Around the World in Eighty Cups: Local Couple Seeks to Raise Awareness One Roast at a Time

Rashida Otunba

The Couple Behind the Coffee

The line pooled out into the parking lot where eager students and families alike waited patiently for their turn to try a beverage at the newest coffee shop in the ‘Boro.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of getting a cup of coffee at Zach’s Brews or The Daily Grind then you know the robust flavor of Three Tree Coffee. Statesboro residents Philip and Anna Klayman have many years of coffee roasting experience under their belts, however this past weekend they have decided to delve into something new by gracing our small Southern town with the gift of a brand new, incredibly cool coffee shop.

“My wife and I moved to Statesboro about two years ago. She is from Statesboro and went to Statesboro High and GSU and we moved back here to be close to her family. When we moved to Statesboro there honestly wasn’t that much good coffee so we would go to Savannah to get good coffee, so we said well what if we started roasting it for fun out of our home and selling it at the farmers market? So it started really small scale and then it started to grow and people showed interest. It’s fun, it’s a passion of ours and it’s become a job now,” Klayman said.

Harvesting the Mission

While Three Tree Coffee Roasters serves its purpose as a coffee bar and study spot, the shop’s mission isn’t just to educate the masses on a good cup of coffee. The Klayman’s have another mission they would like to accomplish through their community contribution: empowering farmers, ending human trafficking and engaging their community.

Though the Klayman’s are in charge of roasting their own beans, they get the raw beans from foreign countries and work with charity organizations to distribute the coffee and materials hand made by foreign workers.

“We get the coffee beans from all around the world. Different coffee from different places will taste remarkably different. So we actually have signs to describe what they taste like and we try to roast it in a way to bring out those flavors,” Klayman said.

One of the things that the owners of Three Tree Coffee prides itself on is their attention to the coffee farmers who produce the product.

“Coffee, cocoa and tea farmers are some of the most exploited commodity farmers. There are some situations where coffee farmers are getting paid so little that it is considered labour trafficking, it’s considered more slave labour than wage labour,” Klayman said.

All of the farmers who supply coffee to Three Tree are at least paid a fair trade according to Fair Trade USA. From there they seek other ways to empower the farmer, such as through their Rwandan coffee, which is harvested by an all-women’s cooperative. Many of the women are illiterate and 50 percent of them are widowed.

The Klaymans also partner with an organization called Cafe Femenino that raises the standard of living and gives the women free sewing machines to make free clothes and gives them an organic fertilizer system which raises the value of their product so they can get a better price for their beans.

“[The farmers] put alot more time into it than we do so we just want to make sure theyre represented fairly,” Klayman said.

Engaging the ‘Boro

Though the Klaymans have taken the first steps to engaging their community by opening their own shop, they plan to do much more.

“[Before opening the coffee shop] we really didn’t have much opportunity for [community engagement.] We were doing some things locally with Safe Haven however this coffee shop gives us the best opportunity to see our neighbors faces and to serve them a cup of coffee and share what we’re trying to do with coffee,” Klayman said.

Last year, the Klaymans held an event last fall called Free Coffee for Free People, during which they provided free coffee to patrons in order to raise money for Rahab’s Rope, an organization in India that employs women who were in sex trafficking situations and now makes burlap sacks and jewelry and provides a market in the states to sell it.

While this may seem like a larger-than-life task, if you are a student looking to help your community and learn more about coffee, you could very well be on your way to help make a change. The Three Tree owners offer internship opportunities to students looking to learn more about roasting. No experience is required, simply a strong work ethic and a desire to learn . . . and a hankering for a good ol’ cup of Joe.