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How an independent coffee roaster in Aberdeen is making a huge difference across the globe

MacBeans, Aberdeen’s go-to spot for freshly roasted coffee, is proving that little acts can spark big changes.

Brian with the KCRS cooperative
The KCRS cooperative in Rwanda.

It’s not just about top-notch coffee; it’s about making a real impact on the lives of those who provide it.

Here is how MacBeans is changing the lives of small traders and farmers across the globe.

Supporting the KCRS Cooperative in Rwanda

Brian, the owner of MacBeans, shared how his coffee is about making a difference, one sip at a time.

He said: “We’ve got 37 different coffees and 27 of those are from single origins. Some of the single origins that I’ve taken in more recently have great stories about communities and social responsibility behind them.”

One of the coffees that MacBeans sells is the KCRS Rwandan sourced coffee, which isn’t just about delivering a delicious brew; it’s about empowering women. A story Brian heard first hand when he visited Rwanda in 2023 and met some of the 131 farmers that make up the KCRS cooperative.

Sourced from a women’s cooperative, this coffee supports female farmers, giving them autonomy over their family businesses. As Brian explained: “This Rwandan coffee supports female farmers and empowers them to take control of a part of their family farms. To be part of the co-operative, they need have to have full control over the coffee growing part of the business.

“This autonomy encourages women to stand on their own. Some of the women who are part of the KCRS co-operative may run a coffee-growing business as part of a farm or smallholding owned by their family or household. The idea is for all the growers involved to get support and independence in their business.”

KCRS Rwandan coffee fields.
KCRS Rwandan coffee fields.

Partnering with a coffee farmer in Honduras

But the support doesn’t end there. MacBeans also partners with a coffee farmer in Honduras through the One to One project. Brian added: “The Honduras coffee is direct trade. So, it’s called the One to One project because it’s one farmer to one roaster.

“The traders that I deal with have traded individual farmers’ entire crop to match with individual roasters in the UK. So I will have a seven-bag crop which is one farmer’s entire crop. Part of the deal is that I have to commit to take the whole crop for at least two years in a row.

“So even though it’s just a small micro lot, by me committing to take that whole crop, it helps the farmer as he knows he’s got that trade for at least two years.

“This gives the farmer financial foresight and he can raise money to buy different crops to plant or buy more equipment, and then expand his financial flexibility.”

“The honduras direct trade coffee from MacBeans has been so popular with our customers in 2023 that I’ve committed to a second farmers smaller crop which means thanks to the support we have in North East Scotland we are now able to help two families business in Honduras.”

Supporting the local community

A smallholding crop on the KCRS Cooperative Rwandan farm.

But perhaps what truly sets MacBeans apart is its commitment to community, both near and far.

Closer to home, Brian was also involved in a Developing the Young Workforce project in Aberdeen. As part of this, pupils from St Machar Academy had to brew coffee and present it to a judging panel. Brian spoke to the students about the origins of coffee and how it’s grown, to help boost their presentations.

He says: “It was great to be involved in that local community project earlier this year, and it’s something I’m keen for MacBeans to do more of in the future.”

And despite being a small establishment, MacBeans boasts a dedicated team that has been serving up more than just coffee for many years. It’s clear that the whole team supports the work of MacBeans and is passionate about making a real difference.

Brian reflected on the continuity and dedication of the team: “I took over MacBeans in November 2022 and everyone that was working here then is still working here now.”

Choose MacBeans for your next coffee
Supporting MacBeans Coffee isn’t just about enjoying a great coffee; it’s about investing in a vision of a better world.

Whether it’s empowering female farmers in Rwanda, providing stability to coffee growers in Honduras or supporting the local Aberdeen community, every purchase at MacBeans is a vote for positive change.

So, the next time you’re in Aberdeen, why not pop into MacBeans on 2 Little Belmont Street? Not only will you be treated to exceptional coffee roasted with flavour, passion and care, but you’ll also be playing a part in supporting communities both locally and globally.

After all, there’s nothing quite like the taste of coffee brewed with a side of hope and a dash of community spirit.

Learn more about the projects supported by MacBeans.