The Seeds Global Family: Ahn and Mookie’s Story
Seeds Coffee Company was born in Homewood, Alabama, but our footprint is global. We have built strong relationships with growers and importers from all over the planet, bringing their coffee – and their stories – from far abroad to right here in Birmingham.
In a very real sense, we’ve built the Seeds global family, and one of our newest partners – Auxano Coffee – has become a part of this growing movement.
We’d like to talk a little about Auxano Coffee and share a story from two of our friends, Mookie and Ahn.
Coffee, a Florida Girl, and a Khmu Man from the Jungle
Auxano Coffee is a startup coffee cooperative that works to bring delicious coffee all the way from Laos to the world.
How this cooperative was started is a great story, because it starts with two very different people from very different walks of life in two very different parts of the world that have learned morphing different cultures and using their different strengths can accomplish much. And that humility, excellence and community produces great fruit.
It started with a Florida girl named Mookie. Mookie was a college student not too long ago when she made a trip to southeast Asia to study its rich and diverse culture. She made it to Laos, specifically the beautiful Bolaven Plateau in the southern part of the country, and there she met the Khmu people.
The Khmu people are a tribal group that has lived off the land for thousands of years. Now with development they are joining the cash crop commodity world. To Mookie, it was literally entering another world, this one centered around a coffee plantation, where the people lived in small villages full of huts with a completely different pace of life.
There, she learned more about the Khmu people, and they eventually would become family to her. Over time she and Ahn observed the people’s relationship with coffee- primarily as the labor that made it possible, but a labor force that was largely shut out from reaping the benefits of growing one of the world’s most prized commodities. During this journey, she met a coffee farmer named Ahn.
In Mookie’s own words, they were able to unite despite their many differences:
“He (Anh) grew up in the North of Laos, with no electricity, sometimes no home, hunting for food in the jungle, and walking five hours for poor education. People looked down on his family, saying they were too poor and had too many people, and that nobody would ever marry any of them. He had a huge heart, never stopped dreaming, and is a natural linguist and musician.
He was quiet, she was talkative; she was passionate, he was a steady, strong calm; she read books, he knew the land. They fell in love and lived with his people on the Bolaven Plateau. The more they learned about coffee, the more they saw the injustice and exclusion of farmers from the market – and the more they obsessed over amazing specialty coffees grown in their very own community and all over the world.
Ahn and Mookie would see each other regularly over the next few years, connecting deeper over their dreams and the love of his people. In December 2015, after graduating from college, Mookie moved to Laos. And that following summer, the summer of 2016, Mookie and Anh married, permanently joining two very different cultures.
Auxano Coffee and Seeds
They took a few years to learn alongside the Khmu people about what were the best coffee practices and what was practical for the people. But excellence was always the goal. They are slowly and steadily building great profiles in coffee on the Bolaven Plateau. Auxano is creating a really special community and bridging the gap between the artistic coffee shops and baristas with the artisan producing farmers across the world.
As Mookie would say, they’re still learning, but their dedication to each other, their community, and their Lord is helping them spread a message of hope and love through coffee – a mission that is near and dear to our hearts. And we’re proud to be playing a small part in their story and the stories of farmers just like them from all over the world.