Join us for our virtual event on 8th April with Vava Angwenyi introducing her new book Coffee. Milk. Blood.
It is our belief that to guarantee quality coffee in the years to come, it is absolutely necessary to build principles of sustainability and social/environmental responsibility into our approach to buying coffee now.
Thanks to our extensive experience working in green coffee, we have a unique understanding of the supply chain having had insight into the challenges faced by smallholder produces and estate owners on a daily basis. Our ethical approach to trading is a founding principle of our business and we will never compromise on the way that we work with our producing partners.
To be truly sustainable we must pay fair prices for our coffee, encourage quality improvement to bring about better cup profiles and ultimately better prices, and ensure that land is farmed in a way that respects the environment for future generations. We firmly believe that one size doesn’t fit all.
As a small coffee business we choose to spend our money with smaller coffee producer groups where we can have more impact. Our buying relationships are centred around taking the commodity out of the transaction. Our approach is grounded in reality and value addition is a focus of any trip we complete ensuring that we are listening and learning at all times whilst spending enough time with producing partners to truly grasp their day to day challenges. Where possible, we dedicate time to running sensory workshops and training sessions when completing trips to coffee origins – this way of working has proved effective in granting producers access to more of the supply chain to accurately value what they are growing and to take pride in their business activities. Producer agency is important to us and the opportunity to have that dialogue is the reason we do what we do.
We believe in the way that we work with producers and feel coffee is a real opportunity when the driver is quality. If you are interested in hearing more of our stories about the producers we work with then get in touch, we really would be delighted to talk with you.
The following blog expresses our views of what it really takes to be truly ethical in your coffee purchases:
We divorce ourselves from the commodity coffee market ensuring the prices we negotiate are fixed at levels that cover the costs of production and at a profit level that is representative of that coffee’s outstanding quality and the increased costs involved in producing it. This price can often be up to four times above what the producer would achieve selling on the global coffee market which can, in many instances, fail to cover the costs of production.
For more information about the traditional pricing mechanism used to trade coffee, please see the below blog:
Whilst always seeking out specialty coffees of great quality, when working with large estates we believe in certifications such as Rainforest Alliance and Utz as they have principles embedded in International Labour law (ILO) and as such the coffee workers’ rights are respected. Such certifications also include environmental standards designed for the sustainability of agricultural land and its natural eco-systems.
If the quality is high enough we will buy Fair Trade coffees. This organisation contributes a social premium to a smallholder cooperative which can be used towards projects which are beneficial to the whole community such as primary schools or medical dispensaries.
If a farm is not certified, we are able to visit to carry out checks that it is working in line with our own social and environmental principles.
We support community projects along with NGO’s that are committed to quality improvement and consequently price improvements for the coffee farmers. We commit support financially through most of the coffees we sell for specific projects focused on gender equity, youth empowerment and processing improvements taking place in the regions the coffee grows in. In some instances, we work with our partners to identify a requirement to make their role more efficient or less labour intensive to develop a project with them.
Innovation – We encourage creativity and innovation by supporting farmers in coffee flavour enhancement. If farmers can produce honeyed and natural coffees, micro lots and stand out single varietals then they can add value to the cup and their prices.
Pre financing – Some of our coffees are pre-financed by organisations such as Root Capital and ResponseAbility. This enables farmers to access funds for farm inputs and labour prior to the harvest when their costs are at their highest.