Colombia El Trapiche Gesha *PRE-ORDER ONLY
Raquel Lasso is part of a family of producers in Northern Nariño, Colombia. Her father was the first producer in the region to own a mechanical pulper. He would get up early in the morning, load the pulper onto a donkey, and take it around the area for other producers to use. That kind of generosity and care for community he has passed down to his children who continue to grow coffee and think about how to better the lives of their neighbors.
In the culture of Northern Nariño, women play a critical role in farming. They are typically in charge of the drying process and also of producing food for the other workers on the farm. Although their work responsibilities are great, the men typically control all of the finances and decide what the women have access to. The result of this is that the women are often disadvantaged and have no leverage or other opportunities. Raquel saw this issue and wanted to find a way to help the women gain more economic independence. She started by buying and giving cows to 35 women in the region. The women were able to produce milk and cheese and began to earn their own incomes. Some even increased their herds and built their own businesses. Another woman saved money from her cow’s production and now owns her own clothing business.
Another issue Raquel has worked to improve is women being held responsible when coffees don’t fetch as high prices as expected due to issues during drying. Without proper equipment and technique, the drying process can be very difficult to control, leaving women exposed to tension and sometimes violence for reasons outside of their control. Raquel has worked to provide loans, subsidies, and education to provide women with drying beds and plastic to cover them. This helped cut down on the number of uncontrollable factors contributing to drying inconsistencies.
She’s not only done excellent work in her community, but she’s also an outstanding coffee producer. Raquel traditionally produced Caturra, but a few years ago a coffee buyer brought Gesha seeds to the Lassos. She began to replant her farm, and after her Gesha plants started producing, she continued to pick only ripe cherries and meticulously process and dry her coffee. The result is a crop that has yielded her three times the price of her normal Caturra crop. She hopes that her farm can become a place for other producers in FUDAM to learn from and continue to increase the economics of the region. She’s using the money to reinvest in her farm and build a new washing station.
I was fortunate enough to speak with Raquel about what she hoped for the future of her farm. She said she hoped that her farm would serve as a model to others in the region. There are lots of big coffee companies buying coffee for very low prices in the region. The Lasso’s became involved in the FUDAM association out of a desire to fetch the prices they felt their coffee was genuinely worth, to encourage other producers to focus on producing high-quality coffee instead of producing as much coffee as possible, which yields much lower scoring coffees.
She hopes that her success helps create more economic opportunity, and that “everything goes back to how to make farms profitable. In order to incentivize younger generations to stay in coffee to alleviate social and economic problems in the region. Misinformation about volume and productivity leading to profitability over quality leading to profitability."
We suggest pulling this as a beautifully floral, bright espresso or a clean complex filter offering. Both showcase different aspects of the coffee, but are equally delicious! Check out our brewing videos for the recipes we recommend.
Colombia El Trapiche Gesha
This is a Relationship Coffee from our friends and exporters Pergamino in Medellin and Raquel Lasso in Nariño. It is our first year to work with the Lassos, but we developed a real love for her program and association FUDAM. We hope to continue to work with her for many years to come. We paid $12 per pound and cupped this coffee at an 89. We purchased ten 30 kilo vacuum boxes of the Gesha. We also purchased a few boxes from her nephew's farm as well next door.
- The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.21/lb when we purchased this coffee.
- The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased this coffee.
* We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage up front upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.