Coffee Company Puts Farmers First

Dean’s Beans is a B Corp certified coffee roasting company with the mission to use high-quality coffee as a vehicle for social change.

Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company was founded in 1993 by Dean Cycon, an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer. His goal was to prove that a for-profit business could create meaningful change through ethical business practices rooted in respect for the earth, the farmer, the employees and the consumer. Since the beginning, Dean’s Beans has used their fresh-roasted, organic, Fair Trade, shade-grown coffee to fuel positive social change through long-standing direct trade partnerships with coffee farmers and jointly designed community-development projects in the coffee lands.

Their people-centered development projects are implemented in the communities where Dean’s Beans works and are based on the community’s chosen priorities. This model is a unique approach to direct trade in the coffee industry. Instead of simply donating to outside organizations, Dean’s Beans collaborates directly with coffee cooperatives (located in South and Central America, Africa and parts of Asia) by helping them develop programs that they manage themselves. These projects are funded directly from coffee sales to ensure the long-term viability of the project and create a true sense of ownership by the farmers. 

Since the farmers design each program, they tend to be very distinct and personal – no cookie-cutter development programs allowed! One of the most recent projects that Dean’s Beans helped facilitate was bringing fresh water to Kenawat Redelong village in Indonesia. One of the farmer-partners told them that, “fresh water has flown smoothly to villagers’ houses” and “the water is also connected to our coffee farms and public facilities and make it greater (sp) benefit to our society.”

Ecological responsibility is also a huge part of Dean’s Beans business model. They are devoted to putting as much energy into environmental stewardship as they do to their farmer relationships. They only source shade-grown coffee, which helps protect critical migratory bird habitats and the ecological diversity of the coffeelands. In addition, they are the originators of Carbon Neutral Coffee, which is made possible through solar panel power and planting hardwood trees to offset carbon emissions. 

In addition to their organic coffees, Dean’s Beans started a line of sugar and cocoa products called Sweet Justice®, which helps to fund social activism domestically. Dean has always believed that his company’s responsibility to engage in activism on the home front is equally as important as what they are doing in the coffee supply chain. Here at home, Dean’s Beans advocates for GMO labeling, paid sick leave, raising the minimum wage, banning pesticides and protecting pollinators and integrity in organic and Fair Trade standards.Since the beginning, Dean has prioritized “Buying High and Selling Low”. They pay as much for the coffee as they can, to benefit the farmers and fuel more community-development projects. Then, they sell it to the public for as low as they can, so that everyone has the opportunity to participate in socially just trade. It’s all a part of how Dean’s Beans “Brews Great Coffee and Creates Real Change.”

To learn more about Dean’s Beans, check out their member directory profile.


  1. Excited. I wish Dean’s Beans become the leading player in the industry. All the very best wishes from my side.
    We are also working in Nepal through to facilitate similar business model in Nepal based on Vegetable & Food Supply Chain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.