(12/10/13) - Teresa Villacorta knows her coffee. In fact, she spent her childhood surrounded by coffee beans in Amazonas Peru.
"I grew up there, picking coffee with my family, so coffee is part of my life," she said.
Villacorta moved to Flint a year ago, and along with her husband, John Cherry, formed the Flint Coffee Company - selling coffee harvested from her family's farm.
"The coffee is very smooth. You don't feel the bitterness," she said.
Cherry reached out to a California-based coffee importer for help in starting the business, and the response was pretty surprising.
"The guy who returned my email said, 'You know what, I grew up on the north side of Flint. We've not done these types of relationships too much before, but hey, I'm going to help you out. Let's make this happen,'" Cherry said.
The beans are shipped from Peru to Villacorta and Cherry's home in Flint, and then taken to Traverse City for roasting. Down the road, they'd like to open up a roaster locally.
"By cutting out the middle men essentially, we can provide a good price to customers, a high quality coffee for the customers, and then also provide a better income for the farmers," Cherry said.
Right now, Flint Coffee Company products are available at the Flint Farmer's Market, Good Beans Cafe, and Bangkok Peppers.
"It's been great. It's been a huge learning process, but we've received a lot of help and encouragement from not only family, but from all sorts of folks," Cherry said.
Villacorta gets a big kick out of giving the Flint area a taste of what home means to her.
"It's really great when the people come and taste the coffee and say, 'It's good coffee, tell your parents it's good coffee.' It's wonderful," she said.
For more information on the Flint Coffee Company, click HERE.
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