OUR GREEN BUYING PHILOSOPHY
There has been a tremendous shift over the past decade in the way coffee beans are purchased. With the advancements in technology, the growth of specialty coffee and the emergence of thousands of new micro coffee roasters worldwide, farmers are getting better opportunities to benefit from their tremendously difficult work. Barocco Coffee works to find the best quality coffee beans, paying consistently fair prices and seeking transparency to ensure the farmers are being treated fairly. Direct Trade is our preferred relationship route and we have developed several valuable relationships with both Brazilian and Colombia farms this way.
What is Direct Trade?
Direct Trade is defined broadly by “buying directly from the farmers without intermediaries, otherwise known as middlemen”. However we need to delve further into this definition. It’s important to know that picking the cherry from the coffee tree is only the first step. Many small farms will never have the opportunity to sell directly to a roaster. The cherry needs to be processed which can entail a variety of methods. The seed (bean) inside needs to be separated from the pulp of the cherry. There are many methods and processes including, washed, semi- washed, natural, pulped natural.
The bean then needs to dry properly, be screened to weed out defective or damaged beans and then packed. As most small farms do not have their own processing facilities, they must travel and bring their crop to the nearest facility, usually called a ‘station”. Some stations will process for hundreds of small farms and form a co-op to represent them. There is debate as to whether buying from a station can be considered “direct”.
You need to consider that this is as direct as many farms can get to selling to a roaster. Barocco Coffee seeks to ensure the “station” is paying a fair price to these small lot farmers and therefore chooses to work with stations that are actually owned jointly by the many small stakeholder farms.
Gabriel Carvalho’s great-grandmother saw an opportunity 1890 with what has now become one of Brazil’s most valuable coffee-growing lands. The tradition for quality has been maintained for over 125 years and Barocco is proud to have established a direct trade relationship with Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama and its neighbouring farms.
This farm is located in a large valley in Northeastern São Paulo called "Vale da Grama". It sits at an altitude of 1000m-1200m above sea level, has a very rich volcanic soil and enjoys the best climate a coffee tree could ask for. In fact, some of the finest coffees in the world come from this region, winning dozens of global awards.
The coffees from Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama are certified
Green Coffee Company (GCC) “La Esmeralda” is devoted to producing high-quality RFA-certified coffees in a sustainable, ethical manner. Their focus on both people and the environment is improving working conditions for laborers, protecting natural springs on their land and improving overal quality and sustainability of their coffee.
GCC was founded in 2018 in Salgar, Antioquia. Their farms are ideally suited to take advantage of the high altitudes near 1,5 to 2,100 meters above sea level and ideal microclimate for cultivating sweet, dense cherry.
They use intelligent crop management by utilizing technology that measures soil pH, wind movements, moisture levels and temperature at each farm. With this data, they can make informed decisions about planting, fertilizer application, harvesting and more.
For us, connecting farmers’ stories to the coffees they grew can create a successful long-term relationships with farmers and source superb coffee!
GCC is making waves in the coffee industry by creating formal employment agreements with its labourers. With legal contracts that establish wages and work hours labourers have much more security as well as access to essential services including healthcare, insurance and pension plans.
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests to make responsible business the new normal. They are building an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
The Rainforest Alliance’s mission is to create a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities. They address social, economic, and environmental improvement as inseparable elements of the broader goal of sustainability. Following the 2018 merger between the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, they have worked for more than a year to build on the strengths of the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certification programs to create their new 2020 Certification Program, which took effect in July 2021.
Their new standard includes “critical criteria” in all three areas (environmental, social and economic sustainability)—requirements that farms and supply chain actors must meet in order to earn and maintain certification—and takes an ambitious new approach to how they measure continuous improvement.