BETHANY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A sustainable coffee roaster and chocolate manufacturer in Wayne County is finding unique ways to stay sustainable both here at home and at its overseas farms.
"The decision you make when buying your products and consuming your products can very greatly influence the lives of those growing those products. Our mission is to make consumers more aware of that," said Jeff Abella, the co-founder of Moka Origins, a coffee roaster and chocolate manufacturer tucked away in the hills outside of Honesdale.
His view of sustainability for his company is twofold.
"Sustainability to me really means two things. One is the environmental sustainability. What farming practices are happening that are responsible on the environment? The other is financial sustainability."
Abella tells us that his farmers in Cameroon and other countries avoid using fertilizer. Instead, they use compost, intercropping, and other techniques to keep the soil productive.
The company also uses sustainable practices at the facility in Wayne County.
"We're a zero-waste facility. That's here at Moka and the Himalayan Institute. Zero waste means every single thing that comes through our doors is at the end either consumed or it's sorted out and sold to specialty recyclers."
Financial sustainability for coffee and cocoa farmers is necessary to help break the cycle of poverty that's typically associated with those crops.
"Whenever we sell product, we invest those funds back into Cameroon into our farming co-op and we're trying to really teach better quality production and teach farmers that with that better quality bean, they can charge more for it."
Moka Origins has invested more than $105,000 over the last two-plus years into the communities the farmers live in.
"Without coffee famers and cocoa farmers, we don't have coffee and chocolate, so it has to start there," Abela said.
We toured Moka Origins coffee roasting and chocolate production areas, including the newly renovated expanded production center.
The new production center includes a climate-controlled room where the chocolate is tempered.
"To get chocolate to the final form we're familiar with, where it has that glassy look, nice snap to it, melts in your mouth not in your hand, it needs to be tempered," explained production lead Joe Kennedy.
You can have a taste and tour for yourself. Moka Origins has public tours on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.