Bonds was a coffeeholic working at Eaton Aerospace when he began a personal search for what he described as “an amazing cup of coffee.”
“I was looking for coffee that was palatable without cream and sugar,” Bonds says. “Quality coffee is complex, with flavors ranging from fruity to spicy and everything in between. A good cup of coffee is a beautiful and dynamic experience. I began roasting my own coffee as a hobby, and in the process, I learned a lot about where coffee came from and who it affected.”
BeanFruit coffee is sold in a number of Jackson area coffee shops, as well as at beanfruit.com.
What Bonds learned moved him to quit his job at Eaton Aerospace and launch BeanFruit, not only out of a desire to provide an exceptional product, but also to benefit the farmers worldwide who grow the world’s best coffee beans. Harvesting coffee beans takes five to seven years from the time the beans are planted. Farmers have a limited time to sell the beans before they spoil, which often leaves the farmers open to exploitation by buyers who purchase the beans at a low price, then sell the coffee for a high profit. As a fair trade company, BeanFruit ensures that farmers are paid a fair market value for their product.
“Purchasing quality coffee is the best way to benefit the farmers long term,” Bonds says. “Even to this day, we don’t purchase any coffee if we can’t trace where it came from.”
BeanFruit coffees come from coffee farmers around the world, including growers in Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. The company also supports charities with a need that dovetails with the BeanFruit mission; for example, BeanFruit provided some of the equipment in We Will Go Ministries’ community coffee house, the Urban Sip.
BeanFruit’s efforts to provide a superior product and support coffee farmers were recognized earlier this year when the company was named a winner in the 2015 Good Food Awards, which recognizes food and beverages that “create vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies.” BeanFruit was one of 148 companies chosen for the award from 1,462 entrants.
“I work a ton of hours for less than I was earning before, but I enjoy what I do a lot more,” Bonds says of his venture. “The relationships I’ve developed over the years have been great, plus the coffee I get to taste is amazing. And how do I take my coffee these days? Black.”