wize monkey is a coffee leaf tea which empowers communities by creating year round income for nicaraguan farming families. I’m a coffee fiend but having moved to england I’ve felt the pressure to step up my tea game so wize monkey’s coffee leaf tea has been a perfect bridge between the two. besides original there are other fun flavours like mango party and minty marvel which I like to have during my afternoon slump as a pick me up. I chatted with max rivest one the co-founders of wize monkey about the coffee leaf industry, the health benefits of coffee leaf tea, and how they support the local community.
how would you describe your brand?
wize monkey is a fun, young, and passionate brand that lives to innovate and be the portal between producers and consumers.
where does the name wize monkey come from?
a wize monkey is one who makes positive decisions for the community and solves problems with clever solutions. a wize monkey works in harmony with nature and doesn’t impose itself. also, there are hundreds of monkeys near the farm, you can see them in our videos!
how did you first discover coffee leaves and their potential to be made into tea?
when arnaud and I started working on a thesis project in france, we came across a study that proved the health benefits of coffee leaf tea and how it has a very long yet under-documented history. we looked into the coffee industry and realised right away that it was a highly volatile and seasonal industry, and that by processing the excess leaves, we could not only make a delicious and healthy tea, but revolutionise the industry for the betterment of coffee communities.
what are some of the nutritional benefits of coffee leaf tea?
coffee leaf tea has more antioxidants than green tea thanks to its high amounts of chlorogenic acid (5cqa) and a very rare polyphenol called mangiferin. mangiferin has been proven to have anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective qualities as well as lower blood cholesterol and lipid levels. mangiferin has also been used for hundreds of years in indian homeopathic medicine. aside from the antioxidants, it has a subtle caffeine that is less than green tea but still provides a nice and clean clarity without any crash or jitters. it also helps to stem hunger (from an article in the 1850s as well as our customer feedback and personal experience).
how does wize monkey support and give back to nicaraguan farmers & community?
by harvesting leaves in the off-season, we’re employing otherwise seasonal workers that must migrate with their families twice a year to follow work. for example, last summer’s harvest employed 40 women, mostly mothers, who would either not be working or would have uprooted their family to find a job elsewhere in the country, eventually to return 9 months later for the next coffee harvest. not only does the migration disrupt their lives, it also means that kids get pulled out of school. if we can employ moms and parents to work and help families to avoid migration, the communities can develop holistically and families can start thinking more long-term. the trickle down impact, which is probably the most important, is in seasonal hunger. the average farming family will go through 5 months of hunger per year during the off-season because there isn’t any work, but now with steady employment, these families and workers can make ends meet throughout the entire year.
what makes wize monkey stand out from other sustainable tea brands?
aside from the fact that we’re creating tea from coffee leaves, we stand out with our vertical integration (farm owner is part-owner of wize monkey), transparency, our connection to our audience, and our willingness to do something different, risky, and fun! we’re young people who want to have fun with this and always stay interesting and dynamic. we’re currently creating collaborations with music producers, artists, and athletes around the world to create art with our brand while we pass the message of coffee communities.
what’s in store next for wize monkey – is there anything new you’re working on or excited about?
we’re currently in the process of creating more innovative blends and always experimenting with new processing techniques to create new variations of coffee leaf tea. our next harvest will be early summer and we’re super excited to head back down to nicaragua and get to work.
can you share one of your favourite eco tips or advice for greener living?
favourite eco tip? I’d say considering vegetarianism or veganism because of how wasteful the livestock industry is, especially in north america. beyond that, you can always resteep and eventually compost your coffee leaf tea to get the most out of your product.