Creating something you're happy with is never easy. So many tireless hours are spent searching for something that sparks an idea and nine times out of ten, someone's already beaten you to the punch — Actually, it's more like a hundred people have already beaten you to the punch. The only salvation is finding a resource; a place you can go to that fills your head full of things you'd never stumble across on any blog.
With coffee and all its possibilities, we started 2012 with trips to Central America. We visited farms in Costa Rica and Panama to meet coffee farmers we have bough coffee from in 2011 and to find new farmers who we hope will become long term partners. The images in this story are some of our favorite and have come to define our year working with "directly traded" coffee.
We use this terms "directly traded" not because it is associated with any label or organization that certifies our beans, but because we have a real relationship with the people who grow the coffee we roast and sell here in the shop. We admire those who use the "direct trade" label and have a real and thought-out model for how they trade their coffee. We don't see ourselves as rejecting a "direct trade" label, but what is the important part, for us, is transparency. For this, we will work to explain the process the coffee we buy takes, from the farm to our roastery. Through this journey we hope it can become clear for our customers and farmer partners why we charge what we charge for our roasted beans.
What use is "direct trade" or any other label, when there is not a story behind it to back it up? We will follow this up with examples from our Costa Rica and Brazil trades in the next month.