In September 2018 I was fortunate enough to join Falcon Specialty on an origin trip to Peru. Not only was it a great way to see first hand how coffee production works on the farm level but it was also an interesting way to see how Falcon is changing the way it pays farmers for their coffee.
Most of the coffee sourced from Peru is purchased through cooperatives or groups. Though these groups provide stability and marketing for the coffees, price increases due to higher coffee quality rarely trickles down to the farmers. Falcon aims to change this by creating direct relationships with smaller farmers that are not a part of co-ops and directly increase the price they receive for their coffee when the quality increases:
"Our field team ... identified producers and producer groups across Jaen and San Ignacio, who brought their parchment to our warehouse in Jaen, where it was weighed and a sample taken from each bag. The green sample was then analysed and yield calculated, before it was sample roasted, cupped and graded. The price was determined by the cupping results and producers were paid in full on the same day, with premiums well above the market price – in most cases double."
You can read more about their project, Blueprint on their website.
This way of sourcing green coffee has improved Peruvian cup quality; prices for farmers; and encourages fruitful long term relationships with the farms.
While on this trip I was very lucky to meet some farmers and visit some really great farms. One my favourite visits was to meet Saul Menor Tayca. He and his family own a 3 hectare farm in the Huabal region that is 2000 metres above sea level. Their farm was beautiful and we walked up very steep mountain-sides to see his coffee plants and the new higher quality lots he has planted. We spent the afternoon with his family and neighbours and we were welcomed with a delicious lunch, it was a really great experience!
We cupped Don Saul's coffee when he brought it to the Falcon warehouse the next day. I was blown away with the quality - the high altitude of his farm means his coffees are really clean with a light, fruity acidity. I knew we would need to get this coffee in!
I am happy to say that his coffee landed in the UK in late 2018 and is now ready for us to share with all of our customers. I had a wonderful experience going to Peru and meeting Don Saul and his family and I am so excited to share his coffee with all of you. This is hopefully the start of a long relationship between Quarter Horse, Falcon, and Don Saul.