We’re excited to announce the signing of a three-year purchase agreement with the Apolo cooperative of coffee farmers in Olopa, Guatemala! Negotiated through our Friend2Farmer direct trade program, the purchase agreement will provide stability and additional funds for the farmers and their local community.
Standard coffee industry practice is to purchase coffee annually after tasting the current crop. Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert said he agreed to the longer contract after visiting the community in the Chiquimula department of eastern Guatemala and learning about their needs. We committed to buy two containers of coffee each year, paying a premium above the current-market price to give farmers additional funds to invest in their community.
“Instability in the coffee market was leading some of the 64 coffee-growing families in the Asociacion de Productores de Café de Olopa (Apolo) co-op to consider abandoning the crop that had been their livelihood for over 80 years,” he said. “We believe our three-year commitment will give co-op members the confidence and cash flow they need to invest in agricultural improvements and their local community.”
The agreement was signed during a recent trip to Columbus by Apolo President Arnoldo Cardona, Vice President Alvaro Lemus and Member Eric Ramos. The co-op leaders cupped coffee at our Innovation Lab, met with students at the Connecting Grounds café on the Ohio State University Campus and toured the Crimson Cup Coffee House in Upper Arlington.
“We were the first American roaster to visit the community of Olopa in 2015,” said Coffee Buyer Dave Eldridge. “It was a great pleasure to show Arnoldo, Alvaro and Eric around our Columbus coffee operations so that they could see how their coffee is roasted and sold to consumers.”
Apolo co-op members harvest Guatemalan Olopa coffee from Catuai, Acturra and Bourbon varietals growing at 4,900 feet. The beans are fully washed and patio dried. After a medium roast at the Crimson Cup roasting facility, the beans produce a remarkably clean cup, with chocolate fragrance, silky body and pleasing acidity. Tasting notes of brown sugar, caramel and toast round out the sensory experience.
Greg noted that there is no universally accepted definition of direct trade in the specialty coffee industry. “At Crimson Cup, direct trade means that a member of our team has traveled to the coffee-growing region and signed an agreement directly with a farmer or growing cooperative, rather than working through a coffee broker,” he said. “Through our Friend2Farmer program, we go even further by investing time and money to improve coffee quality and quality of life in the community. We make recurring visits to make friends, strengthen relationships and help fund local schools and other life-enriching projects.”