Salt + Light Coffee Co.
Morgan Darr tasted her first sip of coffee at age 6.
It was black, and she drank it with a sugar cookie covered in sprinkles.
“I say that was the pivotal moment in my life; that’s when I knew coffee was my destiny,” she said, joking slightly.
When she turned 14, Darr, who attended Central Christian School in Kidron, wrote a research paper on fair trade and discovered the injustices coffee farmers face in developing countries.
“Coffee farmers get so overlooked,” she said. “It’s something we drink every day, and we don’t even think twice about the person who produced it.”
Darr said she knew then that she wanted to be a fair-trade,
direct-trade, farm-to-cup coffee importer.
“To know of the problem and not do anything about it was the equivalent to supporting the problem,” Darr said. “Since I knew of all these problems, I just felt this weight to do something about it.”
It was at age 18 when Darr realized it was the farmers in Haiti who needed her.
Darr had become friends with a girl from Haiti who had enrolled in Darr’s high school. She soon learned the girl’s uncle owns one of the two primary coffee companies in Thiotte, Haiti, a mountain town in southeast Haiti near the border of the Dominican Republic.
Darr flew to Haiti a month after graduating high school in 2016 to learn about the Caribbean country’s coffee industry. It took her six hours, driving on nearly impassable, dry river beds, to reach the coffee farmers.
“I was really shocked to see how severe the poverty is, and the trash and the children with no shoes on,” Darr said. “Anytime you leave the country for the first time and immerse yourself into a culture in a developing country, it is an eye-opening and life-changing experience. You can’t leave the same person.”
Darr officially launched Salt + Light Coffee Co. in February 2017 as a direct import coffee company.
Working with the farmers in Thiotte, Haiti, Darr imports their coffee into the United States and then sells it through her company’s website, saltandlight.coffee. She offers 4- and 12-ounce bags of coffee online, but also sells larger quantities to grocery stores, churches, offices and boutiques.
Darr said the coffee brewed from the Arabica beans of Haiti contains notes of chocolate with a smooth flavor and without the bitter aftertaste that accompanies many other dark roasts.
Now, at age 21, Darr, who lives in Magnolia, is looking to expand. She has doubled the number of coffee farmers she works with in Haiti, and she’s planning to partner with importers from Cleveland to begin offering some medium roasts from Guatemala.
“It was just destiny,” she said. “It fell into my lap. I can’t take credit for anything.”