A lot of people drink coffee but most don't turn that love of it into a thriving small business. But that's just what Karissa Savage and Frieda Cornejo have done.

"Coffee has been our thing," said Savage. "We go to different coffee shops every time we're traveling and it has just been part of our culture as a couple so it was a no brainer when we had the opportunity to start roasting our own coffee, we were like lets do coffee, we love it, we're passionate about it."

They're importing green coffee beans from Peru and roasting them in Calgary to create their own brand called Motherlode Coffee. The business is based in Calgary and opened in June 2020.

"At the beginning it was like we love coffee, love the smell of coffee, love the culture of coffee, but we didn't really know that specific taste," said Savage. "So it took a lot of trial and error, a lot of training our taste palates, a lot of cupping sessions."

The two began to recognize the different aspects of their beans and how different roasting times and temperatures impact taste.

"We actually roast it a specific way that brings the natural flavour from those beans so when it says caramel on there you will actually smell caramel and you'll taste caramel but there's no caramel added," said Savage.

But the partners in life and business say they're also focusing on social responsibility with a portion of sales going towards two causes. Motherlode is partnering with Peruvian Hearts and End of the Rainbow Foundation, who both target issues on gender equality.

Cornejo comes from Peru and has always wanted to find a way to help people in her native country.

"Having an education, it opens doors," said Cornejo. "So this is why for us it was very important to give back to people in Peru and specifically women because unfortunately gender equality, it's a work in progress."

Peruvian Hearts offers a program that provides disadvantaged girls in Peru with complete educational scholarships for university and full psychosocial support.

The End of the Rainbow Foundation is a Calgary based nonprofit organization with a mission to improve socio-economic conditions for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities or expressions.

"Based on our personal story as being partners in business also partners in life," said Cornejo. "It really (spoke) to us because this foundation really helps refugees coming from other countries that have to flee their countries because of sexual orientation."

Motherlode Coffee has already raised over $2,000 for the charities it supports. Savage and Cornejo hope once travel restrictions are lifted they can visit Peru to meet some of the farmers who supply their beans and also see some of the young women benefiting from the money they've raised.

Learn more about Motherlode Coffee online