We're Hiring

Financial Controller, Arabica Group

Location: Oslo, Norway
Contract: Permanent contract, full time
Starting date: As soon as possible

The Arabica group is looking for a highly professional self-motivated person to join our team in Oslo. You will assist the Management and the Board of the group with financial control and administrative support for the 5 companies of the group, but mainly for Collaborative Coffee Source AS (CCS).

Arabica is group of vertically integrated specialty coffee companies based in Norway, still, working internationally. The group was born in 1997 with Java espresso bar, one of the first specialty coffee shops established in Oslo. Later on, other coffee businesses were founded, including CCS which is a quality focused and knowledge driven green coffee trading company. CCS is now the largest and most complex organization within the Arabica group, currently sourcing coffee in over ten countries in Central & South America, and East Africa, and serving clients across three continents; Europe, North America and Asia.
 

RESPONSIBILITIES & TASKS

For all the companies of the group:

  • Preparing budget

  • Monthly reporting, cash management, financial control

  • Close communication with the accountants and auditors

  • Assisting the management for the preparation of the board meetings 

Specific to Collaborative Coffee Source:

  • Financial control and cash management (in particular, close control of inventory, accounts receivable and accounts payable)

  • Close communication with CCS’ financial partners

  • Daily management of administrative matters

  • Onboarding new employees, close relationship with CCS team members on a daily basis

  • Regular reporting to the Management on financial, administrative, legal and HR matters.
     

JOB REQUIREMENTS 

  • Education: Business school Bachelor or Master preferred, with a focus on Corporate finance.

  • A creative person, who undertakes initiatives and suggests improvement/solution for key issues.

  • The ability to maintain confidentiality in all matters.

  • Strong attention to detail.

  • Excellent interpersonal and intercultural skills.

  • A demonstrated capability to collaborate with and maintain effective relationships and communication with colleagues and partners.

  • A flexible nature, positive temperament and ability to handle stressful situations.

  • Enjoys working independently with minimal guidance as well as with a close-knit team.

  • Strong work ethic, self-motivated.

  • Language Skills: Excellent English reading, writing and speaking skills are required.

 

COMPENSATION

For this position we are offering a yearly salary of 400,000 NOK per year or more, depending on the profile and the experience of the candidate.

To apply, please submit your resume and cover letter to charlotte@collaborativecoffeesource.com and fill this Google Form.

CCS in Ethiopia, 2019

Some of CCS’ strongest and longest standing partnerships were built in East Africa, and in Ethiopia specifically. Laws and trading parameters, restrictions and possibilities, they are changing all the time. As much as we want to hold onto things that work, we keep a dynamic approach and curious mind, always holding the door open for change and improvement. 

A recent transparency reform at the ECX, plus an easing of restrictions on export licenses for coffee suppliers, has opened the market. While new opportunities are great, opportunism is not, so we were cautious when it came to meeting new partners taking advantage of these new trading arrangements.

On the streets of Addis, beyond dusty air and traffic jams, behind construction sites, piles of gravel and hordes of goats, we were introduced to a mild mannered, helpful and service-oriented Abenezer Asfaw. Abenezer is the Supply Chain Manager for Snap, one of those new specialty coffee companies taking advantage of a more open market.

Abenezer Asfaw, Supply Chain Manager for Snap Specialty Coffee, our new partners in Ethiopia

Abenezer Asfaw, Supply Chain Manager for Snap Specialty Coffee, our new partners in Ethiopia

Snap was established by Negusse D. Weldyes, for whom Abenezer is the right and left hand. The company has its own washing stations in Guji, Gedeo and West Arsi, and it also manages coffees on behalf of other washing station owners such as Daniel Mijane in Gedeb, and the Jebril brothers in Uraga, to name a few. Their coffees are meticulously processed, washed and naturals alike. Starting next season, all coffees exported by Snap will be hulled and screened, sorted and bagged at their own dry milling facility in Addis. 

It was clear from the outset that Snap is a company with a long-term commitment to producing well-crafted coffees, not out to make a quick buck before the export license system changes again. Controlling and following up on the last and final steps of the coffee’s journey out of Ethiopia is key, and Snap have proved they have the know-how and infrastructure to make that happen. That is why we have partnered with them.
 

CCS PRESENCE IN ETHIOPIA, JAN AND FEB 2019

CCS will be working closely with Abenezer and his team, sharing cupping tables, lab functions and offices in the Snap building on Bole Road, Addis Ababa. 

Robert will be in Addis from January 11th to the 28th. If you are passing through town, we invite you to the lab to cup with us.

Matt will be leading an official buying trip with customers for CCS from Feb 4th to Feb 11th, 2019. Email Matt to find out more.

If you will be visiting outside of these days, get in touch, we can arrange a cupping of CCS coffees with the team at Snap.

See you in Ethiopia!

Ethiopia Origin Trip.jpg



Living our Values 2018

Download the CCS Living Our Values 2018 Report

Yes, it is that time of year already, annual report time! Before we all begin the festivities in earnest, we invite you to read our report, CCS Living Our Values 2018.

