A Q&A with Tattered Beans

Get familiar with our partner, Tattered Beans. The following is an interview with Tattered team member Amanda James.

What is the inspiration behind Tattered Beans?


Our founder is an Air Force veteran, who had dreams of being a lifer. Unfortunately, his dreams were cut short due to injury and he was honorably discharged. That experience has left him with a deep appreciation for all veterans, especially those who had the honor of serving during wartime, as he did not. Tattered Beans and our founder deeply respect the physical and mental strain, time away from home and family, and all the sacrifices our veterans have made. Being a disabled veteran gave our founder firsthand experience of how much red-tape veterans deal with when it comes to the VA. Throughout his entire entrepreneurial career, he has made it a point to give back to veterans through every business that he’s owned. When he was operating cafes, he had a pay it forward program to help feed homeless veterans throughout Central PA. During this time, our founder started a coffee brand. Through the combination of assisting veterans and founding a coffee brand, an idea was born. Statistically, if 64% of Americans drink coffee daily, why not use coffee as a vehicle to get more donations driven directly to veterans? Our 12-ounce retail bag sells for $12, and $4 of that price goes directly to a veteran of the customer’s choice.


What is the mission of Tattered Beans?


The mission of Tattered Beans is straightforward: give back directly to veterans. We literally cut checks to individual veterans every single month. We feel that doing this shows veterans that they are still important, that they are still cared about, that they matter, that their sacrifice is important, and that they made a difference in someone’s life.


When did you start Tattered Beans?


The concept behind Tattered Beans started in 2017. We knew we wanted to donate directly to veterans, and we knew coffee was the way to do it. We just had to finalize the little details, like how and what do we need to get started. Tattered Beans was officially launched in the fourth quarter of 2018 with our two websites: https://tatteredbeans.com and https://vets.tatteredbeans.com.


How does a customer buy your coffee and how does the customer know money is going right to a veteran?


The customer shopping experience is simple, fun, and transparent. First, customers go to https://tatteredbeans.com. Once on the site, the customer chooses a veteran or military branch to shop under. Then, the customer chooses their delicious coffee and checks out. Simple as that! Customers can choose one veteran or military branch or however many they choose to support; the choice is theirs. After they check out, the Tattered Beans team then cuts a check directly to the individual veteran chosen. If the customer does not know an individual veteran and they choose a military branch to shop under instead, the Team then takes that money and gives it to a veteran under that branch who had little or no donations that month.


How do veterans get signed up?


Veterans, or their loved ones, can go to https://vets.tatteredbeans.com and submit all requested information. We have no age requirement; we simply require that the veteran was honorably discharged. We are always adding veterans to our database so that we can assist as many veterans as possible. We did run into one obstacle while we were working on this, but we quickly overcame it. Not all veterans wanted help or wanted to admit they needed help. So, we give veterans the option to choose if they get the money, or if it’s donated to another veteran or organization when submitting a profile. That way, we can help as many veterans as possible.


Is coffee sold online only?


Tattered Beans coffee is available only on our website: https://tatteredbeans.com. We keep sales online to be able to maximize the direct donations to veterans. Online sales allow our overhead costs to be controlled, while providing us a way to track donations to veterans and streamline our processes.


Do you roast your own coffee?


We co-package our coffee. Having partnered with someone who is able to do this allows us to concentrate on pushing our mission to as many people as possible and donate the maximum amount we can directly to veterans. We found a wonderful roaster, after a two year search, that has perfected their roasting and manufacturing process. Our roaster imports beans from Central and South America, then roasts them in Lancaster County, PA. Our coffee is vacuum sealed, but we do recommend keeping it away from light and humidity as much as possible for maximum enjoyment.


Are you a non-profit?


Tattered Beans is a for profit company. We are very transparent that the company operates on $1 per bag of coffee sold. We donate $4 directly to veterans, and the rest of the money covers the cost of manufacturing the coffee, packaging, etc.


What makes Tattered Beans different from other veterans’ organizations out there?


Direct donation to veterans makes Tattered Beans different from other organization. We don’t have to go through all the red tape to donate to veterans; we cut checks directly to them. There are several organizations out there that seem to be or have been caught trying to get rich off the backs of veterans. We don’t want to be part of that group. Tattered Beans is completely transparent with our direct donation to veterans and how much is made off each bag. When we’re on the news, it will be for making a big, positive difference in veterans’ lives.


What is your goal for Tattered Beans?


Tattered Beans has set a goal of selling one million bags of coffee by the end of 2020. One million bags of coffee sold translates to us being able to donate $4 million directly to veterans. Imagine the difference that would make in veterans’ lives. While that is our end goal, our big goal, our daily goal is to make a difference in a veteran’s life. If we can make one single veteran feel that they mattered just a little bit more, then that is success in our book.