Producer Profile: Sumatra, Indonesia

Written by Cafe Campesino on Nov 5, 2009 in NEWSLETTER, Producer Profile |
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UPDATE: Sumatra, Indonesia

Sumatran coffee is a vital part of our coffee lineup here at Cafe Campesino.  It’s a popular single origin choice for many of our customers and has such a delicious impact in several of our blends as well.  In fact, looking at the consumption of raw coffee beans from Sumatra across the entirety of the 23 member green bean buying coop – Cooperative Coffees – we see that as a group, we roast somewhere around 35,000 pounds of this bean each month.  No doubt that its a crucial part of what we do as fair trade coffee roasters.

And while the supply is crucial, the source of the supply is even more so.  As you may know, the guiding philosophy of our cooperative of roasters is that we seek to form long standing, mutually beneficial relationships with the folks who grow the coffee we buy, roast, and sell.  It’s about coffee, yes, but it goes deeper than that.  We want to know the folks we depend on to bring us some of the finest quality coffee in the world.  We also want those folks to know that they can depend on us for more than just a contract to buy their crop yields.  There’s a business relationship that covers the buying and selling of coffee.  But there’s also a personal relationship that seeks to cover the humanity of working together with caring attitudes and a commitment to a sustainable way of life.

Recently, Sumatra suffered tragedy when yet another devastating earthquake rocked this 6th largest island in the world.  More than a thousand people were killed and more than one million more were adversely affected.  Buildings collapsed; water supplies were tainted; churches, schools, offices became instantly uninhabitable.  Hard for most of us Westerners to imagine that amount of tumult.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to this nation and its people.  As of last report, none of our coffee farming partners were directly injured by the quake but there was and is a certain amount of residual grief for their extended families and countrymen.

A team of Cooperative Coffees members, including our Bill Harris, is currently in Sumatra researching and visiting possible new coffee partner cooperatives for our collective group of roasters. You see, our main source of coffee from this region, the PPKGO cooperative, while still able to export coffee, was decertified from the Fair Trade Registry earlier this year amidst some questionable financial behavior by their leadership.  While the PPKGO group works to reorganize and realign itself with the core principles of Fair Trade business practice, it leaves our importing cooperative without a year-round supplier of the coffee we love to roast and supply our customer base with.  Bill, Florent, and Mark hope to remedy that by establishing contact, communication, and new relationship with at least one of the coffee cooperatives they visit.  One of their visits will be to the Tunas Indah Coffee Farmers Cooperative.  In fact, we’ll be roasting some Tunas Indah coffee in November to fulfill our orders for Sumatran coffee.  Initial cupping reports tell us that this lot of coffee is fruity, sweet, and well-balanced.  And there is sure to be a trip report forthcoming to tell us about Tunas Indah and the other farmer groups that the Cooperative Coffees team will visit.

Stay tuned for more on this situation in the December edition of Fair Grounds.

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