07 Oct THINKING LONG-TERM ….. PROJECT BRAZIL
So, a short recap of the last couple months… I took what ideas I had to create a service-minded business in green “unroasted” coffee and together with the support from my friends in Nicaragua, I’m actually making big steps (whoohoo!). Fuente now officially imports, sells, distributes green specialty coffee, and for this I take a commission to cover the costs. The objective is to give producers the tools they need to enter the European specialty market and create their own transparent customer base. So if in the long-term anything happens to Fuente, the relationship will still exist.
Think about it… There are many issues when it comes to forging long-term relationships in this premium segment, but the one issue that everyone will encounter is: What to do when the coffee quality is lower than the year before?
The smaller the farmer, the less likely he or she will be able to deliver an amazing coffee every year. Think about the lack of funds, but also unpredictable climate and diseases, such as coffee rust, that affect quality. Without a steady buyer that will pay the right price, how can a producer be able to keep up with the higher production cost of specialty coffee?
One the other side, a roaster has to be able to maintain a quality standard selling to the ever demanding consumer. What can we do with Fuente to work on creating long-term relationships inside this paradox?
Our aim is to stimulate initiatives that bundle producers together in a network and find a market that appreciated the quality. One of the organizations we will be working with next year in El Salvador is Café Internacional, they bring together smallholders that grow and process specialty coffee and markets their product together. So if one year a farmer doesn’t reach the target quality, someone else will make use of the opportunity, without the organization losing roaster clients as a whole.
Next to that, starting now, but working towards next year harvest we will cooperate in a project with Juan from Fazenda Klem in Brazil to grow and process micro lot coffee in South Minas Gerais, more known for volume business. Juan is bringing together several small producers interested in producing higher quality. The opportunity exists to produce small hand-picked lots from the best coffee of each farmers, however, high productions costs and the lack of buyers are blocking the way for new specialty lots.
For example, one of the coffees is Felipe’s Jacu bird coffee. Just as Civet cat from the Kopi Luwak coffee in Indonesia, the Jacu bird has an exceptional eye for only the ripest cherries (natural selection I guess…). After eating the cherries the coffee is picked up manually from its feces. Fortunately these birds are not caged and just hang-out at Felipe’s farm.
In light of this I would like to call out to all roasters interested in participating in a new relationship. We would love to have you a soundboard to test out some of the coffee! I will be flying in several 20kg boxes so you can actually play around with it and offer it to clients. In a big origin country such as Brazil that does mostly commercial coffee, having actual market feedback will be essential to the future of the project. Upcoming year we will plan 2 trips to Brazil, and a visit from Juan to the Netherlands so he can get to know your company.
Will you help us set-up a new Direct Trade project?