From an unemployed pilot to an entrepreneur with Invito Coffee, Vancouver’s first zero-waste coffee company. Please keep your seat-belts fastened, and your carry-on items stowed for a little while longer as we learn how Yaroslav and Heather bring coffee from their farm in Costa Rica to your cup in Canada—interested in trying some? Stick around- I have a coupon for you!
On a recent trip to Vancouver, I decided to visit my colleague Yaroslav and his wife, Heather. I thought he could use some cheering up, plus I wanted to see what he’s been doing since the pandemic started.
However, the second I got there, I could tell that he didn’t need cheering up. On the contrary, he was annoyingly upbeat and happy! It irritated me that he was in such a good mood. Plus, it was too early for that!
Tired and cranky, I was about to turn around and leave when he looked at me, smiled, and said knowing, “You haven’t had your morning coffee, have you?”
My Coffee Angel
I reached for the cup of coffee he was offering, humiliated that my mood was so obvious. If you’re a fellow coffee lover, you know the moment! You start your day without your morning coffee. As a result, nothing is quite right. Then, like an angel from the gods, someone hands you the most delicious cup of coffee. Yaroslav, my angel!
After a few sips, I looked at him and in wonder. In short, I needed to know how to brew such a fantastic cup!
Yaroslav – It’s a long process, and it involves my farm in Costa Rica. Do you want to visit?
Well, I picked up my bag and headed for the door! I love Costa Rica, and I could use some sunshine. I didn’t realize he wanted to show me a video! Watch it with us. Beneficio Monteverde Tour.
Your farm, Beneficio Monteverde, looks incredible! Tell me more.
Yaroslav-Beneficio Monteverde has been in our family for five years. The farm was in a deteriorated condition when the opportunity was presented, but we decided to give it a shot! It’s taken us four years and a lot of capital investment to bring it up to standard. The plantation is close to 80 years old and has quite a long history. The farm is really unique with an authentic coffee mill and two large rivers that run through the property. You’ll find it interesting to know that these rivers wash the coffee beans. We have made some technological improvements, but the majority of the farm is vintage.
By the way, we offer coffee tours on our farm, so once the pandemic is over, we invite everyone to come to visit!
Once in a while, I see Fair-trade written on coffee, and I wonder what it really means. What does Fair-trade mean to your family?
Yaroslav– First of all, Fair-trade is a concept that has gone through several evolutions, but what it means to us is- providing a positive benefit to anyone that comes in contact with our brand. For example, by paying our workers a livable wage, they can support their families. Their children can go to school and not pick coffee in the fields with them. As a result, we have a healthy and reliable workforce that takes pride in their work, which helps us produce high-quality coffee.
Also, fair-trade means traceability. For consumers, that means knowing where your coffee grows and how it gets to your cup. The typical coffee journey starts at the farm, then goes to an exporter, then a broker, sometimes another wholesaler, then to a roaster, then to a store and finally to your home.
Slow down, Yaroslav! That’s a lot of hands in my coffee! There has to be a better way!
Yaroslav– Of course, Lesa, there is! With Invito, we take the coffee from the farm and put it in your cup. No one in the middle! We farm it, import it, and roast it fresh to order. Very few coffee companies can offer this level of transparency.
Zero-waste is important to you and your family, from sustainable farming practices to 100% compostable packaging and shipping materials. Is this rare in the coffee industry?
Yaroslav– Over the past several decades, coffee has gone through significant transformations in quality, processing, and standards. The previous generation grew up drinking bitter coffee that needed milk and sugar to make it palatable. When the 3rd wave of coffee came about, a movement led by both consumers and manufacturers, that all changed.
People finely began to focus on coffee quality, education, and that coffee can be sweet, delicious, and enjoyed black. Plastic coffee bags helped preserve the quality of the coffee. Therefore, those petroleum-based, single-use bags became the norm as they were sturdy and cheap. Nobody paid attention to how much single-use plastic ended up in the landfills and oceans; everyone was chasing a better cup of coffee. We didn’t want to be like the others! Costa Rica produces 99% of its electrical consumption from renewable resources. Ultimately, the country’s goal is to become carbon neutral by 2021. We wanted to launch our company in Canada with the same philosophy. And that’s why we launched Vancouver’s first zero-waste coffee company.
What other environmental initiatives are you involved with?
Yaroslav– We are involved in several tree planting initiatives. Even NoIssue, where we get our compostable labels, plants a tree for us every time we place an order.
What’s next for Invito?
Yaroslav– Our mission is clear. Our goal is to create a closed-loop system where all the coffee we produce at our plantation is used in our operation here in Canada.
As a consumer, when you choose to buy Invito Coffee, you are supporting a healthy and sustainable ecosystem. The profits go back to Costa Rica, where it enriches our workers’ lives. In turn, they produce delicious coffee that is then imported to Canada for you to enjoy, and this creates a win-win situation for everyone involved, including the planet!
Even though we launched during the pandemic, we have managed to grow. I attribute that to our story, our coffee quality, and our sustainable ethos. You can now find Invito’s zero-waste coffee in nine retail locations and five online stores. In addition, we are busy with Farmers’ Markets every weekend and recently launched our mobile coffee cart to cater to weddings, parties, and private events. People can even buy it by clicking the links from this post.
Thanks for taking this journey with me!
What you’re family has built is very impressive, Yaroslav. I know a lot of people who are going to love the mission and values behind your coffee. I can’t wait to share this with them. In the meantime, can I have another cup?
This is your pilot speaking,
It looks like we’ve got clear skies ahead. So, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cup of Invito’s zero-waste coffee. It truly is a coffee with a conscience!
First of all, there is Invito’s Medium Roast, single-origin, specialty coffee represents the beauty of Costa Rica. As a result, you’ll find amazing floral aromatics and carefully balanced citrus notes you come to expect from a Costa Rican coffee.
Secondly, Invito’s Espresso Roast, single-origin, specialty coffee is full-bodied and bright. It gives you a smooth and creamy cup that chocolate lovers will enjoy.
Also, there is Invito’s Swiss Water Decaf, single-origin, specialty coffee is full-bodied and complex. Resulting in a smooth and creamy cup that chocolate lovers will enjoy.
Can’t decide? The Sampler Bundle of our freshly grown zero-waste coffee from Costa Rica, roasted to order in Vancouver, BC is a great way to try all three. Enjoy 170g of our Medium Roast and 170g of our Espresso Roast, all in 100% compostable coffee bags.
Served With Ice reader bonus!
As promised, Served With Ice readers can receive a 20% discount using the code ServedWithIce on your next purchase of Invito Coffee. That’s what I call zero-waste coffee!