Coffee is a high impact commodity, but not always in a good way.
The world’s second most traded commodity (next to oil) is consumed by over 2.2 billion people every day but at a high cost. It is the 6th most carbon intensive food, generating 3.8 million tonnes per year. It’s also dominated by large industrialized operations that pay poverty wages or small-holder farms that receive pennies on the dollar for their coffee fruit. In 2019, over 5.5 million coffee farmers lived in extreme poverty while Nescafé made almost $15 Billion US in profits.
AT GRANITO, COFFEE IS JUST ANOTHER COMMODITY. IT’S A SHARED EXPERIENCE, A SOURCE OF SOLIDARITY, AND SOMETHING WE CAN ALL CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING POSITIVE CHANGE. THAT’S WHY WE WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE ETHICALLY SOURCED, HIGH-QUALITY COFFEES THAT POSITIVELY AFFECT THE LIVES OF BOTH CONSUMER AND PRODUCER. WE WANT TO CULTIVATE A COMMUNITY OF COFFEE LOVERS THAT ARE ENVIRONMENTALLY AND SOCIALLY AWARE OF WHERE OUR COFFEE COMES FROM AND ARE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE OUR CUP TO MAKING IT A LITTLE BETTER FOR ALL OF US.
PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS
The coffee world can be opaque, making it hard to know who benefits and who doesn’t. We are committed to shining a light on the inequities of the coffee industry and making our supply chain completely transparent from bean to brew.
“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together” We aspire to do more than just stand with those who are confronted by oppressive forces but rather we’re committed to working and learning together to create a more just and equitable world.
“We can’t solve problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them”. We must think critically about where we are and how we got here. We have to dream big about where we can go and think creatively about how to get there.
Our environment is not something abstract. It provides the basis for everything, our societies, our cultures, our economies, and our coffee. So, to make coffee a force for good in the world, we must attend to its impact and ensure that our business is socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable.
HOW CAN WE make coffee BETTER?
We break the chain and connect producers directly to consumers.
THE CONVENTIONAL COFFEE CHAIN
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.
the granito way
100% of our coffee comes from small, mostly indigenous, producers who own and maintain their own farms (< hectares or less).
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 a coyote.
Our export/import partners share our commitment to transparency and economic justice. They help us move our coffee from right from the coop in Guatemala to our roaster in Toronto.
We fresh roast our coffee 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.
MEET our producers
- COOPERATIVA La Voz
- CAFE ARTESANAL SaN MIGUEL
- PRODUCTORES DE SANTA ANITA
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 with over 600 members dedicates itself to growing high quality organic coffee and securing a sustainable future for the community and its cultural traditions. Profits from the sale of their organic certified beans are reinvested in capacity building and family support services.
The coffee industry, like so many others in Guatemala, has always been dominated by large landowners with small holder farmers earning as little as 7 cents for a lb 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 have become pioneers in the industry, forming their own coop and an NGO dedicated to supporting other small producers. They acquired access to an export licence 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.