Beautiful coffee starts with outstanding farmers. And like the best coffee roasters, most of the best producers are small and family-run, or local cooperatives.
We hold them in the highest regard, respecting their practices and the role they play in their community, working together in true partnership with them, and striving to perfect production processes that are ethical and efficient.
Our Kenya AB LENA is a selected blend from a number of state and Co-operatives in the Central Zone. All the coffees are sourced from farms between 1,500 and 1,900 masl and grown in deep red volcanic soil, rich in organic matter. Consisting of mainly SL28 and SL34, the cherries are selectively handpicked and delivered the same day for processing to the wet mill. Following de-skinning, the coffees go through dry fermentation for 2 hours before being washed. The beans then spend up to 3 weeks sun drying on raised tables and a further 4 weeks conditioning in bulk before dry milling, where grading size and density takes place. Exhibiting the classic SL28 characteristic of juicy black current and tropical fruits, the AB Lena provides intense sweetness to our blends.
A small Indonesian coffee farm in the Sidikalang region of Sumatra, Simalungun is surrounded by other small farms, and is owned and operated by the Panjaitan family. The coffee is all hand-picked by the Panjaitans and the other farmers’ families, and the farm itself is Coffee Practices Certified by Opal Coffee. (Opal Coffee is the organisation that provides agronomy education to farmer communities, and helps small farms increase crop quality, yield and, as a result, profit.) Simalungun produces a delightful cocoa flavoured bean called Onan Ganjang (which means ‘night market’ in English).
Finca La Joya Grande is a 537 hectare farm on the volcanic ridge line of the Nuevo Vinas region of Santa Rosa, Guatemala. It faces the Pacific Ocean in the South, and enjoys moist ocean breezes every afternoon, which cool the farm and slow ripening, allowing more time for flavour to develop. The farm has over 10,000 shade-providing cedar trees which improve growing conditions, and it also boasts its own wet mill, sun drying patios, worm farm and nursery. Importantly, Finca La Joya Grande is managed by Jorvita Esmina Castillo, one of the founders of Women in Coffee, an organisation set up to empower women in the coffee industry. She has actively led the farm to become more heavily involved in regeneration and research, and has also initiated a number of programs to improve the lives of workers and their communities. These programs include better clothing distribution, healthcare, dental and eye care clinics, fresh water piping and a kindergarten for the children of pickers.
Finca Don Paul is a fully organic farm in the Risaralda region of Colombia, South America. Owned and operated by Paul McLachlan and managed by Ricardo Castilla, the farm is located on the outskirts of the Colombian jungle. This means its soil has a naturally high percentage of organic matter (8% compared to the average of 4-5%), which is great for growing coffee. Paul and Ricardo feed the soil using a bokashi compost consisting of gathered micro-organisms, soil, molasses and whey, and they protect their crops from coffee berry borers with a natural oil called Neme. These organic measures result in ideal farming conditions, leading to lush crops and ground cover, and ultimately an outstanding mix of Castillo and Caturra beans, which are washed and dried on the roof of the farmstead.
Finca La Encanada is a family owned and operated farm, in the San Martin region of Peru. The owner, Dionicio Aguilar Mestanza, took over the farm from his father and has since dedicated himself to refining the time-honoured coffee production techniques passed down to him. We’ve been buying directly from Dionicio since visiting the farm in 2010, and his coffee continues to score very highly in our blind cuppings. He invests a percentage of all revenues into the farm and the local community, helping to improve the farm’s equipment and coffee quality, while at the same time enhancing the lives of locals and helping to build a sustainable future for them.
A family owned farm in the Chinchina Caldas region of Colombia, Finca La Meseta has been producing coffee for four generations. Their beans are clean and true to the Colombian tradition, with acidity and excellent structure. They are one of the region’s most progressive growers, and we are delighted they have chosen us as their first partners in the Australian market. They operate their own dry mill with a sophisticated quality assurance lab, and have recently trained one of their own staff through the exacting Q graders course. They’re committed to producing premium coffee and have been doing exactly that for many years. Indeed, some of the farm’s trees are more than 50 years old! To further enhance their coffee offering, Finca La Meseta is now working in partnership with Finca Obaje in the Narinjo region, to provide a greater range of coffees to their coffee partners.
A community mill founded by Bernardo Rivera Paz, La Laguna is now operated by Bernado’s son, Alfredo Rivera Diaz. The mill processes coffee from 180 producers in the area, and runs a general store within the community itself, providing low-cost essentials for producers and their families. In partnership with Molinos Honduras, a dry mill processor and exporter, they have been very successful in increasing the yield and quality of their coffee through improved agronomy practices. These improvements have been a boon to the local community. The increased yields and quality, and the better sale prices they command have resulted in a better quality of life and more secure future prospects.
Founded in 1948, Coop Dota is a 400-member coffee co-op, and the first in the world to achieve carbon neutrality. Its members are all small farmers from Costa Rica’s Dota region, which stretches from San Marco to Santa Maria to San Pedro. As a local initiative, the co-op is dedicated to the parallel causes of coffee and community. They’re constantly seeking to improve their practices in order to push back against the trend towards Catimor and similar Timor hybrids, and instead persist with the high quality Catuai and Caturra beans. To this end, they provide forward loans to their members, as well as agronomical advice and discounts on fam materials. The co-op produces microlot coffees, which they dry on patios, and they’re currently researching processes that will enable them to produce more sun-dried coffee using rotating beds.
Located in the Caldas region of Colombia, De La Finca Cafe Postal is owned and operated by Jorge Gorrea. The farm is on its way to becoming fully organic, and utilises high numbers of micro lots, and a variety of bean types. Thanks to Jorge’s engineering background, his approach challenges long-held traditional assumptions about coffee farming. He uses a wet mill with six stainless steel tanks, allowing for better temperature and fermentation control, and as a result, better flavour control. Jorge has produced some fascinating varietals over the years, including an amazing Margogype / Gesha cross.