Farmers or Producers can range from small family farms to large private estates. Large estates employ paid labour whereas small farmers rely on the sale of their own coffee.
Low quality coffees are grown in big sun-baked plantations at lower altitudes using chemical pesticides and fertilizers whereas higher quality coffees are typically grown in smaller forested plots at higher altitudes using organic practices.
Intermediaries are traders, cayotes or “middlemen”. They buy coffee, often as fruit, from growers at prices as low as $0.10lb and then resell it to processors at a profit.
Processors can be small cooperatives or big industrial operations. They depulp, ferment and wash the coffee fruit using a wet mill. Then the coffee is dried, deshelled, and sorted at a dry mill.
Exporters are organizations or companies that buy different types of green coffee from fincas, co-ops or at auctions in one place and then sell it to importers or brokers in another place.
Shippers are international carriers that transport the coffee from its place of origin to the point of sale, typically in large container ships.
Importers or brokers operate as intermediaries buying green coffee from exporters and selling it to roasters.
Roasters can be small artisans or big commercial manufactures. They’re typically located closer to the consumer. They roast green coffee for 8-15min to create the dark brown beans we know and love.
Retailers are the final link in the coffee supply chain. They can be big chain grocery stores or small independent cafes. They can sell beans coffee or coffee-based beverages. Retailers are generally the only one the customer ever sees.
100% of our coffee comes from small, mostly indigenous, producers who own and maintain their own farms.
All of our coffee is shade grown on small plots at altitude using organic practices.
All of our producers are encouraged not only to grow coffee but also to process it so that they can capture more value from their labour.
Our producers organize themselves into larger organizations, associations or cooperatives so that they can share strategic resources and process their own coffee without the need for middlemen or “coyotes”.
Our export/import partners share our commitment to transparency and economic justice. They help us move our coffee from the producers in Guatemala to our roasters in the US and Canada.
We roast our coffee fresh to order in small batches using low-emission electric machinery. The rest is done by ethical craft roasters who share our social values and concern for the environment.
We package our coffee in high-quality biodegradable material to minimize waste and ensure its freshness.
In some locations you can pick-up your coffee at our roaster, a local farmers market or you can have it hand delivered by low emission couriers.
Cooperativa La Voz que Clama en el Desierto or “the voice the cries out in the desert”, is located on the shores of Lago Atitlán in the Tz’utujil Maya community of San Juan La Laguna.
Established by 20 farmers in 1977 under the shade of a ceiba (the tree of life), this family-based cooperative has over 600 individual members and dedicates itself to growing and processing high-quality organic coffee as a way to secure a sustainable future for the community and its cultural traditions.
Profits from the sale of their organic-certified beans are reinvested in the cooperative and used to build infrastructure, fund social services, and promote capacity building.
The coffee industry, like so many others in Guatemala, has always been dominated by large landowners with smallholder farmers earning as little as 7 cents for a 1lb of their coffee fruit. But in 2005 seven farmers from San Miguel Escobar along with a volunteer from the US planted an idea and began to process their own beans. From these humble beginnings, this tight-knit group has become pioneers in the industry, forming their own coop and an NGO dedicated to supporting other small producers. They acquired access to an export license and now help an alliance of small coops secure better prices and export their gourmet coffee.
Located in Guatemala’s “boca costa” or the mouth of pacific coast, Santa Anita is home to 35 families, five different languages (Spanish & 4 Mayan), and one very unique coffee coop.
In 1998, after 36 years of civil war, a group of former revolutionaries who had spent the better part of their lives in the mountains fighting for a brighter future decided to trade in their arms for tools of the coffee trade and rebuild their lives on an abandoned finca or farm. They’re still fighting for a better world, now they just use the sale of high-quality coffee and bananas to build infrastructure, fund schools, and feed their families.
We met DLG (then called As Green As it Gets) in 2010 when Hurricane Agatha caused massive mudslides in San Miguel Escobar, and Operation Groundswell joined the NGO and local community members in the relief efforts. In 2015, AGAIG decided to focus more intentionally on commercializing and exporting coffee and rebranded itself De La Gente (DLG) or “from the people”. The organization continues to work with small-holder coffee farmers and cooperatives in Guatemala to create economic opportunities that improve the quality of life for families and communities who earn up to 30% more than if they would be selling their coffee through options normally available to them.
Established in 1983, InterAmerican supplies specialty green coffee to roasters across North America including certified Organic, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance coffees. They operate in 27 countries nurturing relationships with producers to create traceable blends, unique small-lots, and special project coffees designed to improve both cup quality and the livelihoods of coffee growers and producers.