When Philip and Anna Klayman started roasting their own coffee at home several years ago, they never dreamed where the hobby would take them. Neither had an inkling they'd open a business and Philip never expected to travel to Mexico and befriend farmers growing the beans he'd use in that business.
That's just what happened, however, and the Klayman's successful business, Three Tree Coffee at 441 South Main Street is serving up delicious coffees and pleasing the palates of local customers daily.
Philip Klayman admits he didn't drink the beverage that earns him a living now until he was in his early 20s and took a job at a coffee shop in Athens. His wife, Anna Casey Klayman, originally from Statesboro, was completing her degree and he took the job while she finished school. Philip graduated with an Agricultural Economics degree.
"God has really orchestrated our steps," said Philip of their future careers and landing in Statesboro. When the couple moved to Statesboro to be closer to her family, she began working with her parents in their business, Bulloch Janitorial, and Philip worked for a local bank.
"We saw a big gap in locally roasted coffee," Philip said. "We started with a one-pound roaster at home and sold at the Farmers Market. That's when we saw the potential - people were really hungry for roasted coffee."
When the Klayman's landed an account with Georgia Southern University, they were on their way to more than just a hobby. In August of 2015, the Klaymans opened Three Tree Coffee.
"It's called that because our mission is three-fold," Philip explained. "It started as a ministry, a hobby that we didn't see as a full-time business."
The framed-signs hanging on the wall of the coffee shop share the mission with the coffee-consumers.
"Empower the farmer: We want to make sure our farmers are well taken care of. We pursue sourcing avenues that ensure fair wages, safe working conditions and training on sustainable and quality practices.
"End human trafficking: We partner with local and international organizations to end current-day slave labor, whether it be through fundraisers or events that bring awareness to this injustice, we play our part in seeing victims live in freedom.
"Engage the community: We are proud to represent Bulloch County on a global scale and excited to serve our local community. We accomplish this by buying many business inputs locally, volunteering, and of course, providing delicious coffee!"
The Klaymans adopted the mantra early in their business career, and Philip was pleased to see the very words they'd penned several years earlier play out before his eyes when he took a trip to Mexico a couple of months ago.
Philip Klayman joined a group coordinated by Fair Trade USA for a trip to Chiapas, Mexico, the southern-most part of Mexico, near Guatemala. Klayman joined a team of seventeen coffee roasters from across the United States on a trip designed for educational purposes and networking.
"It was an incredible trip," Philip said. "Very eye-opening, to walk in the shoes of the coffee farmer. To see what Fair Trade does on their end."
Philip picked coffee cherries, de-pulped them and saw where the farmers dried them in the sun. "Inside the cherries are usually two seeds, or as we call them, coffee beans."
Klayman met specifically with representatives from CafeMex Cooperative, the cooperative that the Klayman's purchase Mexican coffee from.
Klayman explained the process, in simple terms, like this: "The farmer is part of a cooperative that sells to an importer or exporter who then sells to retailers, like me." Fair Trade USA regulates all of this to make sure the farmer is paid well and taken care of and the consumer gets a good product.
Klayman said in his experience, most Fair Trade is also organic, too, because of the incentives offered to the farmer. Fair Trade encourages and assists with coop and community development, like investing premiums into solar panels so that climate issues can't totally destroy a farmer's livelihood during a bad season.
"It was refreshing to see our mission for the farmer followed through in Mexico," said Klayman. "We're partnered in a bigger cause to raise awareness and support the cause. Kind of a humbling, big-picture thing.
Klayman said he was impressed with how intentional Fair Trade is with each of the co-ops they work with, very hands on.
"The farmers spoke so highly of co-ops and the Fair Trade organization, but said their greatest challenge was climate change," said Klayman. "Unpredictable weather patterns can bring about great crop loss. It's caused us to start asking how we can empower the farmer by addressing climate patterns.
"It's challenged us to look around our coffee shop and ask how we can lower our carbon footprint. What are small changes we can make in our business and bring about awareness - that's what we're asking ourselves."
Philip Klayman brought back coffee-growing enlightenment, new friendships from Mexico and the United States and an even great passion for roasted beans and a three-fold mission at Three Tree Coffee on South Main Street.