Our commitment to clean water



We’ve committed as a company to support clean water projects around the globe by partnering up with Living Water International, and here’s why.

In this post we’ll tell you about:

  1. How clean water plays into the ZetEo Coffee story.

  2. How access to water impacts communities

  3. How we plan to do our part to help

Exceptional coffee requires a high standard of water quality. Similarly a high standard of life requires a high standard of water quality.”


We’re transparent with our staff and our customers when we tell our story. We tell them that supporting clean water projects was not a part of our original plans whenever we began dreaming about and planning Zetêo Coffee ten years ago (as I write this in 2017). Back in 2007 social business wasn’t something that we were aware of, but with the success of Tom’s Shoes (started in 2006) and other local businesses around us like Tacos 4 Life, we realized that it is possible to have a for-profit business while at the same time giving company dollars towards a cause that helps solve a bigger problem.

Why water?

The definition of water is a colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms.

After reading that definition, words like, “simple”, “pure”, “basic”, and “life” immediately came to mind. Water is such a simple and pure element, and yet it’s one of the most basic and essential parts of all life. It’s plentiful on the earth but not all of the water on the planet is acceptable for supporting life.

As the years past and we began to travel more with our local church on international mission trips, we started to see first-hand the impact that clean water has on people.

Between 2010 and 2013 we traveled to Rwanda, East Africa several times, and we witnessed the amount of time and energy that many times, the women and children of the communities  devoted to obtaining drinking water for their families on a daily basis. Most times getting water means walking several miles to a shared “water hole” that may or may not be readily suitable for drinking. They will carry one or two empty five gallon jugs to the water source and then have to carry full vessels, weighing approximately 41 pounds each, back for several miles, on foot.

This is an extremely time consuming and labor intensive activity, but it’s essential to life.


So let’s look at the bigger picture, beyond daily life, of how this impacts people in these parts of the world.

If children are spending hours and hours each day helping their mothers or fathers haul water, then they’re most likely not going to school to further their education.

This means that they get stuck in a perpetual cycle of not being able to improve their situation. They’re not gaining valuable knowledge and skills that could be used to provide a better future for their family.  If mothers and fathers are spending this time gathering water then they’re not in a position to spend that time being entrepreneurial, or working to provide financially.

You can see how the lack of access to something like water can quickly have an enormous impact on a community.

Making a Difference

You may be reading this and saying, “that all sounds pretty heavy, and these people probably live far away from me, how can I make a difference”. That’s a great question, and a question that there’s a hopeful answer for. Living Water International is an organization that we at Zetêo Coffee partner with, and they are passionate and focused on making clean water accessible to the communities that need it.

Water access is about more than just installing water systems. It’s about installing the right systems, which might mean water wells, rainwater harvesting, protected springs, or something else entirely. And it’s about helping whole communities and regions have enough safe, accessible, reliable water to significantly improve the lives of the people who live there.

LWI (Living Water International) has the expertise to go and be the hands and feet on the ground to help make these clean water systems available. What they require to do this work is financial and human resources, and that’s where we (and you) come in.

We determined before we launched our first store in 2015 that we would give 5% of our profits to LWI to be applied to water projects in the parts of the world most needed. That means whenever customers decide to do business with Zetêo Coffee, they are automatically partnering with us in impacting communities across the globe by helping to provide them with clean water.

If you know anything about a new small business though, you know that true profitability from month to month can sometimes be a challenge while the business is establishing itself. We believe in this cause enough, and in the power of giving, that we’ve decided that we will give in faith on a monthly basis regardless of profits.

Let us know if you have any questions or if you’re curious about how you can get involved more in helping with this cause.

Jon Mitchell

Founder & Owner - Zetêo Coffee