Transparency Project Update: October 2018

Well, it’s been a few months since we started our Transparency Project. All of our single origin coffees now come with prices displayed on the cards for each coffee.

Colombia Ubaque Transparency Project Info
There has been increasing talk about Transparency over the last few months and another Australian roaster released their data. This tells us we are moving in the right direction. On talking to importers they are saying that other roasters are enquiring about F.O.B pricing and prices paid to farmers. It’s fantastic that others are taking an interest as we are small and to get real traction we need lots of people involved.

It is now time to get the blend numbers published, we are working on this over the next week. This is both a challenge and a wake-up call. We have made ongoing commitments for most of our blending coffees, because we love them so much. It’s a fine line to stay competitive in such a fierce market and yet also pay what we think is a fair price.   

Here‘s a break down of all the coffees we use for blending. So you can understand how we work with producers. It’s one thing to want to pay more for the coffee you love but without working with the producers and telling what you would like to see improved and rewarding that you might end paying more and get a substandard result.

Parcment for the Coffee Buying Guide

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA


The coffee we buy from PNG is by far the cheapest coffee we use and we are taking steps to pay more. We love PNG coffee and think, due to our geographic proximity, we should buy as much as we can at a good price. We spent well over a year finding a great like-minded partner to work with.

PNG has many problems producing and processing coffee. One of the main issues is the level of corruption and foreign ownership of the mills. Our partner is proud to be a PNG native and is doing fantastic work in the community with education and health programs.

We have been buying this coffee for 2 seasons now. It has been our mission to get the quality of this coffee higher with fewer faults and a more even screen size. Our partner installed a colour sorter this year that has helped. The potential is enormous but just paying more and expecting higher quality doesn’t get results. It takes time, patience and a better understanding of how things work.


At the start of the year, we decided to pay a premium on top of the coffee price to help programs they are running in the community. Our plan is to visit next year, see how they are going and what we can do to lift the price.

Amigos Sugarcane Decaf Coffee Cherry on the branch in the rain

Brazil

We have been working with Pedro Gabarra Teixeira and his father for 3 years now. These guys are such good people to work with and have been open and transparent with us from day one. We have our own lot that they produce on their Santo Antonio farm. We also buy for unique micro-lots with new processing methods. In the last 12 months, they have purchased another farm next door and we really look forward to tasting the coffee that they produce in 3-4 years.

We have been in discussions about the best way to purchase coffee from them and will be making 3-5 year commitments ongoing. We have agreed to pay a premium over the normal price to bolster the relationship and help the farm keep improving. One of the best things is for farmers to have confidence that they can sell their produce at a profitable price going forward. Many farmers sell coffee one year for a profit and then the next year the roaster is nowhere to be seen.

Guatemala

We purchased two larger lots for blending this year from two separate farms. Matt visited Guatemala in February during the harvest. This trip was the tipping point to start the Transparency project. A chance meeting with Peter from The Coffee Collective sealed the deal.

Matt visiting Finca La Esmeralda

La Esmeralda

Finca La Esmeralda is a farm in the Sierra Las Minas Mountains. We have been buying this coffee for 3 years. It is south of the rainforest region of Coban and close to Zacapa. Coffee buyers have overlooked this area in the past but it produces excellent coffee. Matt was the first roaster to visit La Esmeralda and owner Jesús Remírez got quite emotional.

Jesús is a big believer in community. He helped found an organisation with the San Agustin church that has run many programs over the last 30 years. They subsidise doctor and dentist visits and provide food for malnourished children. The number of malnourished children in the community has dropped from over 50 to 5. They also run educational programs in partnership with NGO’s.

We committed to this coffee before we launched the Transparency Project. At the moment we are trying to work out our next steps and how we will move forward with the farm.

La Cumbre

is the other farm we are using in our Haymaker blend this year.

Based in Fraijanes, only 30 mins drive from Guatemala city. Otto Block bought the farm in 1980. He saw the potential for great coffee based on the climate, soil conditions and altitude and switched from growing asparagus and other vegetables. After many years of running the farm, Otto’s daughter Anna took over in 1998.  Anna is a member of the Guatemalan Women in Coffee organisation.

The coffee is shade grown over 45 hectares under Ingas and Grevillea trees. They are renewing old plants with new varieties and grow Bourbon, Cattura and Catuai. All the coffee is sold as parchment.

We committed to this coffee before we launched the Transparency Project. At the moment we are trying to work out our next steps and how we will move forward with the farm.

Colombia

Ubaque

We have been buying coffee from this group of growers for 3 years. Sourced by our partner on the ground in Colombia, Felipe Arcila from Cofinet. The group started in 2010 to share resources and knowledge. This has increased the quality of the coffee and allowed them to compete in the market. There are 43 member families with just over an average farm size of 1 hectare. Only 50km from Bogata, Ubaque is rich in biodiversity. The group works together to protect the area for future generations.

Matt is visiting in December 2018 and wants to create a competition for the farmers to take part in. To do this, we will keep each farms lot separate, select the top 3 lots and then pay a premium to the winning families. We hope this will create more interest from the families to improve processing which means we can then pay more for the coffee.

To learn more about our Transparency Project click here.

Along with other roasters around the world we work with Transparent Trade Coffee to share what we are paying for coffee.

To sample our coffee visit one of our stockists or order some at through our shop.