Business Name: Forest Bean
Location: Vancouver BC, Canada
Forest Bean is a Vancouver based, sustainable coffee company that first started in 2019 by our founder Pete Poovanna. Forest Bean produces shade-grown, sustainable coffee beans from our founders’ six-generation family farm in Western Ghats, India. The family farm situated on a UNESCO World Heritage site, practices agroforestry which purposefully integrates the growing of trees with crops. This practice enhances biodiversity, soil health, crop production and provides wildlife habitats. Once the beans are harvested on the farm, we then ship them directly to Vancouver BC, where we locally roast the coffee and sell directly to our customers. Forest Bean currently offers three types of coffee roasts including a light-medium roast called Matanga, a medium roast called Nari and the newest roast Mayura which is a lovely espresso roast. Forest Bean wants to educate coffee consumers on more sustainable growing methods while providing them with premium and sustainable tasting coffee they can enjoy.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
Dr. Poovanna Thimmaiah, affectionately known as Pete, is a highly accomplished mechanical engineer with a passion for sustainable business. Pete founded Forest Bean Inc. in 2019 to bring sustainably grown Indian coffee to connoisseurs around the world.
Pete was born and raised in the Western Ghats in India, where he was influenced by his family’s land management and community’s spiritually rooted practices called “sacred grove farming.”
Pete’s parents are sixth-generation coffee farmers in India. They produce the highest quality of coffee with the utmost emphasis on sustainability.
The family farm practices agroforestry, which purposefully integrates the growing of trees with crops. This practice enhances biodiversity, soil health and crop production on the coffee farm.
Pete’s studies in engineering and commitment to sustainability led to a successful career in the clean energy sector. Pete holds a Ph.D. in Mechatronic Systems Engineering from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is the inventor of the U.S. patented technology called ‘nature-inspired capillary-assisted evaporator for sustainable air-conditioning.’ Before moving to Canada for his Ph.D., Pete worked with the multinational automotive company Robert Bosch, Germany as senior computational fluid dynamics engineer.
Currently, Pete is the program manager for the climate change and air quality department at the Fraser Basin Council, implementing zero-emission transportation initiatives throughout the province of British Columbia. Pete is also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Policy Options, and has several scientific publications related to clean technology.
Pete has successfully combined his expertise in clean technology and heritage of sacred grove farming to create Forest Bean. Working with Indian family farmers to expand sustainable coffee farming techniques while producing high-quality coffee beans is a replicable business model that enhances both local communities and environments.
Pete’s work in India creates sustainable economic development opportunities for small scale farmers. It brings sustainably sourced coffee to ethical consumers worldwide.
The challenges the business/market is facing
The coffee industry is an extremely saturated market although we at Forest Bean consider our brand and coffee to be in the premium, local and sustainable market; we are challenged to build awareness to the market and consumers about differentiation. Forest Bean is a completely different business model and product compared to what currently sits in the market and we want to educate consumers further on how we can support the environment while providing them with sustainably sourced, premium coffee.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
The current coffee industry is booming with opportunity and will continue to grow as the customer demand grows for coffee. In the near future of the coffee industry with the increase of climate change impacting supply and growing demand for coffee from consumers; the global coffee industry in the near future will have to face a change into a more sustainable growing process to reduce its climate change impact.
For Forest Bean a large opportunity is that consumers are currently looking/ wanting to support more sustainable, local, premium businesses in Canada which aligns with Forest Bean perfectly. Forest Bean in the near future wants to build off the demand from consumers for sustainable coffee and assist in educating them further on sustainability and what it means to us. We hope by building more connections with like-minded consumers we can expand globally and help educate more consumers worldwide.
Advice to others about business
Advice that Forest Bean would give to others about business would be to focus on what makes your business stand out in the market. Talk and connect with other similar business owners to see what is successfully working in their business and what is not working or things they have removed from the business. Creating goals is also key before starting a business, this can give you a picture of what you want the business to look like in the future and that way it is easier as a business owner to meet those goals when you have a clear picture of what it looks like. To add to creating goals, Forest Bean recommends never giving up on your goals for your business. Although owning a business can be extremely hard work, never giving up on your goals can ensure that the hard work and strive pays off almost every time when those goals are met whether it’s in one year or five years.
Forest Bean Inc. (@theforestbean) • Instagram photos and videos
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