IImage: Dean, leaning on our Loring coffee roaster, holding a coffee mug. Behind him is a mural of a coffee farm, with a woman holding a full basket of red coffee cherries.
Dean Cycon founded in Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company in 1993 after working as an environmental and indigenous rights lawyer. He set out to prove that a for-profit business could create meaningful change through ethical business practices rooted in respect for the earth, the farmer, our co-workers and the consumer.
Dean spent over a decade as an indigenous rights and environmental lawyer before bringing those skills to the coffee industry by co-founding Coffee Kids, the coffee industry’s first non-profit development organization, in 1988. Yet after designing and managing the development arm of Coffee Kids for five years, Dean decided that charity wasn’t enough – until businesses changed their fundamental operating principles there would be no meaningful impact on the lives of the farmers. He founded Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee in 1993 with the mission of using specialty coffee as a vehicle for positive social, economic and ecological change at origin.
Dean has been a Woods Hole Research Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Yale Law School Visiting Fellow.
Dean’s book about social justice, culture and coffee, “Javatrekker: Dispatches from the World of Fair Trade Coffee” was awarded the Gold Medal as Best Travel Essay book of 2008 by the Independent Publishers Association, and has been published in English, Korean and Chinese.