One of our main projects for 2023 is working on bringing additional social elements to every coffee that we use for our "core" blends such as Stable, Comfort, and Deluxe. This natural from Villamaria will be going into both Stable and Deluxe, and is a perfect example since we sourced this coffee through our friends at Raw Material, who are a non-profit returning surplus payments to producers. You can read a bit more about the work they're doing below, and at this link you can see a graphical breakdown of what farmers have been paid for this coffee. We think it tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with extra grape jelly).
In Colombia, Raw Material raise quality and shelf-life through low-cost interventions within existing structures. We do this by creating systems to ensure consistency of large lots at a community level. This in turn enables reliable, stable and improved household incomes for smallholder farmers through a connection with roasters.
Our secondary focus is to shift the power dynamic in the coffee sector; as specialty becomes a norm, there are new opportunities for women to gain higher-income and higher-powered roles. The third area of focus is environmental; Colombia has a high average output per hectare, but this comes at the costs associated with mono-cropping and high-input farming techniques.
To improve household incomes, outcomes for women, and to encourage a shift towards more environmentally sustainable farming practices in Colombia we:
Set up cupping labs, and focus training towards women in the community
Build and join community associations, invest in infrastructure and training to improve quality, and take their coffee to market.
Place QC staff and equipment at parchment buying points to improve consistency.
Consult wet mill operators and producers in-person on best practices.
Purchase for consistent prices based on what coffee costs to produce and what roasters are willing to pay to maximise profitability for producers.