This year every member of the CCS team contributed a reflection, report or update from their field of expertise, assessing how well we have worked according to the values we hold as a company.

The CCS Living Our Values 2018 report includes our first Transparency Report. This document features every lot of coffee stripped in to our warehouses between January 1st and December 6th this year. Details include the quantity of coffee purchased, the export partner involved, the FOB paid, the cost of transport financing and insurance, and the CCS markup on that lot before discounts. We are acutely aware of the shortcomings of the FOB, there is so much it fails to communicate, but as we have discussed in this forum, it is the number we consistently have for every coffee, and we must begin our transparency journey somewhere.

We encourage feedback and discussion about any of the topics raised in this report. If you would like to talk to us about it, please email us.

Behind La Palma y El Tucán - Part three: Sustainability

THIS BLOG POST IS THE THIRD IN A THREE-PART SERIES. READ PART 1, AND PART 2

In Part 1 of this blog series, Nico wrote about La Palma y El Tucán’s (LPET) impressive social impact. In Part 2 he outlined LPET’s rigorous approach to quality

In this final blog post, I will tell you about BIODIVERSAL, a new project from the founders of LPET which seeks to support coffee growers and their land by diversifying and marketing their crops. 

Barriers to sustainable coffee production in Colombia

Coffee has been integral to Colombia’s rural economy for decades, but its current model is unsustainable. With the C-Price at an historic low, farmers struggle to cover the cost of their production. For some, it seems if they want to put food on the table their two options are to stay on their farm and grow a more profitable crop, often illicit products like coca, used in the production of cocaine. Alternatively they can head to the city where there are more economic opportunities. 

“As the average age of coffee farmers rises above 60 and their children seek non-farm employment or migrate to cities, the coffee sector will lose its viability,” said Felipe Sardi, cofounder of LPET. 

Additionally the mono-culture farming often practiced today is depleting the soils and requires more and more expensive chemical inputs. 

“We are convinced that coffee alone cannot generate adequate income to enable sustainable progress out of poverty or opportunities for the next generation of farmers,” Felipe said. 

They also see that monocultural coffee production is environmentally damaging, and vulnerable to global warming, which threatens to reduce viable coffee growing land in Latin America by 88% by 2050, according to the SCA. 

Biodiversity is one answer 

Felipe and cofounder, Elisa María Madriñan, see crop diversification as the answer to many of these issues. This involves cultivating other agricultural products in addition to coffee, to give farmers an additional source of income, and reduce the environmental impact of monoculture agriculture. Of course, this is LPET, so rigorous processing to uphold the highest quality in all products is the foundation of their project, giving farmers access to specialty markets for all of their crops. This is the core ideal behind BIODIVERSAL. 

“It brings forward a diverse pool of value-added agricultural products cultivated and sourced in a way that protects the community and the environment,” Felipe explained.  

“In today’s system, farmers have been encouraged, and eventually forced, into producing monocultures. We want to break this cycle. With the collaboration of our neighboring farmers, we will produce, transform, and commercialize value-added products in an array of local and global markets.”  

While this appears simple on paper, it involves great risk for the producer. Many come from a long line of coffee growers, so coffee is the crop they understand. Removing coffee trees and planting alternative crops presents many challenges, they may not know what will grow well on their land, or have access to the market for that agricultural product. 

With BIODIVERSAL, Felipe and Elisa plan to raise capital for the necessary agricultural research and development, to learn the highest standard processing methods, and to find the specialty markets for these new products.  

Holistic business model

The core idea behind BIODIVERSAL is to generate added value. This means transforming raw materials into something closer to the final product. Felipe noted, this requires a process of “continuous innovation in production, processing, and marketing to establish more direct, relationship-based trade between farmers and consumers in a high-quality agricultural market.”

Farmers involved in the project will benefit from LPET’s experience and expertise in design and marketing. The team intend to focus on the local market first, to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. “While we understand the importance and value of an international market,” Felipe said, “we want to focus on our local niche markets before branching out.”

Felipe refers to the multiple players required to make this business model work as a “symphony of collective efforts.”

Farmers are the production experts and caretakers of our ecosystems. Experienced entrepreneurs and investors bring the capital and experience to create value-added products through investments in technology and innovation. Conscious consumers support the project by seeking quality and the highest standards of ethical and ecological principles in the products they purchase.

THE PILOT PROJECT 

BIODIVERSAL will begin with a pilot project, working with twenty small-scale farms located around LPET´s farm in Cundinamarca, Colombia. The team have already leased a two hectare farm that meets all the characteristics of an average coffee farm in the region. They plan to implement four different BIODIVERSAL farming designs that will include over 24 species in addition to coffee. The results of these experiments will be shared with the local community and farmers. Farms will be divided into four groups, five farms will replicate one design, so that twenty farms can help test all four designs. Sixteen farms have already signed up for the challenge, all of which belong to LPET’s Neighbors & Crops Program. 

