During the summer of 2016, I traveled to Zaruma, Ecuador with a group of Mercer Students for Mercer on Mission: Ecuador, a trip where students from different areas of study help the mining communities research new ways to economically support themselves in the El Oro region. This year, we focused specifically on determining whether coffee would be a viable economic alternative to gold mining.
I worked with the Spanish and Business students to conduct interviews with farmers in El Oro to gather information about the significance of coffee farming. While conducting interviews, we worked with Arturo, a Zarumian government employee, who served as our tour guide during the interview process. Through these interviews, we only found 2,000 pounds of coffee and concluded there was not enough in the region for it to be a viable economic alternative to gold mining.
After I returned to the United States, I kept in touch with Arturo through daily phone calls. Arturo suggested I start a coffee business and begin importing Ecuadorian coffee. Through what I learned while on Mercer on Mission: Ecuador, I have been able to work with Arturo and the local coffee farmers to create a way to economically support the families of these impoverished Ecuadorian people, bringing the idea of Z Beans to life.
Read the full story here: The Z Beans Coffee Story - A Narrative
- Shane Buerster