How to Create a Profitable, Organic, and Fair Trade Coffee Company with the Founder of Dean’s Beans

cup of coffee on vibrant background

In episode 103 of the Disruptors for GOOD podcast, we speak with Dean Cycon, founder of Dean’s Beans, on how to create a profitable and ethical business rooted in respect for the earth, the farmer, and the consumer.

Dean Cycon founded in Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company in 1993 after working as an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer. He set out to prove that a for-profit business could create meaningful change through ethical business practices rooted in respect for the earth, the farmer, our co-workers and the consumer.

Dean spent over a decade as an indigenous rights and environmental lawyer before bringing those skills to the coffee industry by co-founding Coffee Kids, the coffee industry’s first non-profit development organization, in 1988.

Dean Cycon Founder of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company
Dean Cycon Founder of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company

Yet after designing and managing the development arm of Coffee Kids for five years, Dean decided that charity wasn’t enough – until businesses changed their fundamental operating principles there would be no meaningful impact on the lives of the farmers. He founded Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee in 1993 with the mission of using specialty coffee as a vehicle for positive social, economic and ecological change at origin.

Dean has been a Woods Hole Research Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Yale Law School Visiting Fellow.

Dean’s book about social justice, culture and coffee, “Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee” was awarded the Gold Medal as Best Travel Essay book of 2008 by the Independent Publishers Association, and has been published in English, Korean and Chinese.

About Dean’s Beans

The mission of Dean’s Beans is to use high quality specialty coffee as a vehicle for progressive change throughout the coffeelands of Asia, Africa and the Americas. This is achieved through:

The company has been directly engaged in community development and activism for over twenty-five years now.

All of the high-quality specialty coffees are certified Organic, Fair Trade, and Kosher, and are roasted fresh to order in small batches at the companies beanery in Orange, MA. The vast use of pesticides in coffee production has serious impact on the ecology of the coffee-growing world and the health of farm communities.

Dean has committed his business career to only purchasing shade grown coffees that support healthy environments for coffee growers and protects critical migratory bird habitat. It is important to the company that the quality of coffee includes respect for the quality of life of our southern partners in the coffee world.

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