Some of the agricultural products that they intend to produce include:

  • Coffee

  • Pepper

  • Inca nuts

  • Archira (a local root vegetable used to make flour)

  • For shade:

    • Fourteen varieties of trees including Cedar, Chachafruto, Yarumo and Palm

  • For essential oil:

    • Lavender

    • Tumeric

    • Rosemary

    • Thyme

    • Citronella

    • Vetiver

  • For syrup:

    • Yacon

Following Colombia’s peace agreement and the withdrawal of FARC guerrillas from many parts of Colombia’s countryside, Felipe and Elisa see an opportunity to bring this new approach to conflict-prone areas. This could help farmers transitioning into legal crops create a more sustainable business model, strengthening peace in one of the world’s largest coffee producing countries. 







Brazil - leading the fourth wave?

We have written many blog posts this season about our friends and partners, Carmo Coffees, in Brazil. With each and every post, my desire to visit Carmo de Minas grew. When they announced that the World Brewers Cup would be held in Brazil, my heart leapt. It meant I could also visit Santuario Sul. Cupping the first releases from this farm earlier this year, my reaction was like most others at the table: “hey, are you sure this is Brazil?” I couldn’t wait to see the plants and the process in action.

 

4th coffee wave?

I visited the Santuario Sul farm in early November, a quiet time of the year for this part of Brazil. There was no noise coming from the processing machine, no workers around carrying cherries. Instead the team were preparing land for another season while cupping and reviewing this year’s harvest.

While things might have been chill on the farm, they were very exciting on the table. This year Brazil has surprised us all, importers, roasters and competitors alike. What’s happening in Brazil right now could be called fourth coffee wave. Well-resourced Brazilian producers are harnessing new technology, experimenting with different processing techniques, and planting new varieties. This is to discover new taste profiles, improve the longevity of their coffee, and create replicable systems that ensure quality coffee every harvest.

Carmo Coffees are among those pioneering new fermentation methods and varieties. On their farm, Santuario Sul, they have created a coffee garden with over 25 varieties of coffee. So far, we have tasted Sudan Rume and SL28. We expect to see even more varieties this coming harvest.

 

Brazil on TOP!

Clean, bright with candy-intense fruitiness, the coffees I cupped on my visit possessed none of the notes I have come to expect from Brazilian coffees. On the table were new varieties: Sudan Rume, Geisha, SL28, Yirgacheffe, Laurina, and Tanzania, featuring new fermentation methods. These profiles have caught the attention of competitors, who presented these beans on the world stage during the World Brewers Cup 2018 with great success. The winning brew, presented by Emi Fukahori from Switzerland, was a Brazilian Laurina, a variety famous for its lower caffeine content.

 

Looking for competition coffee?

Are you looking for something unique and astounding to present on stage? Something to spice up your offering? As a fellow competitor I have some advice for you! We will receive the very first harvest of SL28, new variety Yirgacheffe and Sudan Rume processed with anaerobic fermentation. Limited quantities are available, exclusive for coffee lovers willing to experiment along with the producers! Interested? Contact me for details, and order your samples now!

Julia's Top Five

Burundi - Mikuba 100 Honey

Burundi is my all time favorite coffee origin, both because of the coffees and our partners, the Long Miles Coffee Project. I love what they're doing for Burundi, the people, the country, sustainability, and for the coffee industry! I love this sweet and fruity cup, the Mikuba lots this year have been amongst some of my favorites ever to come from Long Miles.



Producers on Mikuba Hill, Burundi

Producers on Mikuba Hill, Burundi

Peru - Pedro Padilla, La Lucuma

Our very first container of Peruvian coffees will be landing soon! I was pleasantly surprised by this juicy cup. It is clean, balanced, with a pleasing finish. I am so excited to be importing and working with this new origin. Samples will be available soon.

Guatemala - Antigua Los Santos

This Guatemalan is nicely balanced and a great option for both espresso and filter on cold wintery days.  

Honduras - Danny Moreno, El Filo

CCS has been working with the Moreno family for 13 years! I am always thrilled  to have Morenos on the table. This particular lot makes a great filter brew.

Danny Moreno on his lot of the family farm, El Filo

Danny Moreno on his lot of the family farm, El Filo

Brazil - IP Natural: 

CCS is always on the search for lots that shine. Brazil is not normally the origin that really stands out the table but this lot coffee from our partners, Carmo Coffees, had our heads spinning. It will change the way you see Brazils.  

Careful tracking and measurement is key to consistency in production at Carmo Coffees in Carmo de Minas, Brazil.

Careful tracking and measurement is key to consistency in production at Carmo Coffees in Carmo de Minas, Brazil.

Behind La Palma y El Tucán - Part Two: Quality

THIS BLOG POST IS THE SECOND IN A THREE-PART SERIES. READ PART 1, AND PART 3.

In Part 1 of this blog series, I wrote about La Palma y El Tucán’s (LPET) impressive social impact.

In this blog post, the second in a three part series about LPET, I will dive deeper into the strict methodology and innovative processing behind the stellar cups that have earned LPET an impressive reputation for quality.

