Based out of Vancouver, Wize Monkey is an innovative start-up that’s revolutionizing the coffee industry by harvesting the leaf of the coffee plant for brewing tea.
When Wize Monkey co-founders Arnaud Petitvallet and Max Rivest attended school for their Masters of International Business in France, one of their first class projects involved building a global business. This led them on the search for interesting ideas and solutions, eventually coming across a study that touted the health benefits of Coffee Leaf Tea. When they discovered that the typical coffee farm only has a 3-month long harvest season, meaning the rest of the year many workers are out of a job, the duo decided to travel to Nicaragua at the end of their school year with the vision of creating a consistent supply chain with top quality harvests.
One of the stories shared with Max and Arnaud on their trip was by a coffee worker by the name of Gerald David. He told them the story of how he lost the bottom half of his right leg in a coffee milling machine. Due to his unfortunate disability, he experienced difficulty finding regular work. This was challenging as he had to feed his young son. After hearing Gerald’s story, the founders were inspired to solve the pressing issue of hunger and revolutionize the industry to make a more positive impact. They believe that they can alleviate socioeconomic issues if the leaf is harvested and workers are provided with more consistent work opportunities. At the same time, the product has potential to be marketed as a delicious and healthy tea.
After three months of visiting farms, connecting with families, harvesting leaves and enduring mosquito bites, Arnaud and Max’s efforts did not go to waste as they came back with the latest resurrection of Coffee Leaf Tea, and branded themselves as Wize Monkey.
Wize Monkey has since established itself as the world’s first Coffee Leaf Tea Company. Through their production, research, and innovation within the coffee industry, they are dedicated to the betterment of the global coffee industry to create year-round jobs and mitigate systemic challenges within the coffee industry. Their mission is to break the poverty cycle in coffee communities by harvesting a tasty, healthy and sustainable product.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Max at the recent Wize Monkey Summer Solstice Sangria Party event at Whole Foods. His dedication for his business was evident from the conversation we had. According to Max, people did not take the company seriously until they won awards, one of which was “Best New Product” in the Small Business BC Awards. Influencers and bloggers started taking note and trying it, and were won over by the complexity of flavor, which they deemed to be smooth and pleasant.
Max also emphasized his passion for global entrepreneurship, community and health. Wize Monkey’s impact goal is to create 1,000 year-round jobs in coffee farms and eliminate seasonal hunger in coffee communities and improve rural education and student retention rates.
At the Whole Foods event, I tried two of the Wize Monkey flavours: the Original with Lemon and the Mango Party were both refreshing, and perfect as an iced tea beverage for summer.
Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Teas are currently available in five flavours (Original, Jasmine, Mango Party, Earl Grey and Minty Marvel) and can now be found in more than 130 grocery stores and specialty retailers across Canada, including select locations of Whole Foods, Choices Market, and Meinhardt.
For more information on this innovative new tea, visit: wizemonkey.com.