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Meet Lilian Alves of Beantween Coffee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lilian Alves.

Lilian, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Fifteen years ago, my family and I came to the US because my husband was pursuing his law degree at UCLA. Our children were five and seven-years-old at the time, and after my husband finished his studies we decided to invest in our careers here so as to give our kids the best possible education and officially call LA our home.

We certainly have come a long way; it was not an easy beginning by any means. I can recall crying at times because I could not understand all of what my children’s teachers were saying about them. One of the teachers even bought an English/Portuguese dictionary to communicate with my son and me. It was so helpful and sweet!

Fueled by my entrepreneurial spirit, I wanted to have my own career in the US as well. I returned to school and soon after opened my own home-based Interior Design Boutique called “Alves Concepts Space Designs.” While the kids were at school, I had so much fun making people’s homes more enjoyable with my designs.

Years down the road with my kids now in college, I had the opportunity to develop my own coffee business so I accepted the challenge! Are you wondering what happened to my interior design business? Well, I decided to put it on hold for a while. This was a decision I made based on my heritage. When my ancestors from Italy and Portugal immigrated to Brazil, they began their own business as farmers growing coffee.

I grew up going to my grandparents’ farm, playing in the coffee plantation and enjoying the freshly roasted coffee every day. Those priceless memories of being at their table, enjoying homemade bread and drinking fresh coffee have been ingrained in my mind ever since, and they certainly had an impact on my decision to jump from a design business to a commodity business.

Has it been a smooth road?
As an entrepreneur, I would say from personal experience that no business is easy to start. You must educate yourself on the industry you are pursuing, have a strong sense of determination and work your hardest, be able to accept failure, meet and connect with people, be transparent in all things you do, and have patience. With this attitude, you will gain people’s trust, charisma, and friendship. We need people to believe in us and give our us the chance to prove to them our capabilities, while simultaneously supporting them when we can.

I have to give credit where credit is due to the amazing people that have helped me along the way and continue to support me through this journey. My college teachers, classmates, clients, our faith community, family, and friends that always believed in me (even with my accent!) have truly helped to build my foundation and confidence.

Unfortunately, when you have an accent, it seems that people can underestimate your intelligence. I’ve had so much to share and learn that many times I became overwhelmed, and chose to keep quiet because I did not know how to express myself. The process of adjusting to a new country is not an easy task by any means, and I thank God for the right people He sent my way that love and support me.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Beantween Coffee story. Tell us more about the business.
We are a family owned coffee roasting company with a mission to give back to the community. Our purpose at Beantween Coffee is and always will be to give back to the community through our business as much as we can. We have even created a fundraising program to help non-profit organizations reach their goals. Each time a customer purchases our coffee, we donate 10% of the proceeds to an organization! Clients can choose which organization will benefit, and we will donate on their behalf.

As president of the company, I want to uphold the same standard of excellence on which our company was founded. From the beginning, we set out to share the coffees from the best farms in Brazil. Farms which are certified in Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance, they too value excellence in their trade.

After being educated in the coffee world, I do not regret my decision to pursue this endeavor in the slightest. I love being challenged, and I am proud to provide the best of Brazil’s coffee to people all over the US. We import the green beans (raw beans) from Brazil and roast it once a week in Long Beach. Our Gourmet Coffee comes from proud coffee growers that work hard to deliver the best coffee for us. They like to send us videos with updates to show how beautiful the coffee trees are growing, and in fact, we just received one of them making coffee in the morning at the farm- priceless!

We want to stand out for our quality product, and our mission of helping others. We are proud to support organizations through our fundraising program. For instance, Chemocessories was founded by a cancer survivor and she believes it is of great importance to help women feel positive when battling cancer, and that treatment in no way diminishes the beautiful woman within. By putting together sets of scarves, turbans, and jewelry and donating them to women undergoing treatment, Chemocessories can help lift spirits, boost self-confidence and help provide a smile during such a difficult time.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
I believe that within the next 5 years the coffee community will expand due to the fact that it has already grown into the Third Wave Era (this is a generation that is currently allowing the ability to enjoy specialty coffee as more than a commodity; gourmet coffee is becoming an art, if you will, and shops offering such creations are blossoming).

I feel that the shift and changing alongside the Third Wave Generation lies in the customer’s instant customization of their coffee. For example, at Beantween Coffee, one has the opportunity to choose the flavors, not because it is added to the coffee, but it is natural from that specific crop.

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  1. Iris Lee Knell

    August 21, 2018 at 20:24

    We are so grateful for this support,not only is Lillian supporting our organization by donating 10% of sales to our organization and other non profits, she is involved. She has helped us to make sets for the women who contact our organization with her elegant sense of style and truly believes in our mission.

    • Lilian Alves

      September 4, 2018 at 20:21

      Thank you, Iris, for the kind words! I am honored to support Chemocessories! I am amazed and inspired by your attitude because I know you have your own practice as a Clinical Social Work/Therapist, and you still make time to be the angel to so many women battling cancer, and that is a great example how not to excuse ourselves to help someone. Thank you for this opportunity!

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