A quest for quality

When LPET began in 2012, the founders, Felipe Sardi and Elisa María Madriñan were convinced that varieties like Castillo, known for their disease-resistance, but not for their cup quality, had the potential to produce delicious lots, if they were picked selectively and processed well. Starting a farm from scratch meant that the pair could design both the processing facility, and the methodology, with quality as the number one priority. This is the vision behind LPET’s Neighbors & Crops program (N&C).

To ensure perfect ripeness, the cherries destined for the N&C lots are picked by LPET’s own team of highly-trained women who select only the ripest cherries. (The deep cherry-red nail polish they wear helps them identify the perfectly ripe fruit!) The cherries are then transported by truck to the LPET farm for processing. 

Receiving the cherries at the station

Receiving the cherries at the station

Due to the very small size of their farms, a single N&C producer is unlikely to produce sufficient cherries in a single day to fill a ten bag lot, so lots are usually composed of cherries from five or six different producers. The lot will keep the name of the producer who has the most cherries in a single lot. 

Checking the pH of the lots.

Checking the pH of the lots.

Measuring the Brics

Measuring the Brics

Adding rigor to research

Each lot will be tracked and recorded. At the farm gate an LPET team member notes the weight of cherries. At the station gate they measure the pH and sugar content. All this information is recorded on a physical tracking sheet for each lot, and transferred to a spreadsheet. This is essential data which they can use in the future. For example, this year the team reviewed every cupping sheet for the lots they produced in the last five years. They identified the best lot for cup profile and scores, and noted the relevant data including brics, pH, and time spent fermenting. With this data they created several “recipes” which they applied to cherries delivered this year. If you get a chance to cup the incoming fresh crops from LPET, you will understand the positive impact this rigorous approach has on quality. 

After the cherries pass the quality controls, they will undergo lactic pre-fermentation, water sorting, depulping, fermentation, washing and drying. To share all the details of these processing method is a blog post for another day, but we can at least tell you about their star process: lactic fermentation.

Tracking the coffee through the quality process

Tracking the coffee through the quality process

What is LPET Lactic Fermentation?

LPET lots show extremely diverse cup profiles. From a juicy tropical punch to a rum raisin syrupy shake, they can fit all preferences and curiosities. This is due to the extremely “picky-picking,” the state of the art equipment of their processing facility, and the knowledge of the whole team. Additionally, a large chunk of credit must go to this innovative Lactic process they have mastered over the years. A unique acidity structures each lot with its milky or winey tones, bringing a heavy body and a sparkling touch to the cup.

Sweet cherries ready to ferment!

Sweet cherries ready to ferment!

Before depulping begins, cherries are placed in a closed tank. Sugar content, temperature and pH are noted. The high sugar content of the perfectly ripe cherries provides ample food for yeast and bacteria naturally present in the air and on the cherries, so fermentation begins. One by-product of this fermentation is carbon dioxide. As the tank is closed it will slowly fill up with CO2 and the air will be chased out. Under these anaerobic conditions (meaning without oxygen), the bacteria that survives will produce lactic acidity, hence the name. For Lactic Fermentation, LPET will leave cherries fermenting in tanks for approximately 70 hours before depulping.

An easy way to see if cherries have been through a lactic fermentation is to look at the beans after depulping. If everything went well, a bit of alcohol was also produced during the fermentation, transferring some color from the pulp to the beans.

Lactic fermented beans after depulping

Lactic fermented beans after depulping

The quality control is not finished yet. After drying and milling, each lot, be it a Neighbors and Crops micro-lot of 350kg, or a Heroes Series nano-lot of 25kg, is sorted again by hand with the objective of achieving zero major and zero minor defects. Perfection is always the goal.

Final hand sorting

Final hand sorting

All of these sorting steps give us an incredible ratio of cherries to green of 1:8,5. On average, LPET needs 85 kilos of cherries to produce ten kilos of green. Think about that on your next sip!

Innovation never stops behind this farm’s doors, ambition to improve is always carrying them forward.  We are more than happy to chat to you about this project by phone, or over a coffee when we see each other somewhere on our beautiful home planet.

This season, we have fifteen stellar lots for our customers in Europe. The first ten lots are ready to go and will arrive in Hamburg early December. Five additional lots from the late harvest are being processed as I write this. Expect those around February 2019!

Nine lots have been already booked so hurry, before they all go. To book your LPET Neighbors and Crops lot, contact me at nicolas@collaborativecoffeesource.com !

Cheers – Nico

Read Part 1 of this blog series here.

CCS & Finca Deborah - World Brewers Cup 2018 Recap

CCS Sales Rep Veronika Galova Vesela represented Slovakia in the World Brewers Cup Championship in Brazil, Nov 2018. Veronika brewed Finca Deborah natural geisha, a coffee she has been competing with for three years at the international level.

CCS will have limited lots of Finca Deborah carbonic maceration and natural available in 2019! Contact Veronika to book them now.


Behind La Palma y El Tucán - Part One: Social Impact

This blog post is the first in a three-part series. Read Part 2, and Part 3.

