Carmel Farmers Market Spotlight
“Help, Healing and Hope, One Cup at a Time.”
Writer / Janelle Morrison
Celebrating their decade at the Carmel Farmer’s Market is Mission Coffee, LLC. principal Peter Beering explains that Mission Coffee is a closely held company that imports and resells coffee grown at the Boquete Medical Mission in Northwest Panama. Peter originally set the company up to support the work of his close friends Alan and Debbie Handt, who are retired physicians and residents of Zionsville. Alan was the former Chief Medical Officer at St. Vincent Hospital. Peter went to Panama to see what Alan and Debbie were doing on this coffee farm. He came back and set up the supply chain, licensing, and marketing and began looking for places to sell Mission Coffee. He started with online sales and then began selling bulk coffee at the Carmel Farmer’s Market. A few years later, he began brewing coffee at the market.
“We’ve been doing single-source coffee since long before it was fashionable and trendy,” Peter explained. “Our model is deliberately different in that we front-load the contribution to the mission by buying the coffee at retail from the farm. We spend a lot of time recovering most of our costs and then we help the mission throughout the year by raising additional proceeds. We send medical diagnostic equipment, medicine and money down there so they can continue to work and be healthy. The coffee they produce is often referred to as ‘estate coffee’ because it’s the best of the best coffee. Because of the high quality, we don’t have to work hard to sell it.
What makes the story about Mission Coffee stand out from other farms and resellers of coffee is the path from the coffee’s origin to the end-user’s cup. “What puts it way over the top is the back story,” Peter said. “We literally know every single human being who touches the coffee, with the exception of the baggage handlers with United Airlines who fly it up here as air freight.”
For more information about Mission Coffee or to purchase coffee, visit their website at missioncoffee.org/.