Thursday, February 08, 2007


as the swallow flies

and of course no sooner had i sprung for some of oren's yemen yesterday than the heavens open to rain coffee upon me.

with a one-two blast, the frigid winds bore me jessica's batdorf dancing goats regular and decaf, as well as peter g's intriguing colombian project, la golondrina.

peter at counterculture partnered directly with farmers and paid them for quality coffee. if the coffee cupped 92, he paid them a premium well above the regular price.

the farmers participating in the golondrina project are an indigenous people called the guarapamba who live on a reservation in a remote section of cauca, in southwestern colombia. native peoples represent a tiny portion of the colombian population, but have suffered disproportionately from the civil strife there.

peter separated out these highest quality coffees and bought them as micro-lots. basically, it seems as if peter bought them f.o.b. tree, shunning the usual long chain of coffee middlemen.

this means the farmers saw the money themselves, directly, instead of it being filtered through a big line of greedy hands, as is alas all too common in the commercial coffee trade.

these coffees are roast-dated feb. 5. pressing my nose to the one-way valve reveals strong perfumes of vanilla and caramel. . .yummy.

these coffees are an interesting case in non-certification, if you know what i mean. while not certified organic, but they basically are, because these native farmers are too remote and poor to afford or obtain chemicals.

likewise, without the "benefits" of corporatizing agronomists, they continue to grow the beautiful old coffee varieties, bourbon and typica, varieties noted for the most flavor.

can't wait to try 'em! i know a lot of people read kevin knox's article recently about what he sees as the drawbacks to high-priced, direct buy, and competition coffees.

look, me arguing with knox about the coffee business would be like me arguing with stephen hawking about time. dumb.

all i can say is that unless peter had gone to find agents who could directly source this coffee with him, how would it come to me, the discriminating consumer? the political and geographical situation of these farmers means they wouldn't reach the specialty market otherwise.

too many fine coffees fall through the cracks due to the failures of the standard coffee market. i just see the results of these direct-trade and competition efforts in my cup -- i couldn't be able to get my hands on these stellar beans any other way.

unlike standard market coffees, where the consumer has no idea when, where, if, or how much the farmer was really paid for the coffee, i know the whole chain. i know peter, i can talk to peter, i can trust peter when he says he paid the coffee farmers and on time.

peter g. worked with juan carlos guampe, one of the small tribe's leaders, with the help of alejandro cadena and giancarlo gianetti, colombians who devote themselves to working with coffee farmers in this way.

and peter roasted the coffee, then sent it to me. that's it -- the entire sequence, which peter explains openly and plainly.

peter is paying the farmers a high premium directly based on the cup quality, not on whether or not they have filed 1,000 pages of elaborate paperwork and passed bureaucratic inspection.

how could this not be a model for how we want coffee to be bought and sold in the future?

so thanks to you, jessica and peter!

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posted by fortune | 6:39 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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