Staff, 2023-01-06 16:37:55,
WATERVILLE — In just a few weeks Churchill Elangwe-Preston will officially launch Mbingo Mountain Coffee, his micro-roasting coffee company, but his idea to make coffee fun, and fair for its farmers, has been brewing since his boyhood.
Elangwe-Preston, 42, began roasting and supplying fresh coffee beans last year, leaving a career in electrical engineering to do so. Mbingo Mountain Coffee is the first business in Waterville to roast its coffee in-town, he said, and began selling wholesale online and through retail partners like Holy Cannoli in downtown Waterville in December.
It’ll be at Holy Cannoli on Jan. 19 that Mbingo Mountain Coffee has its official launch. Although the business is just starting out, Elangwe-Preston said it has been a long time coming.
He grew up in Limbé, a coastal city in the African country of Cameroon where his family owns a coffee and cocoa farm. Elangwe-Preston learned the ins and outs of the business. He came to understand the value of handpicking coffee cherries (the fruit of the coffee plant) to ensure quality and ripeness, as opposed to harvesting them industrially. The name of his business, Mbingo, refers to a region in his native country.
But he also came to learn how exploitative the trade can be for farmers.
“They work extremely hard for very little pay,” Elangwe-Preston said.
He knew of farmers in Cameroon who could not consistently put food on the table for their families, and certainly couldn’t afford to educate their…
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