Practically speaking, here's what we're up to:
Coffee farming, quite frankly, is just not a successful or sustainable career for most farmers. Low prices, an increase in plant disease, and the amount of work required just isn't worth the effort, especially when there are other more lucrative opportunities nearby. It's one of the main reasons why much of the younger generation here in Guatemala have chosen other career paths or have emigrated to the United States and Canada.
As large of an issue as this sounds, helping to make coffee farming a sustainable and successful career eliminates this regression from occurring and there's an actual way to see this happen!!! Partnering with farmers to produce quality coffee increases their product's value, reduces plant susceptibility to coffee diseases, helps the environment, and more importantly, makes coffee farming successful. It gives farmers the chance to be proud of their career and their generational investment once again.
We use this word "Relationship" because that's what it really is. We spend time together, walk together, laugh together, give suggestions for better coffee together, but ultimately, we both have each other needs in mind. The farmers recognize that roasters want better tasting coffees and we recognize that the farmers want to see coffee farming become a lucrative career. When we work together with this in mind, everyone one wins. It's this mutually beneficial relationship that we believe in.
Coffee Cuppings have the ability to bring roasters and farmers together over a cup of coffee to appreciate one another's work. Here, when farmers get the chance to taste their own coffee, they're able to recognize the value and quality of their work. When farmers do an amazing job from seed to cup, you can taste it. Flavors are present, its well balanced, and enjoyable! Likewise, when they produce a less than desirable cup, it's not as enjoyable but this feedback helps them make revisions. It's this feedback that helps farmers produce better coffees and which ultimately, overtime and with much work, sets them up to succeed.
Our goal is to incentivize quality to encourage success for the farmers. At the end of the day, what makes coffee farming a successful career is ultimately their quality of product. For this reason, we're dedicated to the farmers to see them succeed in producing quality coffees. With this in mind, we've incentivized and set clear markers for quality standards such as cupping scores, ripeness, plant health, and separation practices along with many more. As a result, coffee will get better which'll give further opportunities for the farmers to place their coffees at the doors of well-known specialty coffee roasters!
In the past, as Farmers produced better coffees, exporters and importers became the ones who received the financial benefit from these coffees. To shy away from this occurring, Yepocapa Coffee has set a maximum precedent on our work as an exporter/importer so that as Farmers become successful, Farmers become the ones who'll reap the financial benefit of their work and advancement. Setting a limit on our gain, allows farmers to grow in profit without limit. We also share these numbers with the farmers and our roasting partners to keep this relationship held accountable.
Knowing that success and sustainability stem from producing higher quality coffees, we're reinvesting a portion of our profits back into the community in two ways. We donate to a local school in their community and we reinvest back into the cooperative by purchasing raised drying beds, a smaller micro-lot wet mill facility, and other improvements that help to make their coffee simply amazing!
When coffee farmers are given the opportunities to become successful, they'll go above and beyond. Now that the farmers have obtained their export licensing, we're excited to see them become successful through our relationship with them and their hard work to see a desired coffee become a spectacular coffee.
In short, these practices that we described above incentivize quality, offer opportunities for growth, and open a pathway to sustainability and success through sourcing better, tastier coffee. It's good for them, it's good for us, it's good for you, and it's good for the future generations to come too.