Traveling to Origin.
Why we feel it is important as specialty coffee roasters to travel to Origin and the benefits this has to the coffee supply chain.
One of the perks of the job as a specialty coffee roaster is the chance to travel to Origin. At Rounton coffee it has always been our aim to directly source the coffees we roast. We are proud to say we have managed to do this by building strong sourcing relationships with some of the world’s leading specialty green coffee importers and our journey so far has seen us travel to Sumatra, Tanzania and El Salvador. With a trip to Colombia on the cards for September.
(Left) Los Pironeos El Salvsador Raised drying beds with an assortment processing practices including Naturals, Yellow honey, Orange honey and Red honey.
After 5 years of hard work and determination we are very fortunate to be in a position as a business to get out to at least one coffee growing country per year. These trips to Origin allow us to gain a very important insight into the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the specialty coffee supply chain and we work very hard to share this message. The question of why we feel it is important to travel to Origin is pretty simple really, for us at Rounton it is all about creating a sustainable and profitable supply chain form bean to cup. We are not only coffee roasters but we are also consumers of coffee. Obviously we all can’t just jet off to some far flung country and get our hands dirty on a coffee farm so this is why we work tirelessly to tell the stories of the people involved in bringing us this delicious beverage. As consumers we can make small but very important decisions that can have a huge impact on how we buy the products we love, one that is more sustainable for the whole supply chain and we can do this by making just a few changes in how we buy our coffee.
Always ask where your coffee comes from…
Yes the first step really is that easy. Asking where your coffee comes from not only allows us to make an informed decision on whether we want to spend our hard earned cash on the product we are about to buy, but it also puts pressure on the coffee shops and the wholesalers to work more closely with the people that grow their coffee. This way of buying will encourage more people to follow more responsible purchasing practices and in turn will hopefully shorten the supply chain and encourage people to buy from producers who use fair and sustainable business practices. Talking to Famers who work so hard all year to produce high scoring coffees whilst paying fair wages to their staff and providing a high standard of living to their workers deserve this recognition. Asking this simple question when buying coffee will most certainly force the hand of the supplier to answer these questions and then we hold the power in the supply chain. If we demonstrate that we care then we can only hope that everyone will follow.
Understand how coffee is produced…
Coffee takes a whole year to grow and it is more often than not handpicked at high altitude. This makes coffee picking very labour intensive. Coffee cherries ripen at different stages throughout the picking season and this will be a job that needs to be done with the highest attention to detail making sure that only the ripest cherries are picked at the right time. A lot of training and incentives are provided to the workers on farms that produce specialty coffee and this provides families that work in coffee the ability to maintain a good standard of living, send their children to school and put food on the table. We have seen this first hand on many of the farms we have visited and the social and economic impacts of this way of working are why we choose to work in specialty coffee. Producing higher quality coffees is not easy but if we understand a little more about the work that goes into producing our morning cup we will have a greater appreciation of the work involved and believe me it makes that brew taste a whole lot better.
Choose the independent…
At Rounton coffee our philosophy is (always look for the independent) we are huge advocates for anyone who has stuck their head above the parapet and taken the step to build a business from the ground up. Independent coffee shops and retailers are the people who have helped us grow as a business and it is here that you will find the people that really care about the produce they are selling. The independents are the people that will carefully craft your morning coffee. Giving the bean that has been carefully nurtured and expertly processed the care it deserves. We might pay a slightly higher premium for this product but I can guarantee that the end result will be worth it and what is better than knowing that the extra 20p you paid for your flat white will travel back along that supply chain making huge benefits for all.