- Milk Chocolate & Caramel
- Medium Espresso
- Washed & Natural
- Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Peru & Guatemala
Named after our earliest (and enduring) inspiration to be committed to the fair trade movement, The 'Don' is our multi-origin flagship blend. A complex, full bodied flavour blend with chocolate sweetness and creamy caramel overtones. Roasted for espresso but also works well as a full-bodied plunger.
- SAN FERNANDO
Processing green coffee beans requires fermentation to produce desirable flavours and allow it to be stored without spoiling. There are two main ways to ferment coffee, either with water which we called washed (or wet) processing or without water called natural (dry) processing. Once ripe cherries are picked, pulping them in a wet mill removes the skin, and fermentation processes the remaining mucilage on the bean.
Traditionally, washed coffee is picked and within 8 hours the cherries are floated in water (and unwanted components are scooped from the top), and then pulped. Then the beans will be washed in water for around 12 - 36 hours and dried in the sun on patios for around a week.
Natural processing involves none of these steps, traditionally the full cherry is dried in the sun for around a week, then the dried skin is removed.
- Cauca Region, Colombia
Central Cooperativa Indigena del Cauca (Cencoic) has 1559 family members, all of which are small-scale coffee farmers living in the Cauca region of southern Colombia. CENCOIC's membership is entirely indigenous and consists of Nasa (Paez), Coconuco and Yanacona peoples.
The group's primary focus has been on protecting indigenous Colombians from political violence, protecting their rights, and providing them with the means to collectively work to increase their incomes. It has conducted successful campaigns on land reform and other pertinent indigenous issues. CENCOIC also takes pride from having undertaken the marketing of its own coffee, noting that by understanding all the aspects of coffee production and exporting they can represent their own coffee through their own structure and thus be more self-determining. Members also receive better prices for their coffee by selling to their own co-operative.
Marketing their primary cash crop "coffee" to the fair trade market has been a core activity, as has been income diversification into other crops, CENCOIC members cultivate, in addition to coffee, potatoes, dairy products, and cane sugar. The cooperative has created community stores where cooperative members sell their produce.
The continual improvement of coffee quality is an ongoing activity. CENCOIC has established a rotating fund for agricultural and animal husbandry projects. The cooperative has been able to support local experimental farms and indigenous schools as part of their fair trade premium spend.
- Peru, South America
Cooperativa Agraria Rodriguez de Mendoza (COOPARM) was formed in 2008 with a mission to ‘sell quality coffee in harmony with nature’.
A collective of 480 members, 33% of which are women, COOPARM’s geographical area includes 36 small towns who grow a diverse selection of coffee varietals in each farm. A unique part of the world, unlike many other coffee growing regions across the globe, this area of Peru delivers the perfect amount of rainfall to harvest coffee nearly all year round (February to December).
Social premiums are invested with emphasis on improving coffee quality with equal contribution back to the rich and thriving local ecology, each farmers' passion for organic process and the land are present in every aspect of life. As a norm, pulp from harvested cherries is used for compost and the cautious amount of water used for fermentation is fed back to the land. Because of its longer harvest season, only the ripest coffee cherries are harvested every 21 days.
Receiving higher prices as a success of their organic efforts has fostered a great pride in COOPARM’s farmers. A focus on quality is designed to bring higher prices to farmers, and seeks to transform the perception of coffee farming into a professional occupation. COOPARM would like the children of the coffee farmers to choose coffee farming as a profession, promoting the process as scientific and technical, involving biology, engineering, environment and business.
As COOPARM are achieving their goals in improving the quality, the focus is widening to education. With little to no education being the norm the farmers are vulnerable to scams and to misinformation. In previous years some farmers lost savings (in one farmer’s case 60,000 Sols/USD18,000) because a company promoted a diamond mining project to the farmers asking for investment, but which didn’t eventuate. In general, illiteracy means farmers can accept lower payments than they are entitled to from private traders because the weighing can be recorded as lower than actual, and payments can be mis-calculated. Social premiums allowed many farmers to fund their grandchildrens’ complete education. The cooperative helps to train young people in areas of coffee production such as cupping and quality control among their apprenticeship programs, keeping young people in the region and increasing the knowledge & quality of the coffee production in the community.
