In the last 6 months, De la Gente has increased the number of partners now roasting and serving our coffee. We couldn’t be more excited! The newest members of the De la Gente family include Milano Coffee in Vancouver, Canada; Moonbean in Toronto, Canada; Montecito in Santa Barbara, California, USA; and Zion Coffee Co. located in Morton, Illinois, USA. Please check out our website page for a full, current listing.
A team from De la Gente and our partners, Farmer to Farmer and Deeper Roots, recently traveled to Huehuetenango to meet with the farmers in the UPC Cooperative. The trip included farmer visits and treks through coffee fields. Through this trip, De la Gente was able to strengthen their relationships with all parties.
During our trip, we were also able to see UPC’s brand new building. Until recently, UPC had been renting a small space, but found they were in need of more. The new space is now able to handle their green coffee inventory, their office space needs and the roaster.
This trip was a testament to what having good relationships with our customers and cooperatives can do for everyone.
In January, De la Gente distributed nearly $16,000 in loans from our mircofinance program to 22 different farmers. The loans allow cooperative members to either grow their businesses or supplement their harvest if they are waiting for their own plants to mature and produce more fruit. Since coffee fruit costs less than processed green coffee and roasted coffee, the farmers are able to increase their profits by purchasing fruit at a lower price and then processing the coffee themselves and selling the final product at a much higher price.
A special event took place in February, as multiple cooperative representatives from across the region came together to celebrate the inauguration of APCASAs new bodega. The bodega, which is typically used as a dry store for coffee and processing machinery, also serves as meeting space for community and inter-cooperative discussions and training.
The meeting was a grass roots initiative, organized and facilitated by Don Rigo, community leader of APCASA, and had 3 objectives:
- Inauguration of the new building, implemented by As Green.
- Undertake a coffee cupping – to demonstrate to farmers the importance of understanding the flavors of their coffee. A cupping is an essential part of the decision making process for buyers – if farmers want to export to international markets this is an activity they need to become familiar with. Samples from each of the groups was tested by all of the farmers. Representatives from Quijote Kaffee, a German-based coffee roasting company, led the cupping training.
- Build the network of cooperatives and small scale farmers - friendship, trust and knowledge sharing are essential to the progress and future sustainability of small scale coffee growers. The meeting served as a platform for discussions and knowledge sharing on topics such as exporting coffee and Roya.
Check out these links for press on the event.