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The Z Beans Stories

Now, with a team of 15 students and three professors, we are planning to embark this summer on the first Mercer On Mission Ecuador trip with the goal of creating a sustainable supply chain that allows us to export high quality Ecuadorian chocolate yet with a purpose of immersing ourselves in the Ecuadorian culture!

When Arturo sent me this picture, I realized that the change in mindset that Arturo and I have thought so much about - the mindset that we have instilled in all of the farmers we have the opportunity to work with - has finally come to the forefront. 

Now, the ball is in my court...

In every experience, there is a lesson to be learned. But, from this one, I've witnessed just how much I have to be thankful for. Together, we will forever overcome and achieve. Together, we ride on... 
The trips to Ecuador have opened my eyes to the world around me. But, perhaps none as much as this one. I've read about issues with water supply, rainfall, and water contamination, but I've never experienced it first hand. The most basic necessity of life, something I, admittedly, take for granted, isn't always a given...
Leonardo and I joined forces once again yesterday, January 11, 2020, as we began working on our chocolate processing facility in Zaruma, Ecuador. While Leonardo and I will be working on painting and laying concrete over the next few days, the goal is for this job to never end. The goal is for Z Beans Chocolate to bring stability - For it to be something where Leonardo, and hopefully many other people of Ecuador, can find financial peace...
While we will have standard chocolate with varying amounts of cocoa, our focus will be on chocolate bars infused with fruits from our farmer's plantations. We will purchase our chocolate directly from farmers, like our coffee, and we will purchase fruits from their plantations as well. We will dehydrate the fruits, grind them down, and infuse the fruit within the chocolate...

To our customers: Thank you for your support, guidance, feedback, and trust this year. Without you, Z Beans would not be where it is today.

To the teammates that are with Z Beans today and to those who have moved on over the past year: Thank you for your hard work, trust, and commitment. Without you, Z Beans would not be where it is today. 

To our farmers: Thank you for welcoming us - for allowing Z Beans to be a part of your family. Your commitment, attention to detail, and hard work is forever admirable. Without you, Z Beans would not be where it is today. 

To Marie and Fabricio: Thank you for believing in us - for hosting us in your beautiful city of Pinas this summer. The love both of you have for coffee and entrepreneurship is contagious. Without the both of you, Z Beans would not be where it is today. 

To Arturo: Thank you for all that you do - for taking care of us while in Ecuador this summer. Your passion for Z Beans, optimism, perseverance and trust bring consistent stability. Without you, Presidente, Z Beans would not be where it is today...

As we move into 2020, we plan to take our friendships and partnerships in Ecuador a step further by adding another one of Ecuador's most prestigious agricultural products to our menu: chocolate... 

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