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November 2016 Archives

Women Coffee Producers Program

 

 

In an attempt to recognize and promote the work that women do in growing and producing coffees around the world, we have developed and hope to expand a program that empowers women along the global coffee supply chain by creating equity, empowerment, and access to a wider market. We have been working with women producer groups over the past five years and have now formalized these efforts into a program, eager to expand into other origins.

While the role of women is culturally distinct from region to region within the coffee-producing world, we have created a set of base guidelines for the organizations and communities whose coffees are highlighted in this program, which helps us to work collaboratively with the growers to establish premiums and parameters for their participation.


At its base, a Women Coffee Producers coffee lot is:

· sourced through a democratically organized collective or group which comprises at least a significant voting percentage of active female coffee growers (more than 25% participation), or from groups entirely comprising female members and/or participants.


· purchased at a premium price above the average market value for the coffee, with the application of that premium decided upon by a majority of the group. The use of this premium will vary based on the needs of the women; in the past, these premiums have been used to build organic vegetable gardens (CESMACH, Mexico), dry-mill facilities (CODECH, Guatemala), and education and training programs related to sustainability practices (Gayo Megah Berseri, Sumatra). In some cases, the premium may simply be distributed among the group members in order to create equity and to raise their standard of living.


· given ample market representation as a lot that seeks to create equity, equality, and recognition for the normally marginalized female members of the supply chain.


· traceable to the organizational level, if not to the individual producer level, with particular attention given to the membership structure of the organization.


· a potential for a long-term relationship in which increased market accessibility creates the opportunity and incentive to improve coffee quality, thereby earning increased cup-based premium in future harvests.

To see all of the women producer groups we currently work with, visit our Community Page here.

 


 

A.M.A.C.A (Association de Mujeres Productoras Agropecuarias del Cauca) is the latest partnership in our Women Coffee Producer program. Located in the Colombian municipality of El Tambo, Cauca, this collective is made up of 140 female producers. After cupping a sample of their coffee this past July, we decided to drive to the township of San Joaquin and meet them - they're inspiring. The average size of land is just a single hectare per member, most of whom are the heads of their households. The members of AMACA are passionate, strong-willed, and have a deep sense of family values that seems almost magnified within the group as a whole. The premium included in the support of this coffee will most likely go towards the construction of a building where the members can store and cup their future harvests. 

Colombia: A.M.A.C.A. - Women Coffee Producer Program from Cafe Imports on Vimeo.


Cauca Best Cup - 3rd Edition


Cauca Best Cup - 3rd Edition
Popayan, Cauca
Colombia

Last September we hosted our third-annual live auction of contest winning coffees from a week long event full of cuppings and farm visits in the town of Popayan from the State of Cauca, Southern Colombia. "Best Cup" as we call it, and the winner received $22.00 per pound from Café Libre, in Seoul, South Korea.

Señor Rodrigo Batata from Caldono, Cauca and his one hectare of coffee trees.

Together with our Colombian coffee sourcing partner Banexport and 30 cuppers from around the world, we spent four days cupping coffees in the morning and afternoons visiting producers from this region in preparation for the event. Coffees from this region have rich tropical fruit, sparkling lime acidity, big rich juicy berry sweetness and big full body. They can be a little bit wild and intense and this is the exact quality that makes them unique. Like a nice Chilean Malbec, they can be a little racy, which is one of the reasons we wanted to have this event; to highlight the coffees from this territory.

Banexport collected over 700 submissions over the harvest period of May-July and cupped through them time after time, reducing the submissions down to 60 lots of coffee, 30 micro-lots and some 100 bag lots of "Regional Select" (small lots of coffee that were blended together from a specific micro-region or municipality). In addition, a table of experimental lots and unique varieties like Naturally processed Geishas and Pink Bourbons -- all to be cupped through and auctioned off to our panel of coffee professionals.

To me, these small auctions pay homage to the Cup of Excellence and all the work that program has done over the years to find the best coffee producers in the world, introducing them to the community and paying them well for their commitment to quality and excellence. "Cauca Best Cup" is essentially a small version of COE done on a regional level in order to highlight the micro climates and terroir inherent in the mountainous terrain of Southern Colombia. We do this on a shoestring budget but, in the same way, it discovers and brings forward the best producers in the land, celebrates their greatness in their community, pays them for their quality and introduces them to small roasters from around the world. It is unfortunate in our industry how coffee farmers deliver their product to town and have no idea where it goes or what it becomes. So, one of the greatest joys is seeing the crowd of farmers hanging around the cupping tables all week watching the madness of 30 cuppers from around the world cupping through table after table.

On the final day, we re-cupped the top 15 scoring coffees for confirmation and final scoring. Then we piled in to the bus and headed to the small town of Timbio, where an agricultural coffee fair was being held that day. A day of presentations, vendors, food and celebrations -- kind of like a county fair but throw in the fact that a bus load of gringos were in town to buy some coffee and things got wild.

Roasters from Momos Coffee in Busan to CoffeeMania in Moscow, bidding against Repetition coffee from Kansas and Philly's Elixir. Patriot Coffee from Florida versus Singapore's Nylon coffee and St. Louis' own Sump coffee versus Mpls' Dunn Bros. Quills from Kentucky and LA's Rose Park. These folks were civil during the week but savage on the bidding floor, taking some lots quickly to $10, 11, 12 and $13. Dollars. All the while surrounded by hundreds of screaming Colombian producers encouraging them to pay more with yours truly on the auction podium, gavel in-hand, trying to keep up with the raging prices and the screaming crowd.

When the bidding for each coffee is done, the winning farmer comes up to the stage and is joined by the roaster who just bought their coffee. They hug and take selfies, get certificates but most importantly, they meet. They become business partners and hopefully they begin a relationship that can last for years. We have witnessed first hand the passion that roasters have for a coffee once they meet the person who is responsible for growing it and the pride that famers show when they know the person that is taking their product across the globe to roast, brew and serve it to a community on the other side of the planet. Really pretty cool and one of the success stories that helps me get through Mondays.

We will be back in Huila the end of Jan for Huila Best cup if you know anyone interested in some great coffee and some madness.  -- Andrew Miller, Founder & President of Café Imports


Happily Announcing our Non-GMO Project Verification

Café Imports is proud to say that our coffees are now certified under the GMO verify project to be a non-GMO food.

Like the Non GMO Project, we believe "That the integrity of our diverse genetic inheritance is essential to human and environmental health and ecological harmony."

We also oppose the fact that the easy and clear labeling of food products that include GMO's has been majorly and unfairly fought by the GMO-Food industry. For these reasons, we took the step to become certified through the Non GMO Verify project. Our commitment to our customers is to never work with GMO coffee in an effort to help maintain the integrity and consumer clarity of a product we all care for so much.

Click here to view and download our non-GMO project verified certificate.

Go to the following link to see all non-GMO verified coffee products: http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/verified-products/results/?keyword=coffee