Creating New Trade

Beyond Fair Trade, Creating New Trade

The majority of Teeccino’s ingredients are organically grown in Europe and the USA by first world farmers. In 2004, we began developing new sources for organic chicory in India and wild-crafted ramon seeds in Guatemala, from small scale family farmers and rainforest villagers.

These ingredients create new trade that provides more economic opportunities in regions where income is scarce. Fair trade is very important for commodity-driven products where exploitation is common. Creating new trade provides more ways to relieve poverty and raise the quality of life for rural communities in developing nations.

Sourcing Teeccino

With over 40 years experience sourcing herbs around the world, Caroline‘s expertise has served Teeccino by continually improving the quality and availability of the herbs that we use in Teeccino’s blends. By searching for traditional herbs in other cultures with roasted flavor profiles, she has also pioneered the wild harvest of unique herbs like ramón seed from the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. Novel ingredients like ramón seed have given Teeccino new flavor profiles to appeal to more customers.

Caroline’s commitment to developing certified organic sources for Teeccino’s key herbs, which previously were only available as conventional, has both improved Teeccino and served the health of our customers. Other tea manufacturers around the world have also benefited from her work as demand for organic sources of these herbs increased once they became available. On top of this, our commitment to organic certification has made a big difference in the lives of the people who grow and harvest our organic herbs.

If you ask Caroline what she is most proud of in her long career, she will tell you this: her greatest achievement has been the creation of new trade for unique ingredients that protects rainforests and provides income to rural communities where opportunities, especially for women to earn money, are rare.

Our Ingredients

Ramón Seeds

Teeccino Caffé is pioneering the introduction of ramón seeds, a traditional food of the Maya civilization that are wild-harvested in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. We work in partnership with several local organizations to harvest ramón seeds including Alimentos Nutri-Naturales, a women-owned company that also teaches workshops for women in rural communities to learn about preparing ramón nuts for their family.

We have promoted the use of ramón seeds in products made by North American compa-
nies, including Traditional Medicinal’s teas and Mary’s Gone Crackers’ Love Cookies, whose new line of vegan, gluten-free cookies uses ramón seed flour as an ingredient.

Once called the “corn tree” by the Maya, this nutrient rich, fiber dense seed comes from the fruit of the Brosimum Alicastrum tree, a member of the fig family, which also includes mulberry trees. Ramón seeds are fat-free, gluten free, and very high in potassium along with other vitamins and minerals. They contain a complete protein that has high amounts of tryptophan, the feel-good amino acid that the body converts into serotonin.

Ramón trees grow wild throughout Central American forests where they can comprise up to 20% of the tree population. They are the only wind-pollinated tree species and are frequently the lead species to reestablish forests in areas that have been clear-cut. Despite being a free and nutritious food, ramón seeds were going to waste on the forest floor before Teeccino began the work to develop this crop in 2000.

By giving value to ramón seeds and financial support to workshops that educate women on harvesting and preparing ramón seeds for their families, Teeccino has helped to improve the nutrition of impoverished families in Guatemala. Our work captured the attention of the Guatemalan government, and the head of a Presidential Commission, that provided the funds to establish ramón seeds as a safe and recognized food (GRAS) in the US.

The development of new trade in ramón seeds has helped establish Alimentos
Nutri-Naturales’ processing facility that provides jobs for rural women and produces baked goods for distribution to Guatemalan schoolchildren.

Chicory Root

Chicory root, a traditional ingredient in French coffee and coffee alternatives, is grown throughout Northern Europe, India, S. Africa and even here in the US. However, organically grown chicory roots are difficult to develop due to their high phosphate soil requirements and the necessity for costly labor-intensive weed control.

Since 2005, Teeccino has worked to develop organically grown chicory roots with rural Indian farmers in partnership with Organic India, a company committed to cultivating thousands of acres of organic farmland in India that is owned by smallholder farmers.

By 2009, Teeccino met its first goal of increasing the supply of organic chicory so that all of our requirements for chicory have been converted to organic. By creating new trade for certified organic chicory, Teeccino has led the conversion to organic cultivation of a significant portion of farmland devoted to chicory in India. Our second goal, still in the future, is to build a processing facility to bring value-added work requiring skilled labor to India.

By drinking Teeccino, you join us in supporting families devoted to organic, fair trade values in both first world & developing countries.