Updated: Apr 3
Melanie plays with the beans as they dry in the sun in the Himalayas of Nepal.
For me, it all started with the coffee. I love coffee. Many have heard me wax about this precious nectar. Most of my friends are well aware that coffee for me is a ritual of love and friendship. My first Turkish coffee more than 20 years ago was like the call of a siren, and the perfect Italian cappuccino is a frequent quest.
In November 2020, at a course about Freedom in the Sheva center Lugano , I met Melanie. She changed the landscape of my course that weekend and she sparked my creativity and imagination far beyond our initial meeting. Melanie is tall, with dazzling springy curls and a light in her eyes that makes one look twice. Her quirky nature and open heart took me in immediately. It helped that she was another member of our course whose English was better than the Italian or French in which the course is conducted. She was as well my ally in language.
Melanie had with her some coffee beans. She humbly mentioned that all the proceeds from the coffee go directly to the farmers in Nepal who grow them. The chance to buy coffee beans directly from the farmers in Nepal, all proceeds going to them with no middle person taking a cut, intrigued me.
I bought some coffee, made a donation, and received a bag of coffee from Melanie as a gift. The coffee I bought from Melanie I then gave as a gift to dear friends. Angela (a frequent guest contributor to FoodMood) and Giorgio also appreciate coffee and have a serious machine in their kitchen which grinds the beans each time they wish a cup of nectar. Plus, they are people who would appreciate the source as much as I did. In fact, Angela ordered a kilo from Melanie directly and this is where this story took on a life all its own.
It turns out that the coffee is just the tip of the iceberg. For more than a decade Melanie has been working with local communities in the Gorkha region of Nepal to improve the quality of living, education, health, and infrastructure. A keen mountaineer, Melanie’s work in Nepal evolved after she met Prem, a local entrepreneur, who organized her first hiking expedition in 2007. This was the beginning of a wonderous journey that has taken Melanie to Nepal for several months a year ever since.
Prem was born, raised and educated in Nepal and he is an inspirational local entrepreneur who founded the NGO Sambhav Nepal in 2007. He chose the name Sambhav, because it means ‘it’s possible” in Nepalese and when he told people what he wanted to do, they told him it was not possible. Since its inception Sambhav Nepal has built schools, hospitals, improved sanitation, roads, and overall living conditions throughout the Gorkha region. When the earthquake struck this region in 2015 it was Prem’s Sambhav Nepal in coordination with Melanie’s Swiss fundraising that helped build houses for local residents.
Melanie founded Sambhav CH to facilitate these fundraising efforts. Soon after she was approached by families who wanted her to build them a house. She could not build them a house, but she did have an idea. Recently I interviewed Melanie to learn all about her idea, and the fruit it has, literally, produced in its short three years. Click her to watch our video interview and learn all about Melanie’s evolution from Swiss mountaineer to Founder of Sambhav, CH. Discover how your morning coffee can support Nepalese coffee growers, when you buy directly from them thanks to Sambhav CH.
Melanie, her coffee, and Sambhav’s Nepal and CH are inspirations. For me personally, they have sparked an entire movement. Specifically, soon you will be able to purchase her coffee directly on my website for home delivery, assured that your money goes directly to the families of the farmers who produce the coffee in Nepal.
Plus, on 1 April Angela & Giorgio, the same from the beans, hosted a coffee tasting at their lovely home for selected friends. It was a great success and surely its ripple effects will be felt for some time. Who knows what new possibilities will manifest.
Top coffee tasting in the Lanza kitchen; bottom left Angela preparing; middle Lanza’s lovely home; right Melanie explaining to us about high elevation coffee beans in Nepal. Lovely photos compliments of Francesca Tiffin.
Thanks to Melanie for her commitment to empowerment and self-sustainability. Thank you who take the chance to participate in her mission. Together we all contribute in our way to healing, personally and globally.
To buy Melanie’s Alaya brand Nepalese coffee contact me here at firstname.lastname@example.org OR contact Melanie her directly at
+41 76 566 20 03 whatsapp
Whatever you purchase, all proceeds will be directly given to the producing farmers and their families.
Check out Sambhav CH directly at