) How do you prepare the tea? Would you be able to share a fun cocktail recipe with us?

What makes Coffee Leaf Tea unique is the fact that you can leave the steeping on autopilot and let it infuse for hours if you’d like because it never gets bitter. You can also get a second and sometimes a third steep out of it, too!

My personal favourite summer cocktail recipe is the VIP Mango Party, which is our Mango Party CLT and peach vodka, so fresh! You might want to pair that up with this perfect BELT Gluten Free Pasta Salad for your next BBQ or picnic.

Super easy to make:

*Don’t forget to use code NN20 for 20% OFF.

7) Where can our readers find and buy your coffee leaf tea?

We’re sold on the WizeMonkey.com website, at Whole Foods, Goodness Me, Healthy Planet, Ambrosia, Big Carrot, among 700 stores across North America. You can geo-locate the closest location here, and we’re also on Amazon Prime!

 

So, if you’ve never had coffee leaf tea before, this is one beverage you must try! Wize Monkey’s delicious award winning coffee leaf tea contains a subtle amount of caffeine, is high in nutritional value and rare antioxidants, and it’s good for the planet.

All Naughty Nutrition readers also get 20% OFF any order on WizeMonkey.com. Simply use promo code NN20 for 20% OFF.

Download Your Ultimate Healthy Holiday Cookbook!

You're all set! Check your email for the deets.

Pin It on Pinterest