I could probably write a book about La Palma y El Tucán (LPET). Instead I will limit myself to three blog posts.

I was lucky to travel to the LPET farm in August to make the CCS 2018-2019 selection, along with my team mate, CCS Global Buyer, Matt Hassell. Together we went behind the scenes to discover the strategy, science and hard work behind these stunning coffees.

In Part 2 of this blog series I will tell you about the famous processing and the laser focus on quality, and yes, we will review the crazy varietals they grow on their eighteen hectare farm. In Part 3 we will learn about LPET’s plans for increasing biodiversity and protecting farmer incomes with a new project.

Here in Part 1, what I really want to share with you is the positive social impact that the LPET team have on the local coffee growing community.


Let’s start at the beginning

Felipe Sardi and Elisa María Madriñan bought the LPET farm, located at 1600 masl in Cundinamarca, about 2 hours away from Bogota, and planted trees between August and December 2012. They employ 22 permanent workers and 60 to 70 seasonal pickers for the harvest. 

The farm is eighteen hectares, four of which remain wild primary forest. The fourteen hectares in coffee production are separated into five plots: Typica, SL28, Sidra, Geisha and Java. This is the coffee that will become the LPET Estate and Varietals series, including Heroes Series nano-lots of 25kg. Also on the farm is the state-of-the-art LPET processing facility, where they process coffee cherries purchased from neighboring farms for the Neighbors and Crops Series.

The Neighbors and Crops Program:

The goal of the Neighbors and Crops program (N&C) is to produce finely crafted and diverse cups, while simultaneously helping producers with fair revenues. 

To understand the LPET payment structure, you first need to understand how most coffee is bought and sold in Colombia.

A view of the farm from the neighboring mountain

A view of the farm from the neighboring mountain

The “FNC” Price

In Colombia, the standard way for producers to sell their coffee is to work with the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC). Created in the late 1920’s the federation is run by elected members, and boasts over 500,000 members. It is the largest agricultural NGO in the world.

One great reason for producers to join the FNC is their guaranteed purchase scheme. On any day of the year, producers can sell their coffee to the FNC at one of over 500 buying stations around the country. The price offered that day is based on the C-Price, with a differential of around 20% paid by the international market for coffee that meets the FNC’s strict export standards.

How does a producer, or anyone interested, learn the FNC price for a given day? Google “FNC precio café” and you will find this document:

FNC chart Nov 19.jpg

Every week the FNC updates this spreadsheet with the current pricing. For logistical reasons, the price offered will depend on the region. The deeper you travel into the country the lower the price, to account for the logistical costs of transporting the coffee to port.

Let’s take a closer look at the second table.

FNC chart Nov 19 table 2.jpeg

This table shows the price paid by yield factor, or “factor de rendimiento.” The yield factor is the kilograms of parchment coffee required to obtain 70kg (a standard bag in Colombia) of green coffee. Lower numbers are the goal, it means there is less that is lost in milling.

We see here that for the best yield factor, 89, the price per carga (125kg of parchment) is 834,125 Colombian pesos (COP). With today’s rate it is $263.40 USD, or $2,10 USD/kg of parchment coffee.

The LPET Model

Felipe and Elisa’s goal from the outset was produce the highest possible quality whilst creating a sustainable financial, social and economic model for neighboring coffee producers in Cundinamarca.

The challenges are many. The farmers in their area, about 200 in total, are small holders, most owning one hectare of land or less. With such limited space, it is almost impossible to build a processing facility that will result in high quality coffee. Additionally, the farmers mostly cultivate varieties that are known for their hardiness and disease resistance, but not for their cup quality, specifically Castillo. Plus, the region suffers another major sustainability issue, that is the absence of young coffee producers. Younger generations flock to the cities in search of more stable and profitable livelihoods, leaving an aging population of producers behind.

From the very beginning Felipe and Elisa aimed to create a long-term model that addresses multiple problems with multiple innovative solutions.

Sustaining coffee communities 

When you travel around the LPET Farm and meet the neighboring producers, it is rare to meet a farmer under the age of thirty. The youngest producer I met was Faustino Reyes. He is 60 years old.

Faustino by his processing tanks


Faustino by his processing tanks

His land is adjacent to Dioselina’s farm. Dioselina, who recently passed away, worked together with her neighbor Carmen, who is 83. 

If you ask any farmer in the region about their children, they always say “they live in Bogota, where they have a nice life and a better job.” The new generation don’t want to work on their parent’s farm. Between the low incomes that coffee offers and the close proximity of Bogotá, a large city with more economic opportunities, it’s a no-brainer for the children of coffee producers in Cundinamarca.

The question, of course, is who will produce coffee here in twenty years time?

Producer Carmen, Simon (Sales Representative at LPET) and Edwin (agronomist at LPET).

Producer Carmen, Simon (Sales Representative at LPET) and Edwin (agronomist at LPET).

The late Dioselina on her farm, August 2018, aged 84. We are deeply saddened by the passing of this dedicated coffee producer.

