Turning to coffee to power through a few extra hours of work is nothing new. But when such an effort made Max Rivest extremely ill, he was inspired to find a new option.
Rivest, age 26, and his partner Arnaud Petitvallet, 24, met at KEDGE Business School in France in early 2013. Their love of coffee drew them together and a school project kickstarted the idea of selling tea made from arabica leaves. Coffee leaf tea is higher in antioxidants than either green tea or coffee, but with far less caffeine.
This drink has been popular in Ethiopia and Sumatra but it is not well known in North America. Thus, Wize Monkey was born, a company specializing in coffee leaf tea and promoting the corporate values of healthfulness, transparency and clear communication.
Coffee leaf tea as a product could greatly benefit small coffee growers in places like Nicaragua. Currently, these farmers are dependent on maximizing the three months per year that coffee beans actually grow. By making coffee leaves a valuable commodity, it could offer year-round secondary employment for some of these farmers.
Wize Monkey currently sells one version, Armando’s Original Blend, named for a Nicaraguan coffee grower Armando Iglesias with whom the Wize Monkey team has collaborated. This spring two more flavors will be introduced: Mango Party and Minty Marvel. The tea is described as sweet and full bodied with no bitterness.
Wize Monkey was invited to become part of a program of the University of B.C. Sauder School of Business called the Coast Capital Savings Innovation Hub. This program will provide them with the chance to share new office space with other start ups and the staff support of a summer intern. They hope in the future to develop brews from the coffee cherry or cascara.
Click here to view a video introduction the Wize Monkey team recorded for Kickstarter.