Dear Underground Coffee Friends and Customers
We’ve got good news.
Underground Coffee has always been about transformation: not just the art of transforming the coffee beans in our roasting process, but the legal and spiritual transformation of lives rising out of the American underground shadows of the criminal justice system.
But now Underground Coffee itself is transforming. As a business/mission, we are rising out of the underground.
Out of the basement beneath Tierra Nueva, where we’ve roasted and filled your orders since 2007.
Just before the New Year, Underground Coffee began roasting and employment operations at our new facility: with local partners Fidalgo Coffee Roasters, here in Skagit Valley, Washington.
For all of you who have enjoyed Underground Coffee at some point over the past 8 years, we want to give you a quick glimpse of what this exciting new growth means:
· Growth: The upstart artisan roasting enterprise we started at TN can now grow beyond what a handful of jail chaplains could pull off. This means Underground can employ and invest in more men and women emerging out of our jail, prison, and recovery ministries.
· Job Training: Underground employees out of Tierra Nueva’s and New Earth Recovery’s jail chaplaincy and recovery homes are getting more professional work experience at Fidalgo Coffee, a larger and thriving roasting business with roasting, warehousing, shipping components to learn
· How This Started: Fidalgo Coffee president David Evans came to us over a year ago with a desire to somehow use his thriving coffee roasting company for God’s kingdom. For a larger purpose, beyond just roasting coffee. We prayed. We first developed an internship. Tony, then Neaners, were the first felony-record employees on the floor at Fidalgo Coffee, transforming the work environment.
· Liberating Chaplains: Soon it was clear that we pastoral workers at Tierra Nueva wanted to be freed up from trying to manage a small business, focusing our energies more towards accompanying folks out of the underground. Coffee roasting, training, employment, managing orders, expanding northwest markets—that’s what Fidalgo Coffee can do, better than we ever could.
· Honduras: Under Fidalgo Coffee’s larger financial and importing wings, Underground Coffee can guarantee the direct-trade purchase of Tierra Nueva Honduras coffee farmers’ harvest each year. We just got back from visiting the TN farmers in Honduras during harvest last month. With bigger business partners like David Evans, we can invest more long-term in transformational mission and agriculture at our roots in Honduras—among the poorest of the poor in Minas de Oro and the surrounding farmers in Altamira.
· Impact: Fidalgo Coffee can help Underground Coffee double its roasting—and hopefully employment—by creating an organic line that can enter Seattle natural grocers’ shelves. This will help expand Underground Coffee’smission to be a delicious platform to raise awareness about America’s legal “underclass” struggling to re-entry society after leaving the stigma of incarceration and addiction in our land.
· Business Transformation: Fidalgo Coffee as a business is transforming, seeking now to model for other employers how to partner with ministries like Tierra Nueva and be vehicles for community transformation.
· Newest Employee: Lastly, we have good news in introducing you to Underground Coffee’s newest—and first female—employee: Kelly Boyle (seen in the photo). You’ll learn more of her story in our next update . . .
· Updates: We will now have monthly updates via email, Facebook, and on our website
So stay tuned for more about Kelly, our recent origin trip to Honduras, and more!
Kelly preparing bags for shipment David quality checks his crop of raw beans
David, Lester, and Nathan in Honduras
The Tierra Nueva crew