Give Families Power Over Poverty by Drinking Coffee

by | Artisans

Read Time: 4 min.

Imagination

In a timeless rural village, about a three-hour hike from Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, Thi Hien sketches whimsical winter skies on mugs that will soon be filled with steaming coffee in kitchens around the U.S.

Surrounded by the warm breezes of her workshop fan, she delves deep into her imagination to envision the landscape of a winter night sky. Outside, it’s hot and humid. She’s more likely to experience the reality of tropical trees blowing in the rain than snowfall drifting under winter stars. But Thi Hien is delighted for this opportunity to express her creativity.

Inspiration

Growing up in a traditional handicraft village, Thi Hien always dreamed of becoming a professional artist.

Out of over 3,000 handicraft villages in Vietnam, her village is one of only 400 remaining true to the ancient practices of their ancestors.

They’re proud of their traditional heritage and committed to preserving the integrity of their art.

Village elders respect aspiring artists and eagerly share their secrets from over seven centuries of Artisan history with the next generation.

Determination

But as a female Artisan in a traditionally gender-biased culture, Thi Hien faced continual challenges as she followed her dreams. After extensive training – from the most basic skills of how to hold a pen to more complicated skills like how to shape and scale designs – she began breaking cultural stereotypes by contributing significantly to her family’s finances.

Power Over Poverty

Economic losses and limited income opportunities once burdened her family with debt that her husband struggled to repay, alone. Now, Thi Hien’s income has allowed her to help her husband begin to pay off these debts. Each whimsical mug she sketches is filled with her family’s hopes for the day they will finally be debt free. Every time a woman in the U.S. fills her mug from our holiday Starlight Set with coffee, Thi Hien’s dream of a debt-free life draws closer to becoming her reality.

How It’s Made

Handcrafted Mug from Vietnam

On a potter’s wheel, Artisans press lumps of clay into molds to create the desired size and shape for each mug. The clay mugs are then thoroughly baked in a kiln for eight hours. Once cooled, the inside of each mug is coated with a transparent glaze. Each dried mug is polished and cleaned to prepare for the beeswax Artisans who paint whimsical stars and dots with beeswax before the mugs are dipped into a final coat of blue glaze.

Once the glaze has dried, the beeswax stars and dots are scraped away and the mugs are returned to the kiln to bake another 15 hours. Inside the kiln, the sky-blue glaze darkens into the deep-blue shade of a winter night sky. From start to finish, each mug takes a group of Artisans several days to complete. When cooled, these whimsical mugs are ready for a fresh pot of Natalia Blend Coffee from our Artisan partners in Guatemala!

Would you like to see NEW designs from these ceramic Artisans in Vietnam?

We’d love to hear your ideas! Share your wish list from these ceramic Artisans in Vietnam in the comments below!

Coffee from Guatemala 

In Guatemala, coffee is more than a seasonal indulgence.

60% of Guatemala’s families live below poverty level and over.
70% of Guatemala’s families depend on the coffee industry for income.
Our Artisan partners in Guatemala arecommitted to continuing the ethical coffee growing and harvesting practices they’ve maintained for over a century. While upholding high-quality standards for their coffee, they also continually strive to improve the quality of life for their workers – through safe working conditions, fair wages, and medical care.

The Harvest

Every cup of Mayan Blend Coffee begins thousands of feet above sea level in Guatemala’s richest coffee regions. During harvest season, mature coffee beans cover the mountainsides with deep-red berries, called “cherries”.
Harvesters carefully choose a very narrow window of time to handpick the berries to ensure the highest quality and flavor. The berries are then soaked in large tanks of water until they ferment and burst. Floating berries are strained off and discarded, while the highest quality berries are pressure washed to remove the pulp and reveal the seeds we call “coffee beans”.
Artisans then dry the coffee beans in the sun to prepare them for roasting. The entire harvesting process takes several days and most of the work is done by hand.
Freshly roasted coffee beans are ground and shipped to Trades of Hope where coffee lovers can purchase and enjoy our Starlight Set, knowing every steaming mug of Mayan Blend Coffee creates new opportunities for women in Vietnam and Guatemala to provide safe homes, food, clothing, education, and medical care for their families!
Trades of Hope is partnering to empower families out of poverty and human trafficking.
Every purchase of coffee products from Guatemala helps empower families out of poverty.

Ethically Made by Artisans in Vietnam and Guatemala

Our coffee and coffee related designs are the perfect blend of modern style and ancient Artisan traditions from Vietnam and Guatemala. Your steaming mug of comfort begins in a small crafting village in the Vietnamese and Guatemalan countrysides, where women are overcoming centuries of discrimination and poverty, as fair-trade Artisans.

1 Comment

  1. Jody Fasaad

    Wonderfully told! I love reading all the Kindred blogs. Kathy’s writing transports the reader into the artisans’ worlds. Well done!!

    Reply

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.

Kindred

adjective
1. similar in kind; related
2. a blog by Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand that helps women around the world escape poverty and trafficking through our fair trade designs. Learn how you can partner with Artisans around the world here.