A True Relationship With Coffee
A lot of our focus with regards to sourcing coffee begins with a relationship with the importer, not the producer. Why though? Shouldn’t we be targeting direct trade and cutting out the middleman? All the cool kids are doing it, and there’s a lot of talk and posing in the industry regarding doing just that.
The reality though, is that without spending the majority of our time on the ground in an origin country we wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it a true relationship coffee. And then imagine trying to do that in all of the countries we wish to source coffee from. You’re probably already jumping to the conclusion we’re pushing to make. That being that if we had a team located in each of these distinct origins in order to source coffee for our cafe, we’d have essentially just scaled up our company to become importers. You see the problem here?
Why re-invent the wheel?
We roast beautiful coffee. And we serve beautiful coffee. And while we prioritize finding and sourcing beautiful coffee, we’re also not going to say that we could do a better job, or could even do it at all without the help of organizations that are on the ground there, that have been involved in the communities and have already built those relationships. So our goal instead is to build relationships with those organizations that are already doing that work. Why re-invent the wheel?
“We aim to commit to producers over the long-haul, and work with them to continually improve their product, and thus allow them to continually grow alongside us.“
As a company, Coffeebar will be working to support those importers that are truly invested and able to have the kind of long-term impact that we aim to have. Call them conduits rather than middlemen. Instead of swooping down each year and selecting the top coffee from an auction, shaking hands with the producer and giving them a one-off windfall of a premium that may or may not be replicated next harvest, we aim to invest in producers who are investing in themselves. We aim to commit to producers over the long-haul, and work with them to continually improve their product, and thus allow them to continually grow alongside us.
“Commit to the person, and then work together to create the product.“
It’s almost the inverse of the current model, where the coffee determines the relationship. But coffee is a fickle crop, and no two harvests will ever be alike. Simply electing the best coffee to be our ‘relationship offering’ is a short-term solution, and offers no guarantees for us or the farmer on next year. Instead, we want to forge the relationships, create that promise and commitment, and then work to be always improving the product. Commit to the person, and then work together to create the product.