Indigo Valley: Selling Ethical Coffee for God’s Glory

We're collaborating with Indigo Valley coffee to release children from poverty in Jesus' name. Indigo Valley produce high quality, carbon neutral, Fairtrade and ethical coffee. Try it today!

Brewing hope around the world with ethical coffee

Andrew from Indigo Valley ethical coffee

Andrew Salsbury describes himself as a Christian, husband, and father. He is passionate about living out his faith in every aspect of his life. And as CEO of Indigo Valley Coffee Company, he is using coffee to brew hope around the world.

“As a Christian and as a business owned by Christians, we should be making a positive difference. Whether it’s through coffee or anything else, it doesn’t matter, a Christian business should be distinctive,” says Andrew.

“Coffee is the vehicle we work with, and if we can’t make a difference in the world around us in Jesus’ name then we really don’t have a business that’s worth getting up for in the morning.”

Not only is the coffee ethically sourced, but for about a decade, the company has been supporting children living in extreme poverty through Compassion’s child sponsorship programme and, more recently, income generating projects in Ethiopia.

But Andrew didn’t start Indigo Valley with the intentions of being the business it is today.

The UK coffee subscription company started in 2005 as a favour for a friend

Enjoy ethical coffee with friends

“We started off with the sole purpose of helping our friends in the local church provide great Fairtrade filter coffee. There was no commercial side to it. It was literally to provide a good environment for people to stay behind after the service to talk, to minister to one another, to support and encourage one another. Good coffee is a part of that process. So that’s why we started,” explains Andrew.

“It was more mission focussed than business focussed.”

Once news got out, more churches began asking Indigo Valley to supply them with coffee.

“We [grew] very quickly from one church to nearly 2,000 churches in almost no time at all. Because there was a huge hunger, a huge need, to provide great refreshments after church.”

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Has Indigo Valley become another profit-seeking business?

Andrew is adamant that profit is not the main motivation for the business. It’s important, yes, but it’s not the reason why Indigo Valley now sells tea and coffee subscriptions.

Indigo Valley is absolutely not set up to be a profit centre. We do make a profit. We want to make a profit. We should make a profit. We’re a business… But it’s not our primary focus. But by having profits, we can do other things for good with those profits,” says Andrew.

“As a Christian business, we should be distinctive in the world around us whatever we’re doing – whether it’s selling coffee or anything else, it doesn’t matter… and we do think we are making a positive difference in what we do, in the way we employ, in the way we trade and in the way we care for the environment, it is always done in Jesus’ name, hoping folk will see a difference and be drawn to Him.

“It’s hard to proclaim the gospel if at the back end of the business we’re not using the same gospel principles that we do in the rest of our lives.”

It’s about being faithful to Jesus

It’s this desire to be faithful to Jesus – to do good in His name – that is driving Indigo Valley’s operations.

“We go beyond what is normally commercially viable. We [help run] many more social enterprise cafes. That was the logical step for a company like ours. Not to chase the big-ticket sales but to support churches through their community projects which are typically church cafes and other social enterprise cafes,” says Andrew.

“We support and train these enterprises and give them guidance. In fact, we even employed someone who used to run a social enterprise café just so we can deliver [the support] from a knowledge base. It’s about going the extra mile and walking alongside someone to see them flourish.”

Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certification is also important to the coffee they source.

“Why do we stick with Fairtrade coffee? The bigger question is why somebody would not want to use a product that’s been externally verified as being ethically sourced, [good for the environment], that stops child exploitation, that pays a fair wage. I can’t see why people might not want to have it.

“All these things are what we as Christians should be looking for in all the products that we are using.”

It’s about being ambassadors for Christ

Andrew from Indigo Valley ethical coffee

For Andrew, running the business as a Christian has profound implications for the way the business operates.

“We want to be ambassadors. When we interact with the outside world, with other businesses, they are slightly taken aback with our approach. And that can be simple things like paying our bills immediately, not trying to drive the price down aggressively, being fair when things go wrong,” Andrew explains.

“If, as Christians, we can demonstrate what underpins us, through good Godly business practice, then actually we open up the way for Gospel conversations.”

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Giving back to the community as a family

Indigo Valley is a massive part of what we do as a family,” says Andrew.

“We’ve provided many cafes and refreshment facilities to events all over the UK. For example, we provided the café at the Keswick Convention for several years, and that was a wonderful family experience.

“We were there as Indigo Valley, but to be honest with you, we were all there [as a family]. My children were serving behind the counter. My wife was there making sure no one tripped over the children. We had great fellowship, and we had great teaching from Keswick, but more than that, we were able as a family to contribute and give back.”

Giving back to the world through Compassion UK

Andrew says his family has supported Compassion for some time.

“My wife has always been a Compassion supporter. I’ve seen first-hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of letters from the children - being able to pray for and write back to a sponsored child. I’ve seen the power in that,” Andrew explains.

“As a business we wanted to [contribute to] a Christian charity that supported people in extreme poverty practically, but also and essentially with the Gospel.

“It isn’t enough to give aid and relief to people. Nor is it acceptable to give a gospel message without any care or compassion.

“For the non-Christian, this world is as good as it gets. For the believer, this world is the worst that it gets. [Compassion] combines practical application of gospel principles today, with the hope of eternal life.”

With the launch of the Compassion coffee store and coffee subscription service, Indigo Valley is now contributing £1 from every pack of coffee or tea sold to income-generating Compassion projects in Ethiopia.

Chaltu with her children

These are projects that support parents like Chaltu and her husband Abebe. When Covid-19 restrictions took away job security, making many caregivers rely on food distribution from Compassion’s church partners, Chaltu and Abebe were able to provide for their families during the crisis because they were involved in income-generating farming activities.

“Had it not been for the income-generating scheme the [Compassion] project facilitated for us, we would have been in the same position as those who depended only on food distributions from the church,” says Chaltu.

“Considering our family size, I can tell you for sure that I wouldn’t have been able to feed my children, let alone have a clear work plan and secure farmland for next year. I get chills just thinking about what I would have done.”

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Indigo Valley’s Business Pitch

Andrew is encouraging other businesses to get on board and support Compassion.

Pouring different types of coffee

“Actually, it’s really simple. If you know of a business where their staff drink coffee and they’d like to swap to Indigo Valley’s carbon-neutral coffee…we’ll guarantee that Compassion will also benefit. Simply get them to choose “Compassion” in the dropdown box as they sign up for an account and Compassion will gain 10% from the coffee sales that are raised from your business,” says Andrew.

You’ve read it here first.

A business is willing to give away a part of its profits to restore hope to children and families living in extreme poverty – to help secure a better future. And your business can be a part of that too.

If you want to join Indigo Valley and help change the world, visit their website.

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Agnes Wilson

Words by Agnes Wilson


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