The late Dioselina on her farm, August 2018, aged 84. We are deeply saddened by the passing of this dedicated coffee producer.

Ensuring timely and selective picking

To ensure selective picking, LPET hire a team of pickers that they train themselves. This both guarantees picking of only the ripe cherries, and delivers pickers to the farms when they are needed.

The proximity to Bogota, and competition with new agricultural production such as industrial flower crops and palm oil plantations, makes it increasingly difficult to find pickers during harvest. Additionally, coffee producers are competing against coca plantations for labor around the country, especially in the south. Coca is the raw material for cocaine, and “raspachines,” or coca leaf pickers, earn much more than coffee pickers.

LPET can guarantee a team of pickers for every producer because they pay exceptionally well. The national average paid for cherry picking is about 450 COP per kilogram (about 14 cents USD). The average fee paid for pickers employed by the LPET Neighbors & Crops Program is around 800 COP per kilo, almost 80% more.

Producers do not have to advance the money to the pickers; LPET subtracts the fee for picking from their payment for the cherries.

State of the art processing

To manage the risks of processing on small lots of land, LPET buy cherries, instead of parchment. This takes much of the work, and the risk, from the producers, allowing them to focus on what they know best: how to produce beautiful and healthy coffee cherries from their land.

Timely transport

When buying cherries, it is essential they are delivered to the wet mill promptly to avoid problems with fermentation. This can be a challenge for producers, who may not have immediate access to the required transport.

LPET solved this problem by employing a fleet of trucks to collect cherries as they are picked and deliver them to the LPET farm for processing in their high-tech facility. This is a cost that LPET cover, saving the farmers time and money.

Faustino’s processing set up

Faustino’s processing set up

Faustino told me the thing he loves most about working with LPET was the fact that “pickers are coming.”

Finding people to pick your coffee cherries when they are perfectly ripe is one of the biggest challenges producers face in this region.

“I ask pickers to come next Monday because my cherries will be perfectly ripe, and they tell me yes, but when Monday comes I don’t see them. A lot of my production is damaged because of that,” says Faustino.

Encouraging environmentally sustainable practices

For every kilogram of cherries a producer sells to LPET, they receive 1kg of organic compost, created by LPET’s experienced team of agronomists and chemists. This free organic compost saves producers money, and reduces their reliance on chemical inputs year after year. Plus it improves the quality of the coffee.

Furthermore, from 2019 LPET will provide additional services to their N&C producers through a sister company called BIODIVERSAL. This company will work with the growing community to diversify crops, building environmental resilience and promoting income protection for growers. Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series to learn more!

LPET Pricing model 

LPET base the price they pay for cherries on the FNC price. To this they add three potential premiums:

Quality premium = 65% of the base price:
To earn this premium the cherries must pass the quality test. When arriving at the processing facility, Marlon, the Production Manager, measures the number of floaters from a representative sample. Then he removes the under-ripe and over-ripe cherries and calculates the percentage of healthy cherries. Almost all producers get the premium, as it depends mostly on the work of LPET’s own team of trusted pickers.

Loyalty premium = 25% of the base price:
From the second year a producer sells to LPET they receive an additional 25% of the FNC price as a loyalty premium.

Organic premium = 10% of the base price:
LPET don’t demand their producers be certified organic, as certification is an expensive and laborious process, but they do pay a premium if their team of agronomists can verify that the producer is using environmentally sustainable practices on their farm.

LPET Pricing Structure.png

As you can see from this chart, LPET producers have the potential to earn double the FNC price. This pricing structure is the heart of LPET´s sustainable mission. With this income stability, LPET hope to encourage the children and grandchildren of coffee growers to remain in the region and dedicate themselves to coffee. With organic premiums, and the gift of organic fertilizer, they hope to sustain the local environment so it can deliver coffee for these next generation coffee growers, and beyond.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the LPET story - how they achieve those dazzling cup profiles!

CCS Acevedo Cup 2019

Wednesday January 16 to Monday January 21st, 2019.

Join us in Huila, Colombia, for the third annual CCS Acevedo Cup, with our partners, Fairfield Trading.

The CCS Acevedo Cup is an annual quality competition that brings together the entire community of specialty producers in the micro-region of Acevedo. Five action-packed days of cupping and farm visits culminate in an awards ceremony with the entire community in attendance. The top twenty coffees are announced, along with the winners of the price premiums offered for each category.

CCS invites roasters, green coffee buyers and QC managers to join us in Acevedo, Huila, as judges of the CCS Acevedo Cup 2019.

Register to attend the CCS Acevedo Cup 2019

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Why attend the CCS Acevedo Cup

The CCS Acevedo Cup is the perfect way to get to know an entire community of coffee producers in a condensed period of time. Through five intense days of cupping and farm visits, plus the awards ceremony which is a major event on producers’ calendars, roasters can cup and meet the producers behind scores of unique and delicious coffees. It is an opportunity to forge a long-term relationship with an individual producer, like Parlor Coffee in Brooklyn, NY, who are now exclusively buying the entire specialty grade production of producer Maria Bercelia Martinez.

