Coffee Culture

Your morning cup of joe just got more personal. When you buy a bag of Farmers First Coffee Company beans, now on shelves in Charlotte, you can see the face of the farmer who grew those beans and help support his or her livelihood.

Farmers First co-founders Matt Hohler, 28, and Robert Durrette, 31, launched the company with a roaster in Shelby and a Kickstarter campaign in November 2017. The pair purchase their coffee beans at a price that’s four times higher than fair-trade pricing—and give a 50-percent bonus directly to the farmer who grew the beans.

Every package of coffee ($15 per bag) is an introduction to those farmers. Pick up a bag of Rosa’s Coffee from Farmers First and you’ll see the sketched outline of a dark-haired woman from Bajo Ihuamaca, Peru, and get a card that shares her story. Rosa Lloclla told Hohler and Durrette she was facing steep interest rates for a loan as a coffee farmer and didn’t have enough money to build a dignified bathroom or to install a solar dryer to improve the drying process of the coffee. (Many coffee farmers earn less than $2,000 per year.) Thanks to their 50-percent bonus, she’ll be able to do both—and plant 2.5 more acres of coffee.

Want to support the cause? Farmers First’s 100-percent Arabica beans are for sale at Earl’s Grocery, Rhino Market Uptown, Laurel Market, Pasta & Provisions, and Unwind Tea and Coffee in Pineville. They’re also available at