Collaboration #13: Flight Coffee.
The Flight coffee family and The Snobby Collective are mates from way back, having been with us since our first venture into the coffee world in 2016. So it was only a matter of time that we shared their work and the work of their sister company Raw Material. A social enterprise that is largely the inspiration for us telling the stories of coffee each and every month.
During November we looked at: The issue, (The Solution) La Aurora, The Roaster.
Despite good production levels, income from coffee had dropped to to unsustainable levels in recent years for the families of two producer groups in Pitalito, Huila. Raw Material met with the producer groups in May 2017 to understand what was preventing farmers accessing the specialty market. Together they uncovered some of the core challenges facing producers. - Lack of key infrastructure - Lack of stable prices to provide certainty for investment in improved quality. They face a crossroad; find a more stable and sustainable market or find an alternative means of income outside of coffee. The Solution: Red Associations. Villamaria at La Aurora has given local producers hope. By delivering cherries to this Red Associations project, producers are guaranteed a market for their production, a profitable and sustainable operation and immediate payment. Producers receive a guaranteed 40% profit relative to the cost of production of traditional washed coffee. This results in earnings 35% above the average internal market price for the 12 months from September 2018.
La Aurora (The Solution):
Finca La Aurora is the heart of the Red Associations Villamaria project, operated by Rubiel Orrego. Located in Calas department of Colombia, it provided a central collection point for the coffee cherry which is purchased at stable and predictable prices from surrounding farms. It is then used to produce washed, honey and natural process coffees. Located at 1810 MASL, the altitude is ideal for growing high quality washed process coffee. In 2017 specialised drying rooms were constructed, allowing greater control over the variables and providing cover from the elements. At 1300 MASL the humidity and day time temperatures are ideal for processing naturals. Natural process coffees are dried on multi layer beds in specialised drying rooms for 15 days, before being moved to temperature controlled silos for a further 3 days. This combined with high altitude grown cherries, had sorting and pre-dry fermentation delivers a delicious tropical and juicy flavour profile.
Better coffee. Since the conception of Flight Coffee in Mum’s garage back in 2009, the desire to improve coffee for everyone has been key. In 2010 Flight coffee opened the iconic Memphis Belle cafe as the public face of the business, humble beginnings of recycled, often donated materials, it was the passion for better coffee that saw Memphis Belle become an award winning institution. 2011 saw Raw Material born, Co-Founder Matt moved abroad and soon realized to have a positive impact, more resources would be needed. Raw Material morphed into a full-time green bean farming, exporting, importing and consulting company. Matt has not lived in NZ since. 2012 saw the first farm transformation project, Helena. A Colombian commodity coffee farm, turned into a producer of specialty grade coffee. 2015 with various projects under their belt, an 8ha coffee farm in Huila, Colombia was purchased. El Fenix was to become a base for the team and home to a community wet mill for the neighbourhood. Another step towards the goal of greater price stability for coffee producers and improved income equality along the value chain.
This is not the first time we've highlighted the great work Raw Material have achieved with their Red Associations, click here for our other collaborations featuring their projects in Colombia.