In response to the diversity of the market and the growing amount of high-quality coffee available from farms of all sizes, we are pleased to announce a new Farm Select initiative in order to offer our customers greater traceability on midsize single-farm lots that are reasonably priced and hit a solid, reliable level of quality.
Building upon the success of the bigger and slightly less traceable Regional Select program, which features coffees from specific regions or microregions within growing countries, Farm Select will be dialed-in to an individual producer and property, with expanded information about varieties, elevation, and processing. This initiative will begin in Colombia, in conjunction with our export partners at Banexport, who are constantly seeking new ways to invest in producers to incentivize and develop better quality across the spectrum of coffee-growing regions.
Our vision aligns with Banexport’s, and in dreaming up this new offering we came to a set of joint standards for farmers who are interested in participating in this program, whose coffee will be priced at a premium above Regional Select but below Microlot pricing.
Eligible producers must own at least 4 hectares of land, yielding between 40–150 bags of exportable coffee per year. In addition to volume commitment, these producers will receive a quality kit from Banexport, including a Brix meter to assist in cherry selection and fermentation, technical assistance with processing, and a parchment-drying analysis device which will allow producers to track the drying of their coffee on patios or in greenhouses in an attempt to achieve a uniform drying standard of 11% moisture.
Banexport will also provide blue plastic tarps in order to cover drying structures and offer assistance with agronomy and best practices in order to ensure quality. The cupping process and sensory evaluation are transparent, and producers will receive real, valuable, and practical feedback about the quality of their coffees.
Finca Bella Vista
Finca Bella Vista
One added benefit to this program in conjunction with Banexport is that it will assist the exporting company’s goals of both tracking the real-time costs of production for producers in an attempt to help them be more profitable, and it also creates a repeatable economy of scale for both the farmers and Banexport, by finding a wider market for a larger percentage of the farmers’ annual yield.
“They’re doing a really in-depth analysis of all of the farms and having it all really documented. It takes about a year for a farmer to get accepted into the program because Banexport wants to be sure the farmer is on board; it takes a lot of energy to analyze everything and to keep track of that information,” says coffee traveler Sam Miller, who has been working with green-coffee buyers Luis Arocha and Andrew Miller as well as Banexport’s Jairo Ruiz on developing this new program for Cafe Imports.
Banexport has identified 24 producers whose farms are eligible for consideration in the Farm Select program, and we will see the first lots from this project in just a few weeks. One of the first Farm Select offerings comes from a producer named Oscar Armando Dorado Barrionuevo in El Elechal, Nariño. His 9-hectare farm Bella Vista sits at 1,767 meters above sea level and is planted entirely with Castillo Variety. His coffee’s traceability information through the Farm Select program can be located through our Offerings page, along with two other lots that are currently AFLOAT, from Finca Cafelina and Finca Bolivar.
Finca La Betulia
Banexport’s passion for developing quality and helping producers earn higher prices for their coffee runs happily parallel to Cafe Imports’ vision for a better future for coffee and coffee people everywhere, which makes this the ideal partnership for establishing and honing this project.
The price premium applied to these coffees ($0.50 USD/lb farm gate above the national market rate in Colombia, plus an extra $0.10 USD/lb above the current premium Cafe Imports applies to Regional Selects) reflects both the quality standards we expect from them (comparable to Regional Selects, 85–87 points) as well as the extra work that goes into separating and processing out these smaller individual chops. They are sourced in conjunction with Banexport specifically for Farm Select offerings.
We hope our customers appreciate an additional level of traceability combined with the reasonable price point and reliable quality we expect to see from these Colombia Farm Select lots, and we look forward to watching this program expand and grow both within Colombia and across the coffee-growing world.
Finca La Betulia