Last month Kent, Hazel & Finley attended a Stumptown organized panel discussion with coffee producers from Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Kenya. We took away a handful of learnings that will stay with us and shape how we work with their coffee once it reaches our shop.
One of the producers from Colombia described how most of the coffee in his area is grown on small family farms. Families work the farm year round to only be able to pick a half burlap bag of coffee per day once harvest season starts. From hand picking, hand sorting, to manually de-pulping, a tremendous amount of manual labor results in a small amount of coffee. This is a reminder to us just how precious each bean is.
Some of the discussion focused on changes in how coffee is bought and sold. In Kenya, traditionally coffee has been bought through government-controlled auctions. Recently, their government has created a “Second Window” that allows around 8% of their coffee (of the highest quality), to be sold through the Direct Trade model that Stumptown has been so instrumental in creating. Giving coffee roasters the opportunity to buy coffee directly from farmers allows both parties to negotiate the price, rewarding farmers with a higher price for producing higher quality coffee (always at least the price of Fair Trade Certified coffees and usually much higher). Our featured coffee this month, Kenya Gaturiri Direct Trade is a perfect example of how the new Kenyan Second Window buying model benefits everyone.
Stumptown can now directly pay the coffee producer generously for a beautiful, high quality coffee. As Gaturiri’s producer finished speaking at the discussion in Portland, the audience exploded with applause, acknowledging his work toward developing a tremendous coffee — and how appreciative we all are to buy it directly from him.
Listening to these farmers talk about their work, their successes and their challenges, reinforced why we work with Stumptown, why we serve premium coffee, and how what we do at Thump is connected to the lives of many people around the world.