Brian Forrest’s “Fair Trade Coffee Paintings” at Vovito


 Arms In Arms, acrylic on canvas panel, 12 x 12 in.

The moment Ariff and Shairose Gulamani laid eyes on Brian Forrest’s “Fair Trade Coffee Paintings”, they knew it was the perfect expression of their own passion for coffee – and the people who grow it. The idea behind the paintings originated at Vovito Caffé & Gelato where Artist Brian Forrest has previously displayed his work. “Brian’s paintings bring to life the importance of supporting the amazing people who grow coffee from around the world,” said Shairose. “It reflects our own commitment to helping them build sustainable futures.”

Woman Working 2, acrylic on canvas panel, 16 x 20 in.

For the Gulamani’s, it’s personal. Both were born in East Africa. When they decided to open Vovito, helping growers was a priority. They sought single-origin coffees purchased directly from the farms where they were grown – and found the solution in the One Harvest Project.

Women Straining Coffee Beans, acrylic on canvas panel, 16 x 20 in.

“One Harvest coffee takes the concept of ‘Fair Trade’ to the next level,” said Gulamani. “Our coffee roaster works directly with individual farmers and offers them prices that are higher than the Fair Trade minimums. Direct-Trade also facilitates pre-harvest financing and conducts education, health, and environmental projects, such as water filtration projects.”

Woman With Child, acrylic on canvas panel, 16 x 20 in.

In the end, everyone wins. “Life is better for the growers,” said Ariff. “And we are able to introduce our customers to extraordinary flavors that they might otherwise never experience.” Ariff, who was born in Tanzania, fondly remembers those flavors from his childhood. He and Shairose view the One Harvest Project as a way they can pursue their passion for extraordinary coffee and give back at the same time.

 Woman Packing Coffe, oil on canvas panel, 16 x 20 in.

Similar to wine, a coffee’s flavor profile is affected by the climate and soil composition of the area where it is grown. Single-origin coffee comes from a particular region, farm or estate known for the quality and distinctive taste of its beans. Today, Vovito offers three single-origin coffees through the One Harvest Project: a coffee from the Central Valley of Costa Rica, one from the Huehuetenango region of northern Guatemala and another from the Eastern banks of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. Their Vovito Connoisseur’s Blend also includes a One Harvest coffee from the Lemu region of Ethiopia.

Woman Working, acrylic on canvas panel, 16 x 20 in.

Opened in the summer of 2010, Vovito was modeled on the small Italian cafés the Gulamani’s had enjoyed during their travels in Europe. They purchased two high-end, hand-built Slayer espresso machines, recognized by coffee connoisseurs for their unmatched ability to allow precise control over temperature and pressure to create optimum flavor for each and every cup. (At the time, there were only three in the Puget Sound area.) They consulted with local chefs to create a fresh café menu and imported gelato equipment and cases from Italy. In addition to espresso and coffee, the café offers 26 flavors of handcrafted gelato and sorbetto, paninis, soups, salads and pastries.

Woman With Coffee Bean Sacks, acrylic on canvas panel, 18 x 14 in.

Vovito has developed a robust following of coffee aficionados – some who travel from as far away as Portland, Oregon to sip their single origin brews. The Café was also named winner of the 2011 Hottest Brand Award for a Single Location, selected from over 1500 specialty coffee retailers from coast-to-coast.- Shairos Gulamani at Vovito Caffé 

Man Sitting, acrylic on canvas panel, 12 x 12 in.

The “Fair Trade Coffee Paintings” are currently on display at Vovito Caffé and Gelato, located in Bellevue Washington’s Shops at The Bravern through May 31st, 2012.

Brian Forrest at Vovito Caffé and Gelato

Brian Forrest on EIL

Vovito Caffé and Gelato




  • joseph p bell

    Two in one shot for B.F. The man who gives his all for all to experience . 
    One man with a heart so big , he needs 2 people to carry him to lunch at Vovito’s. 
    The best of luck and love to all in this wonderful display and presentation of real 
    Humanity .. J.Bell 

  • BK

    Awesome art! Beautiful imagery supporting such a worthy
    world community. Keep the paintings coming. We love the effort and the Fair Trade
    Coffee