Nestled in the middle of Federal Hill, Vanuatu Coffee Roasters is a coffee bean in the rough. Although it’s only been open for business less than a year, Jimmy Lappin’s rare and organic beans are making quite a splash in the Providence coffee scene.
Lappin is on a mission. After a successful career in Silicon Valley, he needed a change. While watching an episode of “Survivor” that showed a volcano erupting, he thought to himself, “one day, I’ll go there and see it for myself.” And that he did. He found himself on a little island two hours off the coast of Fiji where he fell in love with the landscape and the natives. After a crazy night out, a cup of smooth, black coffee was placed in front of him and his life was changed forever.
The name of the coffee shop comes from the location where the coffee is grown in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. Their beans are nothing but organic. There is no fertilizer, manure, or compost used- just 9 feet of rain per year and ash from a volcano that erupts every 20 minutes. Boom.
Vanuatu Coffee Roasters has a big goal: to “introduce the United States and its discerning coffee drinkers to one of the most delicious, exotic and rare coffees on the planet from Tanna Island in the Republic of Vanuatu. ” This is no small feat since all of Vanuatu’s coffee could fit into 1/4 of Central Park in New York.
For Lappin, the best part of his job is helping to preserve the culture of Vanuatu. More young men are able to stay on the island and work, rather than travel to Australia and New Zealand to provide for their families. Compared to other growers, Vanuatu Coffee Roasters is even better than fair trade. They believe in a simpler model called “direct trade” which creates a strong bond with the farmers. Natives have a more viable cash crop to sell and are able to stay in their community and with their families.
Now, what drink should you order on your first trip to Vanuatu Coffee Roasters? Lappin recommends “The Rhody” which is their signature drink. With light sweetness and chocolate undertones, it is sure to satisfy any coffee lover. Go ahead and enjoy a pastry or breakfast sandwich with that organic, better than fair trade coffee. You deserve it (and they’re also made in house.)
So run, don’t walk, and get your next cuppa from Vanuatu Coffee Roasters.