Café Rebelde is run by wife and husband team Carissa and Mauriel Vega. “We wanted to start a family business,” explains Carissa, “with a focus on sustainability. This felt very connected to us since we are both from coffee farming places and we like to support small farms.”
Mauriel’s family is from Nicaragua and Carissa’s is from Puerto Rico. Both families are big coffee drinkers. In addition to coffee, the Vega family is interested in social justice and Café Rebelde allows them to combine both interests.
Currently Café Rebelde has two types of Fair Trade single origin coffees – Fenix Roast, a dark roast coffee from San Juan del Rio Coco and Jalapa, Nicaragua and Tierra Nuestra, a water process decaf from Tapachula in Chiapas, Mexico.
Each type of coffee is associated with a social justice organization that benefits from its sales. Fenix Roast, a high-altitude shade-grown coffee benefits Grupo Fenix of Totogalpa, Nicaragua which is an environment-focused organization. Some of their projects include a women-run solar cooperative and a bicycle program for youth.
Tierra Nuestra is decaffeinated using only clear pure water from the highest mountain in Mexico. The green coffee beans are immersed in water to extract the caffeine and maintain the coffee’s flavor profile. Sale of these beans benefits The Border Farmworker Center in El Paso, Texas which provides English classes, art and recreation programs for youth and adults and houses a cafeteria and medical center.
A third coffee, from South America, will be available in the fall. Proceeds from this coffee will benefit the Boricua Diaspora Fund which supports food justice and sustainable development in Puerto Rico, movements that are growing as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
A fourth, Viva Berta, from Casa Lempira, Honduras will be available this spring. Named after Berta Caceres, a Honduran indigenous environmental activist. Caceres co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) to fight illegal logging and the building of dams that hurt her community’s access to food, water and medicine. Caceres was killed in 2016. Funds from the sale of Viva Berta will benefit COPINH.
Café Rebelde also plans to add tea in the future via working with a women-owned co-op growing medicinal herbs.
Café Rebelde coffees are available through the Common Ground High School Farm Share program or online at caferebelde.net. They offer free delivery in the New Haven area. Bags are sold whole bean and Café Rebelde will be offering coffee grinding as an add-on service in the near future.
For brewing tips and more, follow Café Rebelde on Facebook (facebook.com/coffeerebelde) and Instagram (instagram.com/raicesrebeldes).