- Western Honduras, Central America
"To be a competitive and profitable business, recognized for its quality coffee and transparently managing all of its affairs, with gender equity and in harmony with nature, thereby helping to improve the living conditions of its members and their families".
Café Organico Marcala was founded in 2001, during a period when coffee prices were so low that it was unprofitable for coffee farmers to pick their harvest and most farmers in their region abandoned their plots, migrating to cities or to the US in search of another way to make a living.
The vast majority of farmers in the Marcala region of Honduras are indigenous Lenca. Although the Lenca’s language has been lost, many of their traditional agricultural techniques have been maintained in their approach to modern-day agriculture. This has led to one of the most sophisticated organic production systems amongst coffee producing co-ops in Central America. They are a leader in promoting organic agriculture and play a key role in training and education of other fair trade and organic producer co-ops throughout the region.
SAN FERNANDO Cooperative
- Location: San Fernando, Chiapas, Mexico
Bordering the lush rainforest of Sumidero Canyon National Park, Chiapas, the South Mexican San Fernando cooperative is committed to not only increasing the quality and resilience of their coffee crops, but keeping community needs at the heart of its operation.
The impact of climate change on the quality of coffee crops has inspired investment in the local ecology. San Fernando cooperative has increased the density of trees on many farms through a renovation program as well as supplying seedling nurseries with varietals which will flourish in the region's microclimate. The local farmers are supported by a team of 10 technical staff who educate and advise on coffee farming and other areas of organic production such as worm farming for vermicompost. As a result of their efforts, last year San Fernando paid their farmers almost twice the local street price of coffee.
Areas of life that may seem insignificant such as having access to a secure bank account are making considerable positive change to the families of the San Fernando cooperative. As well as the funding of schools and small coffee shops in the region, San Fernando have used their social premiums to support indigenous producers to continue in their cultural traditions and invest in Women's programs, one of which is hiring midwives to work locally in their communities to curb maternity mortality rates.
- Guatemala, Central America
GUAYA’B Asociacion Civil was formed in 1999, with the aim of providing better livelihoods for its members through higher prices and other development assistance.
The association represents 477 coffee and honey producers in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes region near Huehuetenango, in north-western Guatemala. 299 of these producers are listed as coffee growers and 178 as honey producers, although in practice some members have both honey and coffee. Most of the members are Popti' Maya, and the group's name means "mutual benefit" in their language.
Among the services Guaya'b offers to its members are a low interest loan service (farmers typically are left without sufficient cash in the months prior to harvest to pay for essentials, and may not be able to find casual work in this period either), and services for local women such as nutritional advice and work and business training (making honey-processing equipment and running a honey store in Jacaltenango).
Technical assistance aimed at improving the quality of honey and coffee production is central to Guaya'b's work. The co-operative provides an at-cost supply of certified coffee seedlings to its members.
A revolving credit fund supports members' efforts to renovate their coffee farms.
Construction of its own wet processing mill on the outskirts of Jacaltenango has created an opportunity for many coffee-producing members of Guaya'b to process their coffee from cherry stage to dried coffee parchment much more cheaply (at about 25% of the previous cost), and more quickly, than they previously could. It is also expected that by using the wet mill farmers can produce a more consistent, higher quality coffee than they can in their own backyards.
Multi-origin blends allow us to craft a balanced palate by bringing together distinct coffee flavours from different regions. It also allows us to support smaller co-ops and a range of co-ops - distributing our own economic resources more strategically.
Don Wilfredo Haslan
Don's tiny five-hectare coffee farm is situated in the Nicaraguan jungle, two hours drive from Matagalpa. Acutely aware of the environment, and how to get the best out of a very small amount of land, farmers like Don Wilfredo continue to provide a striking and confronting model of what it could be like to live with a very modest environmental footprint.