Helen Russell + Brooke McDonnell

"When you purchase the land, you inherit the people. They become our responsibility." - Helen Russell, Co-Founder, Equator Coffees + Tea

Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell have been roasting their hearts out for 18 years. Before fair trade was on anyone’s radar, Helen and Brooke knew intuitively that quality leads to sustainability. As first adopters of practices that support an empowered chain of supply, they have focused on relationships, impact and quality. The Equator Championista model has enabled Brooke and Helen to purchase land in Cerro Punto, Panama where they are slowly building a model farm their customers can also experience.

Equator was awarded the Small Business Administration 2016 Small Business of the Year.  


Roast Rider: Why do you do it? 

HR: "To be the best? no. To be the best for the world. Yes!"

A small big-league player, Equator won the 2013 Roaster’s Guild award. Think World Series for Specialty Coffee Roasters, but better, because it’s an award given to specialty coffee roasters, by specialty coffee roasters.

Helen & Brooke at the top of Finca Sophia.jpg