Black US Coast Guard Veteran Finds New Mission Helping Coffee Farmers With Trading Company

Black US Coast Guard Veteran Finds New Mission Helping Coffee Farmers With Trading Company

Former U.S. Coast Guard recruiter Calvin Harris III has discovered a new passion that all began with a vision centered around a cup of coffee.

Harris III, 30, performed five years of service after he retired from the military at 25 due to a surprise medical diagnosis, according to Men’s Health Magazine.

During a period of uncertainty about his next steps in life, Harris III decided to book a two-week vacation to Europe to clear his mind and regroup. But this two-week journey turned into two years of Harris continuing his travels to more places around the world. “I absolutely loved the experience and the exploration and the connections that I was making in each new place,” Harris told Men’s Health Magazine and he ended up in Colombia 50 countries later.

Harris III told Men’s Health Magazine that during his Colombia visit, he had a unique conversation with a worker at a coffee farm. He explained that the farm’s coffee price was a little over a dollar per pound, but the math didn’t make sense to him as a pound of beans can produce about 22 cups of coffee. 

The conversation fueled Harris to change the coffee industry, and he soon birthed his company Reveille Trading Co. in March 2020. The online direct-trade coffee company, headquartered in Atlanta, aims to source the best quality coffee without paying intermediaries. Harris III noted that the goal is not only for customers to receive a superior product but to ultimately help farmers receive a fair price by cutting out the middleman to balance the supply chain.

Farmers are turning to direct trade companies to cut out the middleman and create a more sustainable set of trade practices.

“If people aren’t buying sustainable and they’re not buying direct trade, and they’re only buying the coffee that is the cheapest, it means that the coffee farmers and producers have less money to pay people on the ground, which means that more and more of those people are going to abandon the coffee farms,” Harris told the outlet.

Harris says his mission to give back stems not only from his U.S. Coast Guard experience but also from his mother’s legacy. “I believe that this mission of helping coffee farmers earn a living wage and supporting long-term sustainable practices would be something that she would have strongly believed in,” he told Men’s Health Magazine.