Brooklyn entrepreneur roasts coffee by hand for a cause

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (WABC) -- With just one pan, an open fire, and his hand, a Brooklyn entrepreneur is finding success roasting coffee in his backyard.

Birane Seck, an immigrant from Senegal, uses a traditional Senegalese method he learned as a kid for roasting, at times, about 100 pounds of coffee a day for his company, Jeef-Jeel.

"I always loved coffee because I remember when I was a kid, we were waking up in the morning, doing the same process I was doing right now," he said.

The 36-year-old's operation is simple: He uses a cinder block as a chair while he shakes the pan filled with coffee beans before grinding them by hand and packaging.

But he started his business to take on a very complicated situation back home.

"People are leaving their families for immigration," he said. "Where they were having a (prosperity), growing their farms, selling to the community, have a very good life -- and now when I go on vacation, nobody's there. They're leaving their communities."

So a portion of his profits is sent to Senegal to help kids, farmers, and communities use their resources so they don't have to leave their neighborhoods in search of a better life.

Seck is known around his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. He said neighbors love his coffee, a unique blend of beans from Ethiopia and Selim, a seed, which results in a mixture with notes of raisin and clove.

He sells the product at a nearby market, and it's served at a Harlem restaurant.

His work may seem tedious, but Seck said he loves everything about it.

"From the start, it's all joyful. From the washing to the grinding, the roasting, even the smells make you feel better," he said.

Click here to check out Jeef-Jeel's Kickstarter!

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