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Connecting Women to Change the World

Episode 028

Phoenix Roasters – Brian Holland & Britt Mooney

Episode Summary

Hey Change Maker!

Hey Change Maker! My guests this week are Brian Holland and Britt Mooney of Phoenix Roasters. With millions of families caught in a cycle of poverty, Phoenix Roasters provides dignified relief and hope through the sale of excellent coffee. Phoenix literally makes the best coffee on the planet.


After Brian and Britt introduce themselves, we begin the episode by discussing how Phoenix Roasters got started. Inspired by the book Bigger Faster Leadership by Samuel Chand, Brian asked God for permission to explore marketplace ministry. Brian wanted to start a business that fueled the church, which at the time in 2007, was not the norm in America. After prayer, Brian felt encouraged to start the business. He began looking at different business models, asking himself, “What is it that brings people together?” The most plausible answer to that question: coffee.

Next, we discuss the indigenous farmers that Phoenix Roasters partners with to buy coffee beans from. Brian discusses how when Americans stand in line waiting to buy a cup of coffee, they’re typically the eighth transaction of a “very very corrupt commodity broker system”. Phoenix Roasters is committed to working directly with indigenous farmers to purchase raw coffee beans for 10 to 15 times more than big corporations. Their goal is to help interrupt the cycles of corruption and poverty they often see entrenched in the coffee trade. Britt explains how when they pay the farmers more for their beans, those farmers then pass on that money to their workers and invest it in the greater community. According to Britt, “The good news is: we’re going to be generous in every transaction that happens. We’re going to be. Not because it’s cool, not because one side or the other of the political aisle are going to like it, but we do it because that’s the Gospel.”

After that, we move on to talk about the impact Phoenix Roasters has seen in the communities where they support indigenous farmers. Brian explains that many coffee farmers are being pushed north out of their land due to various political and business pressures. These farmers are living paycheck to paycheck, and often feel as though they have no choice but to sell land that has been in their family for generations so that they can continue to survive. Now, they’re seeing hope in the communities they’re partnering with. Children who previously would bypass fourth grade to go to the fields and work are now graduating high school. Money is being passed on from the farmers to fund community initiatives. Churches are being planted all over the world using revenue generated by Phoenix Roasters.

We then move on to discuss why the coffee from Phoenix Roasters is so good. All of their coffee is single estate, which means that you can verify exactly where the beans are sourced from. Their coffee is also ranked in the top 1% of all coffee in the world by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Britt talks about their talented roasting team, and how critical their techniques and passion have been to the business’s success. According to Britt, “You can ruin great coffee with bad roasting techniques.” We also talk about their partnership with Javier Pitti, one of the top coffee roasters in Central America. Javier taught their master roaster Wes Patterson how to roast coffee, and Wes is now passing those techniques on to apprentices. More recently, Phoenix Roasters and Javier are looking to work together to add an espresso bar to a 3-star Michelin restaurant.

Next, we talk about the book that Britt wrote: Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight. The decision to write the book came out of a conversation Britt and Brian had after attending a leadership conference. Britt was seeking a way to activate the gifts that God has given him. He had already been writing fantasy fiction books, and after several people had encouraged him to write down the stories of Phoenix Roasters, we made the decision to write the book. According to Britt, he had two goals in writing the book: (1) Tell the real story of Phoenix Roasters to get God’s story out there, and (2) Inspire people. Britt explains that while not everyone is called to start a coffee business, everyone is called by God to do something.

As we wrap up the episode, we discuss Britt and Brian’s inspirations. Britt is inspired by his wife, kids, and all of the pastors and people who work at Phoenix Roasters. Brian is inspired by his wife, family, his mentor Larry Lawrence, and role model Jeff Manley. When asked how listeners can partner with Phoenix Roasters to change the world, Brian remarks that the easiest way to get involved is to buy their coffee. According to him, “No great cause is worth a sorry cup of coffee.”

About Brian Holland

Brian Holland is the proud husband of Ginny and father of Emily and Duke, and proud father-in-law to Zach (Emily) and Sinclaire (Duke). Brian attended Samford University and finished his undergraduate degree at Mercer University. Throughout the 1990’s Brian and Ginny moved 2 times as they followed ministry opportunities to Tupelo, MS and back to Atlanta. During that time, he finished his seminary work at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. After 20 years of serving as Youth Pastor of 3 churches he started the first Phoenix Community in Duluth, GA in a Pizza Pub called Pepperoni’s Tavern. At the height of the economic collapse which swept through America from 2008-2013 Brian, along with his great friends and co-founders Jeff Bagwell and Greg Sweatt launched Phoenix Roasters, Inc. #CoffeeThatMatters. This would become the revenue engine which would fund the dream to see the broken and burnt up rise up from the ashes of life both here in America and there in the coffee growing communities around the world. Recently Brian and Phoenix Pastor Britt Mooney, along with all the Phoenix Community pastors published their first book, “Say Yes. How God Sized Dreams Take Flight.”

About Britt Mooney

Britt has been a teacher in Georgia and missionary to Korea, and now works with missional coffee company Phoenix Roasters. He is an author, and he and his wife Becca have planted a church in Suwanee, GA.

About Phoenix Roasters

Change the World by How You Shop is an online ethical shopping guide that makes it easy to find products from brands that are changing lives around the world.

Key Timestamps

Discussion about how Phoenix Roasters got started.
11:46 – 26:05

Discussion about the indigenous farmers Phoenix Roasters works with.
26:06 – 31:08

What has the impact been in these communities where you have indigenous farmers?
31:09 – 38:18

How is it that you have the best coffee on the planet? Explain why that’s not just my opinion.
38:19 – 43:26

Discussion about the book that Britt wrote.
43:27 – 50:17

Who inspires you and why?
50:18 – 58:50

How can the listeners partner with Phoenix Roasters to change the world? Where can the listeners find you online?
58:51 – 1:02:55


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