Driven by health, inspired by innovation, motivated by impact

When Max (right) went to France for school in 2012, he overdosed on coffee during finals season and was ordered by his doctor to quit coffee and switch to tea. He never loved traditional green and black teas, so he started searching for alternatives that would be delicious, healthy, and ultimately sustainable for his body and the planet.

A month later, he and his French classmate Arnaud (left) were starting a new entrepreneurship class project. That first day of class in January 2013, he came across a study about the coffee leaf that proved its strong health benefits, light caffeine, and long history of use as an herbal infusion in Ethiopia and Indonesia. It also became apparent that coffee farms are very seasonal and farmers suffer from extremely volatile market prices and a long off-season where they are trimming off extra leaves but not using them for anything.

They began to ask themselves “why hasn’t anyone tried to craft or ferment the coffee leaves before, like they do in the traditional tea industry?” They had a hunch that they could create very special flavors and varieties if they applied the same tea-style methodology to the coffee leaf.

Together, the two decided that this idea was worth pursuing for their class project.
Max Rivest
Co-Founder
Arnaud Petitvallet
Co-Founder
Enrique Ferrufino
Co-Founder

Global problems call for global collaboration

At the end of the school year, they decided to put theory into practice and flew to Nicaragua to find some coffee farms. The first farmers didn’t even believe them, asking them why they were interested in the leaf to begin with. “It has no value,” farmers would say. Others were curious, but not enough to get involved.

During their search, they kept meeting other coffee importers and buyers. One of their new connections thought the coffee leaf idea was brilliant, and introduced them to Enrique Ferrufino, a third-generation coffee farmer who leads the country in ethics and innovation.

When they brought the idea to Enrique, his eyes lit up with inspiration as he started brainstorming different ways of cultivating, crafting, and ultimately creating a new delicious drink that has the potential to revolutionize the industry for the better.

One year later, Enrique joined Wize Coffee Leaf as an equal-equity founder and bolstered the team with decades of coffee-growing experience. This team-focused aspect makes Wize Coffee Leaf vertically integrated from the ground up, and ensures that the farmers and their workers’ have decision-making power for long-term growth and sustainability.
When Max (right) overdosed on coffee in late 2012, he was ordered by his doctor to quit coffee and switch to tea. He and his French classmate Arnaud (left) were starting a new entrepreneurship class project, and on that first day of class in January 2013, they came across a study about the coffee leaf that proved its strong health benefits, light caffeine, and long history of use in Ethiopia and Indonesia. It also became apparent that coffee farms are very seasonal; farmers suffer from extremely volatile market prices and a long off-season where they are trimming off extra leaves, but not using them for anything.

They began to ask themselves “why hasn’t anyone tried to craft or ferment the coffee leaves before, like they do in the traditional tea industry?” They had a hunch that they could create very special flavors and varieties if they applied the same tea-style methodology to the coffee leaf.

The two eager pioneers decided to go to Nicaragua and explore this new idea. After months of searching for coffee farmers to partner with, they met Enrique Ferrufino, a third-generation coffee farmer and leader in the industry. After some initial batch testing, Enrique fell in love with the idea and the three entrepreneurs joined together to found Wize Coffee Leaf with the intention to deliver a world-class tea experience while revolutionizing the industry for the better.

The Wize ethos

We can all be better and do better if we make wize choices. We’re realists; yes, we have a mountain to climb to solve global problems, but with small incremental action from everyone, we can write the future that we want. The pen is in our hands.

Wize is redefining wisdom for the new generation. Acknowledging the negatives, creating the positives, and relishing the challenge instead of shying away from it. Big things have small beginnings, and this is how we choose to live our lives; with purpose.

Think outside the bean and Wize up.
Max Rivest
Co-Founder
Arnaud Petitvallet
Co-Founder
Enrique Ferrufino
Co-Founder

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