This event is a fixture in the harvest in Acevedo, attracting hundreds of entries from the entire coffee growing community. The feedback provided by international judges is invaluable to producers, and placing in this competition is a great honor for any grower. As an international guest, you will be treated with great respect, and you will enjoy heartfelt hospitality from all of the producers and their families.

Price premiums per carga of parchment (125kg)

The price paid by Fairfield in recent months for coffee that passes their strict quality assessment was, on average, between 900,000 and 1,100,000 COP per carga. Prices that will be paid to the top twenty lots in the CCS Acevedo Cup 2019 are:

1st place - $2.200,000 COP
2nd place - $2,000,000 COP
3rd to 5th place - $1,800,000 COP
6th to 10th place - $1,500,000 COP
11th to 15th place - $1,300,000 COP
16th to 20th place - $1,200,000 COP


LOGISTICS

We will fly from Bogota to Pitalito early morning on Wednesday January 16th, and return to Bogota from Neiva in the evening of Monday January 21st. Judges must arrange their own international flights, and we will send you the details of the domestic flights. Ground transport and hotels in Huila will all be arranged by Fairfield Trading.

Each day we will cup in the morning, and visit producers in the afternoon.

We will cup three tables per day, 50 to 70 lots in total that have been screened and preselected by the well trained quality management team at Fairfield Trading. The last two days will be spent cupping and placing the top twenty coffees.

On Sunday the producers are invited to the award ceremony in Acevedo Town. The top twenty place getters are announced, followed by a Colombian-style celebration where you can meet the producers of these exceptional coffees.


Why Acevedo?

Acevedo is a municipality located in the south-easternmost corner of the Huila department of Colombia, wedged in the fork between the central and eastern cordilleras (mountain ranges) where the Colombian Andes split into three distinct mountain ranges (the western, central and eastern cordilleras). Just beyond the central and eastern cordillera convergence is jungle and thus, moist, cool air. This cool air simulates increased elevation, and creates many different microclimates with diverse humidity, temperature and rainfalls, leading to varying and ideal coffee-growing conditions. 

The variety found in the cup profiles coming from Acevedo reflect its array of microclimates. Altitude ranges from 1200 to 1800 meters above sea level (masl) with many of the farms we buy from lying within the 1400 to 1800-meter range. Coffees produced at higher elevations are typically denser and are therefore appreciated more by specialty coffee professionals. An increase of elevation usually results in an increase in perceived acidity in the cup. This is potentially in part due to an increase in exposure to UV radiation, but mostly caused by the larger diurnal swings that happen at higher elevations. The cooler nights that occur at higher elevations lead to slower cherry maturation, which leads to sweeter, more complex cups. 

Elsewhere in Colombia, altitudes of around 1400 masl can produce uninteresting, flat coffees. But Acevedo coffees are the exception to that rule. Whether they’re grown at the higher or lower part of the elevation range, they are incredibly sweet, complex and fruited cups. When you visit Acevedo, it is easy to understand why. Mornings and evenings are cool, even in Acevedo town which is only 1300 masl. Daily showers are extremely refreshing, or brutally cold, depending on your attitude, as hot water does not pour from taps in this part of Colombia. On many farms you can see literally watch the billowing, moist clouds roll in from the jungle to envelop the farms. This moist air makes drying the coffee difficult, so farmers use raised, covered beds, which adds to the fruited complexity of these beautiful lots. 

Taiwan International Coffee Festival

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Friends in Taiwan, Julia will be in Taipei at the Taiwan International Coffee Festival with our partners Green Coffee Gallery! Join Julia and the team for four cuppings daily at booth N1305-11, 1206-12.


Cupping Schedule:

Friday November 16
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural
16:30 Burundi, Colombia

Saturday November 17
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural
16:30 Honduras, Guatemala

Sunday November 18
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural
16:30 Panama, Costa Rica 

Monday November 19
11:00 Kenya
14:00 Ethiopia Washed
15:30 Ethiopia Natural

Email Julia for more information.

CCS SALE

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We need to clear our warehouse for some exciting coffees arriving soon, so we’re having a massive one-day sale on November 15, 2018. Most of these coffees are fresh and cupping beautifully, but we need to move them quickly. That means great prices for you as you gear up for the holidays.

Check out these huge discounts.


Europe, Asia & The Middle East

Brazil 2017/18 - $5/kg 

Burundi 2017/18 - $5/kg 

Honduras 2017 - $5/kg 

Colombia 2018 (excluding LPET) - $5/kg 

Guatemala 2018 - $9.50/kg 

Kenya 2018, 3 top lots - $14.50/kg

Contact Nico, Veronika or Bjornar in Europe, and Julia in Asia to book your lots.

North America

West Coast Honduras - $1.90/lb 

All Guatemala - $3.90/lb 

All Ethiopia - $3.90/lb 

All Kenya - $4.90/lb 

Contact Sal on the East Coast and Colleen on the West Coast to book your lots.




