Our philosophy on coffee
We source *specialty grade coffees from a network of producing partners we have identified over the years, working closely with them to build long term relationships based on trust, respect and the potential for positive future impact. We roast their coffees intuitively, coaxing out character that exists thanks to the unique terroir and post-harvesting techniques that have been applied.
*Specialty coffee is a term for the highest grade of coffee available, thought to make up around 5% of global production. Coffee is deemed specialty grade when it achieves a score of above 80/100 using the Specialty Coffee Association system that assess attributes such as aroma, flavour, balance, acidity, body, aftertaste, uniformity, cleanliness and sweetness.
We do not treat coffee sourcing with a ‘one size fits all’ approach, hence why you won’t find any logos on our packaging such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or Organic. This is not because we do not believe these certification schemes are important, in some instances they can be. It is because we know there is a lot more to becoming an impactful partner for a producer and a need to go much further.
Around 25 million families grow coffee in 70 countries across the world. Each producer therefore has a totally different set of circumstances to work within - we long to understand the evident and subtle differences between different producing areas and communities but know that we will likely never fully comprehend all of them! It is therefore crucial for us to build solid relationships with individuals and companies who can help us ask the right questions, no matter how uncomfortable, and encourage us to challenge long established systems and ideas to truly regenerate the supply chain.
We match our scale to our purchases, prioritising buying from micro entrepreneurs where possible.
As a small business, we feel we can have a greater impact and cultivate a more meaningful relationship when working with fellow small business owners as opposed to with large estate owners.
We seek to build long term partnerships focused on increasing impact.
To build resilient business models, it is vital that our producing partners are profitable in their coffee growing and can re-invest in their businesses to further improve quality and yield. This can happen when there is confidence in the buyer to show up each year and gradually increase the volume of coffee they buy.
We pay a profitable price
We demand traceability with all of our purchases and often have direct contact with the producer themself to build our understanding of their costs of production so that we can cover these and pay a profitable price. This is an area of focus for us over the next few years to start to collect real data that can be used to determine producer profitability as this is a key indicator of a viable business model.
We show up.
We physically visit our producing partners but we also promise to be there when they need us. Face to face in person or on whatsapp/zoom, we play an active role in our supplier relationships, taking responsibility for our own learning too.
We ask questions.
We seek partners to work alongside in our supply chain who share the same vision as we do. Be that a producer, export or import partner or a service provider we go deep to get to the heart of what that organisation exists for to ensure everything is aligned to bring about positive impact.
Questions we ask before commencing a new supply partnership :
How impactful will our purchase be here to the producer and farm workers?
If farm workers are employed during the harvest season, how is their wellbeing taken into account in any accommodation/meals provided and in their working conditions?
Are principles of agroforestry used to produce coffee in an environmentally responsible manner?
Is there potential to grow a long term relationship, increasing our impact over time?
What are the most pressing needs/issues for this producer?
How can we best support?
Will the coffee fill a certain gap on our offer list either through flavour profile or impact area?
Does the coffee have the potential to delight our customers?
What will this partnership contribute to the outcomes we are striving for?
From Idea to Impact : El Salvador Project
With the help of export partners Caravela and Maria herself, we created a 3-stage infrastructure improvement project designed to bring about lot separation, better quality and consistency, efficient use of labour, lower emissions and ultimately, greater access to more income.