- Associated Press - Saturday, January 2, 2016

CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) - At first glance, CHI Coffee in Caldwell looks like just another place to get a latte, but at this coffee house, each cup serves a higher purpose.

Owner Nate Banta opened CHI Coffee as a nonprofit to support the work of Child Help International. The mochas, espressos and drip coffee sold at the shop raise funds for Banta’s organization to build children’s homes around the globe. The coffee is also sourced directly from farmers through nonprofits in Honduras, Laos and Uganda.

“When we buy the coffee to create the drinks here, we’re helping out those communities as well through those nonprofits,” Banta said.

At the age of 14, Banta decided that he wanted to devote his life to helping others. He was raised to be a humanitarian, and is now raising his own children that same way.

Banta started Child Help International in 2001 when he was a college student in Boise. He had gone with groups to Mexico to help impoverished children and created the organization to fund that work.

The goal now is to build children’s homes in 27 countries by 2027. Sales at CHI Coffee will go toward that goal.

“Right now, it’s funding two children’s homes that I’m heading over to build in January in India,” he said.

Banta has traveled the world doing work for people in need. That international influence can be seen at the coffee house from the artwork on the walls to the unique spices in his signature drink, the Mombasa Mocha.

Banta’s travels also gave him an appreciation for coffee, particularly the refined European style that he experienced in Spain and Italy. He came up with the idea for the coffee shop while in Kenya, where he also trained as a barista.

“The coffee that we used was grown right in our own backyards in Kenya,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to visit the farms, to see the cherries growing on the bushes and see the process of creating coffee and learning how to be a barista, as well.”

That’s where the Mombasa Mocha was born. Banta took the spices from masala tea, which is popular in Kenya, and combined that with macadamia nuts and chocolate. It’s the most popular specialty drink at CHI Coffee.

Banta’s sister, Heather Grever, helps him at the coffee house and brought her experience in the food industry with her.

“I’ve always been in cahoots with my brother and whatever he’s doing,” she said. “So from lemonade stands when we were kids to coffee shops when we’re older, it always seems to work out with him.”


Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com

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