Meet Magdalena López.
Magdalena is a coffee producer from Nariño, which is located in Colombia's South-West. We've purchased Magdalena's coffee, Santa Fe, last year, after being really impressed by its citrus acidity on our cupping table. We have since been to her farm, Finca Santa Fe, and had the privilege of meeting her and having her show us around the farm.
Pictured here is the moment when Magdalena received the second payment for her coffee from Azahar, who exported her coffee and brought it to our attention. But wait, why was she paid twice, actually? Well, in Colombia, the vast majority of coffee produced is sold to Co-Ops at a daily rate fixed by the C price set in New York. Usually, the coffee traded in this manner is graded solely by visible defects - but this has slowly been changing.
Our partners from Azahar have been working alongside Co-Ops to grade coffee lots by flavor as well. Magdalena's coffee was one of several lots that Azahar graded as high-quality produce, and they were kind enough to reserve it for us, knowing that we'll love it.
Once we've tasted the coffee and approved it for purchase, Magdalena's payment for producing a premium quality lot was set up. The process is long, due to the different steps required for coffee to be purchased at a premium cost, but after weeks of waiting, Magdalena received her second payment right around last Christmas - a 115% bonus, effectively more than she was paid by the Co-Op.
This moment, happy for us and especially happy for farmers like Magdalena, also poses some challenges: how can we communicate the reasons that made the coffee merit a second payment? Most producers who work with Azahar and us have never tasted their own coffee, and don't know what cup profile or qualities we look for when sourcing. How can we build a relationship with Magdalena, where we can communicate our wishes and expectations, and she can use that information to ensure that the premium payments keep coming?
One way in which we hope to be able to build on this moment is by returning to Finca Santa Fe again this year, with bags of roasted Santa Fe coffee, and brew it for Magdalena. This was her one request from us before we left her farm in September, and it is one we're more than happy to oblige.
We've purchased Santa Fe again this year, and it is now available for you to try. It's tasting even better this time; you guys (and Magdalena) are in for a treat.