Conditions

In order to secure these great prices coffees must be booked on November 15, 2018 and released by December 15, 2018. No soft bookings, only contracted coffees can be purchased with these discounts.

Brazil: competitions & competition coffee

If you are a coffee competitor, or an avid fan of coffee competitions, your eyes will be on Brazil from November 7 to 9. Belo Horizonte will host this year’s International Coffee Week, which will feature not one but four world coffee championships:

  • World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship

  • World Latte Art Championship

  • World Cup Tasters Championship

  • World Brewers Cup

Veronika wows the (CCS) judges while training for her upcoming World Brewers Cup performance. Before her competition, Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees to cup some of their exciting new experimental lots.

Veronika wows the (CCS) judges while training for her upcoming World Brewers Cup performance. Before her competition, Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees to cup some of their exciting new experimental lots.


Brazil - the new origin for competition coffees

Our own Veronika Galova Vesela will be there, both as a competitor, and to source competition coffees for 2019.   

These events could not come at a better time for Brazil’s specialty coffee producers, like our partners in the region, Carmo Coffees. Carmo have been experimenting for several years with exotic varieties and innovative fermentation techniques, and just launched their own series of unique and surprising coffees, worthy of competition. That’s right, Brazil is producing competition coffee. 

CCS will be cheering for two competitors in the World Brewers Cup this year: Veronika, who will represent her home country Slovakia, brewing Finca Deborah, and Tom Kuyken, the Norwegian champion, who will brew an anaerobic Sudan Rume from Carmo Coffee’s experimental farm, Santuario Sul

The farm, which began almost five years ago, is a collaboration between Luiz Paulo Pereira, producer and exporter with Carmo Coffees, Camilo Merizalde, the pioneering Colombian behind the Santuario project, and fermentation expert, Ivan Solis, from Costa Rica. Santuario Sul currently has 30 hectares of land in coffee production, and they aim to expand to 70 hectares very soon. 


New varieties 

Santuario Sul features 25 different varietals, making it the biggest coffee garden in Brazil. Last year they harvested a their first crop of Sudan Rume. This year saw the first harvest of SL28. 

Innovative Processing

As the new trees began producing fruit, the team began to experiment with processing, including anaerobic fermentation. Rather than import expensive equipment from overseas, they looked in their own backyard. Carmo de Minas is dairy country — Luiz Paulo's grandmother is as famous for her cows as she is for coffee — so they bought a fermentation tank used for cheese making. 

The closed steel tanks are easy to clean and feature double walls and temperature controls, which Ivan Solís adapted to the exact temperature range required for coffee processing. The tank used on Santuario Sul can process 2000 liters of cherries at a time - around ten bags of green coffee.

Ivan Solis (right), fermentation and processing expert from Costa Rica, and Alessandro "Viola", processing manager at Irmas Pereira with the adapted cheese making fermentation tank used for anaerobic processing on several Carmo Coffees farms.

Ivan Solis (right), fermentation and processing expert from Costa Rica, and Alessandro "Viola", processing manager at Irmas Pereira with the adapted cheese making fermentation tank used for anaerobic processing on several Carmo Coffees farms.


The ANAEROBIC PROCESS at SANTUARIO SUL

The cherries are hand-picked to ensure perfect maturity, then washed to remove any juice excreted during the picking process which can significantly reduce the clarity in the cup. 

The team then measure the Brix levels of the cherries. If they are higher than 23, the cherries are used for anaerobic fermentation. If the Brix levels are lower than 23, they are destined to become naturals.  

The selected cherries are placed in the adapted dairy tank for 60 hours without any movement, then the tank is opened to check the PH level. When the PH of the mucilage inside the fermenting cherries reaches 4.5, it is time to take them out. 

After fermentation the cherries are removed and left to dry with the cascara still intact. Drying takes between 18 to 21 days, depending on the weather. The resulting cup is the perfect combination of washed and natural: clean, bright, full of fruit and sweetness. 

Learn more about the Santuario Sul project. 


Competing with Brazilians

Brazil is better known for espressos and blenders, than head-turning micro-lots, but Tom Kuyken is not the only barista who will present a Brazilian coffee this year. The location of the competitions has inspired many a coffee competitor to take a second look at this origin.

Finding your competition coffee

Are you looking for that stunning coffee to wow the judges in an upcoming competition? Check out our Competition Coffee offering, and get in touch with Veronika to book your lot now. 

Planning for next year? Before her competition Veronika will visit Carmo Coffees, to cup and learn, and discover those gems for shipment in 2019. Plus, we are thrilled to announce we will soon distribute Finca Deborah coffee, and we can expect more delicious surprises from our friends at La Palma y El Tucán, so stay tuned for exciting arrivals in the coming year. 

Los Angeles Cupping

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Friends in SoCal, Colleen is coming your way for a series of cuppings. 

She’ll be in LA on Friday November 2nd at 10am for a cupping of stellar Colombian, Kenyan and Guatemalan coffees with our friends from Paramount Coffee Project in DTLA

Spaces are limited, so email Colleen to reserve yours.