In this episode, the Broads interview Jackie Mendelson, founder and CEO of Arabica Dabra Coffee. She sells coffee with a conscience. Jackie is an amazing woman and is doing incredible work to help widows who have lost their husbands to diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis B support themselves. You will not only hear about her company and its mission, but you’ll also learn a tasty way to brew your coffee.
Make sure to listen to the entire podcast by clicking on the player above this post so you don’t miss any of the details.
Here are highlights from the show:
Recording from high atop the penthouse at the Pacoima Palace
Jackie first started drinking coffee at the age of 6. She had just had her tonsils removed. Popsicles and Jello did not soothe her throat so her mother tried giving her little coffee. It worked. She has been drinking it ever since.
Jackie first became interested in coffee as a business when she went to Africa to help set up AIDS clinics in remote areas as Chief of Operations for a Health Care Organization. She spent time in Uganda and noticed that the people there were kind and loving despite having endured atrocities by former President Idi Amin. Uganda was also ground zero for the AIDS Epidemic.
Jackie saw many farms in Uganda that grew coffee and tea. Even though the coffee they grew was delicious, most places Jackie visited served instant coffee. She wondered why that was and was told every coffee bean in the country had to be sold in order for farmers to survive.
She went to the farms and started talking to the farmers. She learned that one coffee tree only produces 2 lbs of coffee a year. Her experience there spurred Jackie’s passion for coffee.
She traveled to third world countries, including India, where people lived in extreme poverty. It was in India that Jackie decided she wanted to start her own business selling coffee.
She was raised in a family who believed they could do anything they wanted to do.
“If you say it, it will be.”
One night she was dreaming about starting her business and Abracadabra kept coming up in her mind. She realized she was only going to sell Arabica beans. Arabica Dabra.
She then needed to figure out what to do with the coffee. She called people who were part of an organization of coffee growers and retailers and interviewed them. She asked, “If you had a blank slate, what would you do?” Almost all of them told her they would not roast their own coffee beans but would instead find a good roaster to roast the beans for them. Then, they’d sell the coffee retail or on the Internet.
Jackie had labels made, found a roaster who told her where to find the best beans and started her company.
Jackie uses part of her profits to help women in India who have lost their husbands. She found out that widows who lived in India’s poor remote villages are not taken care of after their husbands die. Many of the husbands had died of AIDS. The widows, some of whom were young, also had AIDS as well as their children.
Jackie asked a doctor she knew in India if she could send the widows resources, rather than money, to enable them to earn a living in their village and support themselves. He said yes. She bought male and female pigs and the women started a thriving piggery.
Next, she sent the doctor to buy looms. He brought the widows looms, yarn and other raw materials so they could make products to sell. After a year, Jackie found out the women had received the looms but didn’t know how to use them. She arranged to pay for teachers to show the widows how to weave. The women now make waistcoats and sell them in the village and at the markets.
Jackie learned that couriers who deliver medications for those who were sick had to do it on foot. She bought bicycles so they could ride from village to village. The bikes allow them to service more patients and make sure they are taking their medications correctly.
Jackie has recently been contacted by the the World Hepatitis Alliance to work in partnership for liver health. The organization has been doing studies that show people with Hepatitis, who drink 2 – 3 cups of coffee a day, have approximately 80% less progression of the disease. The chemicals in coffee also help prevent dementia, diabetes and prostate cancer.
In the United States, Jackie’s company helped residents of the Rockaways in New York who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Indigent people in New York are frequently sent to the Rockaways to live in tenements. The hurricane wiped out clinics and medical offices there. They did not have electronic medical records and many doctors decided not to return. Jackie. along with Doctors of the World, started a new clinic with electronic medical records.
Cold Press Coffee and Why it’s Tastier
Coffee is not forgiving. If your coffee is in your refrigerator along with last night’s dinner, it will pick up flavors like garlic and onions. Scalding hot water will shock coffee and cause it to taste bitter. Cold brew is made with cold water and can be brewed anywhere.
Take 1 part fresh ground coffee to 3 parts cold water. Mix them together in a container. Set the container on your countertop or cupboard and let it sit for about 16 hours. It will turn into a concentrate. Take the coffee mixture and filter it by running it through a coffee filter into another container. (you can remove the filter basket from your regular coffee maker to filter the grounds) Pour the filtered mixture over ice cubes for iced coffee.
For hot coffee, mix 1 part of the coffee concentrate and 2 parts hot water. (under 180 degrees) It will make a delicious cup of coffee.
Other Uses for Coffee
Take your used coffee grounds and toss them under your rose bushes to nourish them.
For cellulite, take coffee grounds and mix them with an oil such as olive oil. You can use an essential oil as well. Turn the mixture into a poultice or scrub. Sit in your bathtub and massage the scrub in a circular motion directly on your cellulite. Let it sit on your skin for a little while. After 2 – 3 applications you will see your cellulite go away. You can also do this outside wearing bathing suit, or in the rose bushes. (Just don’t bend over)
Some of Jackie’s coffee comes from India. You don’t often hear about Indian coffee because the Indian Monsooned Malabar bean is what creates the crema for the best expresso coffees in the world. It’s very exotic and has a robust, deep, and smooth flavor. Jackie also sells Sumatran coffee beans. She chose the country of Sumatra not only because of their poverty but also because it has matriarchal inheritance. Women pass their farms to their daughters.
Her other beans come from Tanzania, Ethiopia (where coffee was discovered), Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Brazil. (her favorite decaf) For mild coffee try Guatemalan or Ethiopian.
It’s best to purchase whole bean coffee as opposed to ground. Grind the beans right before you brew. Don’t drink fresh roasted coffee until 3 days after roasting because it de-gasses.
Her plans for the future are to work closely with the hepatitis organization because the disease is a huge killer and to create a sub brand called Bean Sober to involve young people coming out of drug treatment.
Visit Jackie’s website at
www.tastymagic.com; and purchase coffee with a conscience.
[bctt tweet=”Arabica Dabra coffee with a conscience. #podcast with CEO Jackie Mendelson.”]
Ask your favorite market to order Arabica Dabra coffee.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee. Please leave a comment below.