When we first visited Sol y Cafe cooperative in Peru in 2016, facilities were sparse. An 11-hour drive from Lima on poor quality roads, the coffee farmers on the mountains of Jaen were working in some of the most remote growing conditions we’d ever seen. Coffee was shuttled down mountains one sack at a time on the back of scooters, then sorted on tarpaulins laid out on the ground.
And we were met with mixed reactions. Many farmers were sceptical of our ideas to improve quality, yield and price. In amongst that, we found pockets of enthusiasm and passion for making coffee better.
It was always going to be a big task. But we were hopeful.
Fast forward three years, we’ve returned to the cooperative each year. Trust and relationships have grown and progress is clear to see.
On their recent trip, Co-founders David & Marc were able to see the cooperative’s investment back into this community. New cupping labs and a processing plant are available for farmers. A nursery means farmers can experiment with coffee varietals and also grow fruits and vegetables. Roads are improved and an airstrip means the cooperative is more accessible making trade far easier.We were delighted to be shown around their new medical centre - all this, funded by the cooperative.
As cup quality has improved year on year we have been able to invest more into this coffee. When we started working together we bought just five sacks. Now, we buy over 1000. We select tiny farms producing coffee of exceptional quality which means we have 100% traceability to farm and lot.
With projects of this nature, true change can feel slow.
We have always believed that by sharing knowledge and passion with this cooperative we could have a positive impact on the lives of our coffee farmers. Seeing this firsthand, is amazing.
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