In 2012, Max Rivest said goodbye to his family in North Vancouver and set off to attend graduate school in Bordeaux, France. While overseas, an idea blossomed out of a school project: people have been making tea from the leaves of the coffee plant for years, on a small scale. Why not commercialize the product into a viable alternative revenue stream for coffee growers in developing nations?


Since coming back to North Vancouver in 2013, Max and his business partner, Arnaud have dedicated themselves to promoting this “forgotten” leaf with numerous impressive health and socio-economic benefits through the company, Wize Monkey. The biggest hurdle the company has had to overcome is simply awareness; most people aren’t even aware it’s possible to make delicious tea from the leaves of the coffee plant.


Coffee leaf tea is an infusion of 100% arabica leaves. It has more antioxidants than green tea and coffee. It also creates year-round jobs in the coffee industry, which is very rare at the moment.

– Max Rivest, CEO, Wize Monkey

The coffee industry is extremely volatile because farms rely on a single 3-month harvest season to get them through the whole year. This creates an incredibly seasonal business, with only 10% of staff having year-round jobs. There are price fluctuations every decade that cripple entire economies, and this causes deadly famines. In the early 2000’s, coffee prices dropped so hard that three of Nicaragua’s major banks defaulted, putting the entire country in a spiral and 70 children died due to a lack of food, medicine and shelter. This caused civil unrest and serious strife in the country.


Moved by this issue, Max and Arnaud went to Nicaragua to source coffee leaf tea and see how it can fix the global coffee industry. After several months of developing the idea, they’ve come back with a revolutionary tea.

To get this tea into full production, they’re running a Kickstarter Campaign with a $40,000 goal:

You can pledge to the Wize Monkey Kickstarter Campaign here. The campaign ends on December 7th, 2014.

We are risking everything to make this work and we hope that people care. Why shouldn’t they? With this idea, we can improve thousands, if not millions of peoples’ lives in a much more sustainable way AND get a tasty and healthy drink in return.

– Max Rivest, CEO, Wize Monkey

Wize Monkey is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Soundcloud or you can download their press kit here

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