Let’s take a moment to reflect on the year just gone, especially as we’re entering a new decade. Because 2019 was a busy old time for Pact Coffee.
We sourced from 9 countries, and visited 5 - so we could do some essential hands-on work with multiple farmers at origin.
That’s sort of our whole thing. We don’t just fling money at faceless people in far-off places. We maintain long-term relationships, simultaneously professional and personal, and support the development and growth of the people we work with. So where did we go this year?
It’s the world’s biggest coffee producer - of course we had to drop by! A trip to Brazil means a trip to Planalto farm, and a catch up with owner Sergio Mantovaninni:
Next up, it was time to visit Gilberto Basilio at Zaroca farm. He got to update us on his latest environmental efforts - reforesting land previously stripped for sugarcane. He’s revived so much forestland that it’s even visible on Google Maps!
We hit up Colombia twice this year! The first trip was focused on the Asomuprisma Women’s Association, a women-led coffee producer group with the aim of promoting gender equity in the industry - you can read about them here.
This visit had an important purpose - picking up a few inexpensive but invaluable bits of kit (including plastic buckets!), we held a training day. Sometimes adding a few simple steps to processing habits can make a whole load of difference to coffee quality…
…And that’s why we could return later in the year to present members of the group with back payments earned from the higher quality coffee they grew!
But that’s not all we got up to. Catching up with the San Isidro Group farmers is always a food-filled extravaganza, and a great way to catch up on the progress of multiple farming partners at once. Those hills are no mean feat to travel across…
First stop in Honduras was Manantial farm - visiting husband and wife Don Filberto Guifarro and Neptali Alvarado, and their daughter Mavet Guifarro.
This visit involved giving the farm a digital thermometer - a small bit of kit, but something that allows farmers to really hone their processing skills by keeping a closer eye on fermentation.
After that was a visit to Don George farm, named after farm owner Walter Calix’s late father. Since he’s produced some truly incredible coffees for us in the past few years, we could buy Walter a depulper - a piece of kit that will send quality skyrocketing! And as generous as he is, he’s even showing neighbouring farmers how to use it too.
A picture paints a thousand words, so just think how jolty you’d be after trying all of these coffees…
This is from ‘Kenya Offer Day’, where we pick out and buy all the Kenyan coffee we’ll put on offer that year. Cup upon cups are laid out, and the whole process is relentless - each table practically ready to “break” as soon as the last table has been fully cupped. We’re talking 100+ coffees to try per person…
In 2018, it was a goat we bought for one Rwandan farm: a great source of fertiliser (good for coffee) and milk (good for people!). This year - and this is an exclusive! - we’ve gone for a slightly bigger animal. And more of them too…
The Girinki Project involved buying 34 cows, with veterinary and livestock training taken care of. Await further details in 2020!
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