Fresh Roasted Coffee's Origin Trip to Colombia
Whether you are looking to buy coffee or learn more about our company, we believe it is important to know where the coffee you decide to purchase comes from.
At Fresh Roasted Coffee, we invest in origin trips to unique coffee regions, striving to establish direct trade relationships, to educate ourselves and help farms, coops, and programs build a sustainable foundation for quality coffee production.
In the late summer of 2017, CEO of Fresh Roasted Coffee, Andrew Oakes, boarded a flight bound for one of the most well-renowned coffee origins in the world, Colombia.
Colombian Coffee Production
As the plane headed into Nariño, Colombia, Oakes knew that this trip would be more than just a coffee origin visit. It would also be a philanthropic effort to educate the local community on the importance and reward of quality coffee production.
In the 1990s, the global coffee crisis sent Colombian coffee farmers into poverty and debt. 23% of producers weren't able to meet production costs, which led to malnutrition, unemployment, and a bleak outlook for many who relied on coffee as a way of life. This crisis was combated with a rise in global coffee prices and premiums given to farmers for quality coffee production.
Promoting high-quality coffee production isn't a short-term effort. It sets practices in place for ongoing quality control and care that have a lasting residual impact on the environment, coffee production, and farmers.
The Opportunities Provided by Coffee Origin Trips
Coffee origin trips have the opportunity to address many of the barriers impeding the production of quality coffee. While Colombia ranks as the third-highest coffee producing country in the world, many factors hinder this region's ability to continually produce high-quality coffee, including deforestation, soil and water contamination, poverty, and lack of education.
During the origin trip, Oakes was able to meet and establish relationships with a wide range of smallholder Colombian coffee farmers. Connecting with producers in the specialty coffee industry is a unique opportunity that helps establish a solid foundation of trust and support. Along with developing relationships, Oakes had the opportunity to cup and evaluate some of Colombia's finest specialty coffees.
Incentivizing high-quality coffee production by paying higher premiums, farmers, exporters, and buyers are able to work together to establish relationships that support one another's success. In turn, increasing sustainable coffee farming protects biodiversity, improves production output, supports farmers with the income they need to sustain their businesses and support their families, increases demand from consumers and purchasers, and sheds more visibility on the specific region in which the specialty coffee is being produced.
Incentivizing Quality Coffee Production in Colombia
In the past, quality coffee production in many areas of Colombia was not rewarded monetarily with premiums. Farmers were getting the same price paid for coffee grown with exceptional care as coffees that were mass-produced with little quality control. This had a significant impact on a farmer's willingness to learn or practice sustainable coffee farming.
This origin trip was one of many efforts undertaken to support and uplift specialty coffee production in Colombia. Coffee purchasers from all over the world flew in to evaluate hundreds of coffees that were selected from the thousands provided by local Colombian coffee farmers. Each farmer was immediately paid for all of the coffees they supplied for the contest. During the cupping, coffees were scored and farmers with the highest-scoring coffees were paid a second premium - a bonus for their exceptional product.
IEDR La Union is an educational institution that hosted the origin trip's coffee cupping competition. 80% of the students at the school have parents who are displaced or derive their livelihood from the production of coffee.
Taking on educational projects, like this origin trip and cupping contest, IEDR La Union has a unique opportunity to educate students and the community on the benefits of specialized coffee production.
Students at IEDR La Union, in turn, are able to prepare for future professions within the coffee industry through these hands-on learning experiences and are also able to educate their parents on the opportunities that lie within quality coffee production.
This type of competition encourages and incentivizes farmers to produce better coffee, with the intention to take more Colombian coffee production from commercial to specialty grade. Here, farmers and students were able to see an example of how higher-quality coffee production could impact their business. A small-scale example foreshadowing an even greater opportunity for many of the farmers. Importers and purchasers, like Oakes, were also able to meet the farmers, visit coffee farms, and learn firsthand about coffee production in Colombia.
Being able to play a role in the promotion of quality coffee production both directly and indirectly is something we are extremely passionate about at Fresh Roasted Coffee. Visiting Colombia, learning more about the region's coffee production, and building relationships with farmers was an incredible opportunity.
Oakes was able to return home to Fresh Roasted Coffee headquarters in Central Pennsylvania with four different varieties of high-grade Colombian coffee purchased from smallholder coffee farms. He based his selection of coffee beans on flavor, exceptional quality, and uniquity that stood out from the rest.
We are thrilled to share these experiences and products with coffee connoisseurs like you.