Whether you’re purchasing coffee, clothing, or art, when you hear about a company that inspires you and supports positive change, it’s easy to support them. This is particularly true for companies that give back.
When it comes to coffee roasters, there are those who sell coffee as a business opportunity and then there are those who eat, sleep, and breath coffee — and the difference in quality showcases their true passion.
Theodore’s Coffee Roasters is one of those passionate, soul-warming companies. A true success story, here’s what you need to know about the amazing journey that led to Theodore’s.
Incredible Coffee That Matches Its Inspiring Story
When aiming to find the perfect cup of coffee, there are a lot of variables to consider. Of course, flavor and body are key. However, to truly appreciate a well-crafted coffee, you must first understand where those beans came from.
Who grew them? What’s their story? And how did those beans reach your favorite morning mug?
Theodore’s is the perfect example of the “American Dream,” which has continued to evolve and improve the lives of others. In 2014, the owner of Theodore’s Coffee, Darwin Pavon, started this beloved company. He once dreamed of bringing the unique flavor and culture of Honduran coffee to the United States.
Initially, Darwin was the beneficiary of a scholarship-type program that allowed him to emigrate to the United States to begin his coffee business. It has since grown into something much greater than a coffee business — which we will discuss momentarily.
After moving from Indiana to Michigan, he was encouraged to create Theodore’s Coffee as an independent business (outside of his Indiana-based coffee company). Although he did not have much knowledge surrounding this specific market and didn’t really have an immense amount of coffee in-stock, his strength was his background in coffee and the relationships he had with farmers in Honduras.
From Salesman to the Owner of a Successful Coffee Company and Social Enterprise
To better understand Theodore’s, you must first understand Darwin’s journey. After all, it is his tenacity and passion which fueled the story behind Theodore’s.
While working in sales and factory/project management, Darwin began working for a fertilizer company. Traveling around, he would meet with coffee farmers to learn about their farms, their history, and their evolving needs.
Focusing on quality over quantity, he helped farmers and in turn, solidified relationships that are now a part of Theodore’s history and mission. By taking the time to help these farmers, he developed working relationships that became beneficial to both parties.
While Darwin gained access to the best beans in Honduras, farmers were able to make a fair, living wage. They were able to share their stories and passion for coffee with those near and far. Theodore’s gave these coffee farmers a voice.
He continues to travel back and forth, to remain in touch with each farmer. For those on the “other side” of the coffee cup, it doesn’t get any better. As a consumer, it feels good to support a roaster that goes above and beyond.
Roasting these quality beans daily, Theodore’s has remained committed to quality. Although they are a social enterprise, they take great pride in their fresh-roasted coffees and the taste of their coffee reflects the company’s core mission.
The Micah Project Gives Back to Those Who Call Honduras Home
Darwin has worked tirelessly to build a successful company. However, profitability was never his core objective. He was determined to give back to those living in his home country all while providing the highest quality beans to coffee-lovers in the United States.
In the process, he was able to support the non-profit organization known as The Micah Project. Located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, two group homes are available to both young men and boys. His efforts are now supporting children who once lived on the street.
Through formal education, discipline, and greater opportunities, these young men have been given a second chance at life. In fact, Darwin was once a resident of himself and was the first young man from this program to graduate college.
In addition to The Micah Project, Theodore’s also partners with a number of local and international organizations in order to give back. The company has also taken this approach with their current customers and suppliers, always treating people with respect and dignity.
Theodore’s Coffee Is Superior Coffee That Serves a Purpose
As stated by Darwin, last year, his company was able to support 23 growers from Central America, a number which continues to grow. Each cup brewed is more than a flavorful, balanced cup of coffee — it is a personal connection to the farmers he now calls friends.
Each product comes with its own unique story which is very powerful. Here are just a few examples of coffee sourced from Honduras:
- El Guayabo — A mother of 12, Doña Lucía is known as a sweet, yet incredibly hard-working women. After her husband died nearly 30 years ago, she decided to follow her dream and grow amazing coffee. Learn more here.
- La Fraternidad — Immersed in the world of coffee since he was 10 years old, Victor took over the family business when he was 28. He is now renewing the plantation moving towards geisha and bourbon varieties. Learn more and get your hands on his beloved pacamara variety here.
- El Playon — Israel is incredibly passionate about coffee farming, constantly improving and evolving his processes. His passion has driven him to plant more than twelve varieties of coffee, including this Pacas.
Darwin now works with farmers across Honduras, El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. The beans he sources are direct and ethical, offering consumers remarkable coffee they won’t find anywhere else.
Theodore’s Coffee Roasters is showing the world that you can offer small batch perfection that makes a big impact. From start to finish, everyone has a special relationship with coffee. This translates into every perfect sip.
Best of all, they offer the best possible coffee at an affordable price. Helping consumers understand that “you get what you pay for” while still remaining affordable in terms of everyday consumption has allowed Theodore’s to grow and support the hardworking people that produce the coffee itself.
Where Did the Name “Theodore’s Coffee Roasters” Come From?
Behind every great company is a great name. Since the owner’s name is Darwin, you may be wondering, who’s Theodore?
Darwin chose this name for three main reasons:
1. In Greek, Theodore means “A Gift From God” — being a Christian himself, this spoke to him. However, he respects all beliefs and ideologies and believes that coffee is a great tool to connect and converse, regardless of religion.
2. Darwin loved and admired his grandpa, whose name was, of course, Theodore!
3. If Darwin and his wife would have had a boy, his name would have also been Theodore. Although they did not have a baby boy, they were blessed with their sweet baby girl, Matilda.
Once again, this just goes to show the level of authenticity behind Theodore’s. Every decision Darwin makes is based on his commitment to remain true to himself and his commitment to bring the best coffee to those who are ready to taste the difference — all while supporting those in need.
In that sense, Theodore’s Coffee Roasters could not be more of a true success story. It is an inspiring tale, helping us realize that what goes around, comes around. Darwin was once in need of help. Since finding success, he has remained dedicated to helping others while spreading awareness on what quality coffee really is.
Although flavor and overall quality is his highest priority, he has shown the industry that you can achieve a perfect cup of coffee while supporting the growers and communities where the beans are grown.
Direct Trade Is a Part of Theodore’s Coffee Culture
As mentioned above, Theodore’s has transformed the lives of farmers. This is mainly due to their direct trade approach. It was mentioned on Theodore’s blog that when Darwin first traveled to meet with the owner of El Guayabo (listed above), she was making $0.35 per pound of coffee sold.
That is because she was selling coffee to a middleman, which traditionally how the coffee industry works. Being one of the best coffees Darwin had ever tasted, he remained committed to her efforts. The first year, Theodore’s paid her $2.50 per pound, $3 per pound the second year, and $3.50 per pound the third year.
As you can imagine, like all of the other coffee farmers Theodore’s works with, direct trade changes lives. Never sacrificing the best tasting, highest quality coffee, Theodore’s has shown that you can have the best of both worlds.