What is “Direct Trade”
Direct trade is a term used by coffee roasters who buy straight from the growers, cutting out both the traditional middleman buyers and sellers and also the organizations that control certifications such as Fair Trade and Bird Friendly, for example. Direct trade proponents say their model is the best because they build mutually beneficial and respectful relationships with individual producers or cooperatives in the coffee-producing countries. Some roasters do it because they are dissatisfied with the third-party certification programs, while others want to have more control over aspects ranging from the quality of the coffee, to social issues, or environmental concerns.
Barocco Coffee Company buys its two most prevalent bean species using the Direct Trade model, from Brazil and Colombia
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.
Why not Fair Trade? Fair Trade is a body aimed at assisting small farmers around the world. In order to be certified, farms must be smaller than 5 hectares – Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama has over 400. However, they are UTZ certified, (https://www.utz.org) which ensures superior farming methods, healthy working conditions, employee housing and respect for the environment.
This coffee is not organic. However, they follow strict environmental rules ensuring that defensive agents are applied to the plants at least 6 months before harvest season. This yields beans free of any artificial substances.
In 2012, Carolina Orduz, fulfilled a lifelong dream and purchased a plot of land in Colombia next to her grandmother’s farm. Barocco is proud to work directly with Carolina and her husband Ralf, importing their prized “Silveria” beans. Many factors make these beans special. Shade grown at a high elevation of 1400 feet, Carolina’s traditional and sustainable farming methods make a difference. The cherries that hold the bean (seed) are hand picked, washed, naturally fermented and sun-dried.. Although not certified as such, these beans are organic as NO pesticides are used.
Benefits of Shade-Grown Beans
Taste. Shaded conditions create a cooler setting and, like coffee grown at higher altitudes, the growth of the bean is slower. This creates a denser, harder bean, which is what we look for in quality coffee.
Ecosystem. Provides bird habitat and greater biodiversity. Shade-grown helps generate more biodiversity and leads to a more stable ecosystem. The forest provides a safe habitat for birds that eat insect larvae, and in turn, reducing the need for pesticide use. It also offers support for more bees that help pollinate the coffee plants.
Rainforest Sustainability. Coffee plantations that are chemically dependent suffer from soil depletion and increased erosion. The rainforest is stripped to provide fresh growing ground. Shaded coffee farms are, for the most part, organic and sustainable. The canopy is constantly dropping natural biomass to the plantation soil, thus maintaining complete sub-soil ecosystems.
Benefits of High Altitude Grown Beans.
This farm is 1400 meters above sea level and the coffee is considered “high altitude” grown. High altitude reduces the quantity yielded but results in a more desirable flavour.
Benefits of Hand selected beans.
Experienced pickers know to select only the ripe cherry from each plant at each of numerous passes over two months. They also know how to remove the fruit without damaging stems and leaves. This is in contrast to high yield - lower quality machine-harvested beans.