Coffee Leaf Tea: Stay Focused and Reduce Your Impact with the Coffee Plant’s Best Kept Secret

Coffee leaf tea is both a new concept and an old one. It was the original way to consume the coffee plant in Ethiopia, but it’s not very well-known today.

Max Rivest, Co-Founder and CEO of Wize Monkey, explains how coffee leaf tea has the potential to impact the coffee industry in a huge way, and why you should try it the next time you’re looking for a healthy, calm energy and focus for your day.

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What is coffee leaf tea?

Coffee leaf tea is made by infusing the leaves of the coffee plant. In Ethiopia, people have been drinking coffee leaf tea for hundreds of years. Roasting the beans of the coffee plant only began in the 15th century in Egypt, and then Europeans caught on some time around the 1700s resulting in a huge boom in popularity.


Traditionally in Ethiopia, the way to prepare the coffee leaves for making tea is by plucking the leaves and sun drying them, then brewing them in hot water. However, if you don’t process it at all, it has a very green, bitter flavor. If treated and processed like a traditional tea, the flavor is smooth and slightly sweet, with no traces of bitterness at all.

When the body says no

Max Rivest discovered coffee leaf tea after overdosing on caffeine. At one point, he was drinking upwards of six coffees a day to get through finals and work projects, even adding espresso for an extra boost of energy.

Eventually, his body started shutting down, unable to handle levels of over 800mg of caffeine a day in addition to unhealthy eating and sleeping habits. He was sick for two weeks.

His doctor told him he’d overdosed on caffeine, and that he needed to cut coffee out completely for a while to allow his body to heal.

Being over-caffeinated is often glorified and associated with productivity, but it can be very dangerous and extremely hard on the body.

Health benefits of coffee leaf tea

Max began researching coffee alternatives such as tea, but at the time in 2013, he wasn’t able to find many tea brands who were doing interesting and new things. That’s when he came across a study about coffee leaf tea.

The study said the potential for antioxidants was higher than green tea, and that there were many other possible health benefits. More studies have been released and are currently being conducted that confirm these findings and offer more reasons to consider adding the beverage to your morning routine.

Coffee leaf tea not only tastes great and is easy to brew, but it has about as much caffeine as a light green tea (around 18mg per 8 oz) and provides an overall better focused awareness and calm energy with way less stress on your body, your brain, and your nervous system.

Coffee leaf tea is delicious and easy to make

Even if you are a coffee or regular tea drinker, it’s nice to have diversity. If you do anything all the time, your body becomes habituated to it, so why not give your palate a break, your neurochemistry a break, and your gut bacteria a break from the same thing every day?

Brewing yourself a solid, proper pot of coffee leaf tea is so simple. For some kinds of tea, you have specific steep times and temperatures, but with coffee leaf tea you don’t have to worry about that. Just boil water and steep your tea.

For daily drinking, one of the best things about coffee leaf tea is that you can leave it in your cup or pot all day, and it doesn’t get bitter. If you want more tea, just add more hot water.

Coffee leaf tea is great for coffee farmers

Everyone knows what coffee is, but many people don’t know the beans are only harvested three months out of the year. Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world behind oil, and it is the third-most consumed beverage in the world behind water and tea.

As Max began researching the coffee industry, he realized that 80-90% of the coffee industry is unemployed or underemployed during the nine months of the year when the coffee is not being harvested, due to the nature of the growth cycle of the beans.

Over 25 million people work directly on coffee farms globally, but these people are only making money those three months when the coffee is being harvested.

The coffee bean is a huge source of economic value, but if farmers can also use the leaves--which can be harvested during the off season without interfering with coffee bean production--as another means of income as well, that can have a great benefit to the social elevation of coffee farmers all over the world.

The Wize Monkey Ethos

Wize Monkey has already employed over 120 people over this off-season and created over 50,000 work hours. School attendance in the area has been consistent now due to readily-available work and job-security, resulting in every kid being able to graduate in the last two years since they’ve been active.

Inspired by five families of howler monkeys that live on Wize Monkey’s partner coffee farm in Nicaragua, Max and his team came up with the idea for the brand.

“Wize” monkeys are clever problem solvers, they live in harmony with nature, and they make collective decisions for the benefit of the group. The Wize Monkey brand is about recognizing your impact on the world. “Wise people make wise choices,” says Max.

Wize Monkey Coffee Leaf Teas are sold in over 830 locations across North America, in the US and in Canada. They also sell on Amazon Prime and directly through their website, which is their favorite way to connect with customers.

Key takeaways:

  • After overdosing on caffeine from coffee, Max Rivest decided to take a break from coffee and discovered coffee leaf tea

  • The original way to consume the coffee plant in Ethiopia was to drink tea from the leaves rather than roasting the beans

  • There are many potential health benefits to coffee leaf tea, and it is much lower in caffeine than coffee

  • Coffee leaf tea is sustainable: it provides a solution to the seasonal nature of the coffee industry because the leaves can be harvested during the off season

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