Can a cup of coffee be delicious and change lives at the same time? The answer to that is you bet it can! Mark Johnson, the founder of Intent Coffee Roasting, made it possible for coffee to change the lives of coffee farmers.
So, how did Mark manage to put meaning behind a cup of coffee? For that, we need to go back to when he was just a college student at George Fox University working as a barista. It was in this environment that he quickly started to develop a passion for coffee and wanted to learn more about how a roast could affect the taste of beans.
After college, he moved back to Oregon and took a part-time position at Starbucks to support his family. Starbucks is known for supporting its employees to help them develop their skills, knowledge, and personal growth. Mark took complete advantage of this support and joined the Black Apron program. Throughout the program, he developed the knowledge he needed to succeed in the bean-roasting industry and established a network that spans the seven seas.
Knowing about coffee’s originations, Mark was interested in seeing it first-hand through a relief and development trip to Zimbabwe. Once he arrived, he was shocked by the living conditions of the local people. It was then that he realized how little money goes back to the farmers when the beans they harvested turn into that cup of coffee that is being sold across the continent for $3.50. Heading back to the U.S., Mark couldn’t brush off what he witnessed and kept telling himself, “if they are delivering great quality beans to us, more money should be going into their economy.”
While Mark enjoyed his time at Starbucks, he discovered his purpose as roasters discover their flag roast. His purpose, he discovered, was making sure each cup of coffee would better the life of someone. After this realization, Mark started to look for nonprofit positions that would let him create this better world. Unfortunately, no positions near him seemed to be the right fit, making him feel as though he had just found grounds in his pot of coffee...
After spending some time one day with his father, an avid coffee roaster, Mark realized that the solution had always been in front of him and he could now combine his passion for coffee with his mission to better coffee farmers lives. He decided to start Intent Coffee in 2012, starting small by home roasting.
As his quality of coffee began to be recognized such as the “Nicaragua,” Mark brought in his business partner Brad, who is just as passionate about coffee. Finally, a year and a half ago, the opportunity to open up a Café shop was laid in front of the two of them. Now at their shop, Brad serves as the GM, where he brews hospitality and beans, providing customers with coffee and information as well. Mark continues his role as the creator of the unique roasts Intent Coffee has, supplying the Café with diverse and distinct blends.
Now, how exactly does Intent Coffee make sure each cup of coffee changes lives?
30% of the profits go towards purchasing water filters for community development projects in coffee growing regions that will last a lifetime for families. So far, Mark and his team have been able to provide 60 families with water filters since they started in 2012.
Advice from Mark Johnson
1. Stronger and better together
2. Strive for high-level hospitality
3. Community over competition
Use GRIT2019 for FREE shipping on Intent Coffee