Celebrities brew up coffee for charity
The Associated Press March 8, 2012 9:46PM
In this Feb. 6, 2012 photo taken in Concord, N.H., a variety of products from Hugh Jackman's Laughing Man Coffee & Tea company, is shown. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Updated: April 10, 2012 11:41AM
You know you like your cup of Joe in the morning. But are you ready for a cup of Hugh?
We are, of course, talking about actor Hugh Jackman, who recently launched a coffee and tea company that raises money for charity.
Philanthropy is the driving force behind Jackman’s involvement in the coffee world. In a telephone interview he talked about being inspired by the late Paul Newman and his company, Newman’s Own, which has donated millions to charity. But it’s not the only reason.
The other factor? Taste.
“Hey, I’m a coffee snob,” says Jackman, who could drink coffee “all day, because I just love it,” but limits himself to one or two cups. “If I’m buying it, I want a great cup of coffee. If you can have a great cup of coffee and the profits of that company are actually going back to different charities, I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Jackman’s interest in creating a coffee company was sparked during a tour he took as an ambassador for World Vision. In Ethiopia, he met Dukale, a local coffee farmer, and was struck by how hard he worked to look after his family, and by how a little help could make a big difference in the lives of coffee farmers.
In a piece of synchronicity, he discovered that a friend, Barry Steingard, who has 25 years experience in the coffee and restaurant industry, was planning on getting back in the coffee business. “I said, ‘Well, do you need a partner?’” Jackman said.
So far, Laughing Man Coffee & Tea — chocolates were also recently added — is the first subsidiary under Jackman’s umbrella company, Laughing Man Worldwide. The way it works is 50 percent of the subsidiary profits go to the parent company, which then donates 100 percent of its profits.
And Jackman’s not the only java star.
Leonardo DiCaprio is partnering with the La Colombe Torrefaction coffee company to create a special blend, LYON, with net profits earmarked for environmental projects supported by the actor’s foundation.
Meanwhile, Newman’s daughter, Nell Newman, partnered with Vermont’s Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. to source, roast, package and distribute fair trade organic coffee under the Newman’s Own Organics label.