THE WAY COFFEE SHOULD BE
While our priority is always to find the most delicious coffees, we enjoy the process even more when we are able to partner with farmers who share the same dedication to quality and excellence. By purchasing from the same farmers each year we are able to directly invest in a consistently exceptional coffee. It also gives the farmer stability and security, something that in most cases, doesn't come easily in coffee growing regions. We are honored to work with these fine folks year after year. Here's a few of our favorites...
BERTILIO REYES PORTILLO
Our relationship with Bertilio started shortly after he was named the Champion of the 2009 Honduras Cup of Excellence. We travelled to Santa Barbara, Honduras in search of new coffees, his definitely stood out on the cupping table. After visiting his farm, we not only fell in love with his coffee, but him as well.
Bertilio is a prominent figure in the community and volunteers much of his free time to the local church. Although he and his wife have no children of their own, they have helped to raise their nephew, Olvin, as one of their own. Inspired by his uncle, Olvin recently started his very own farm on nearby land.
Through the many years our partnership has only grown deeper, watching as Bertilio has expanded the land he farms, thus improving his family's quality of life as well as contributing back to his community. We are looking forward to the years ahead!
OLVIN EDGARDO REYES RIVERA
Coffee farmers and producers often find it difficult to continue on their legacy. Many of the younger generations leave their homes in search for better opportunities for success. Olvin saw all of the hard work that his uncle, Bertilio, put into his farm and how it eventually paid off. He saw an opportunity to not only continue Bertilio's legacy, but expand upon it.
In 2014, he was able to purchase his own land. Today he has a 0.7 hectare farm with 3800 Catuai plants on the mountainside of Ocotillo near his uncle in Santa Barbara, Honduras. He is excited to experiment with different varietals and processing methods to produce even better tasting coffee. He has committed to organic farming practices and is in the process of receiving certification. Though his farm is in its infancy, it already has shown amazing potential. We were very excited to showcase his coffee year after year, and can't wait to see what the next harvest has in store for us.
FRANCISCA AND OSCAR CHACON
Francisca and Oscar own the Las Lajas Micromill in Central Valley, Costa Rica. Las Lajas has an impressive history, dating back to 1840 and has been passed down from generation to generation since then. Oscar inherited 5 hectares of farmland when he was just 18 years old, shortly after his father passed away. In 1997, he married Francisca, who also came from a family of coffee producers. Following a substantial decrease in coffee prices in 2000, and an increase in growing costs, they turned to organic farming. By 2006, they were milling their own coffee and also had several microlots.
Two years later, a massive earthquake hit Costa Rica, leaving them with no water or electricity in the middle of the harvest season. Knowing that in Africa they often naturally process coffees, the Chacons took this opportunity to experiment. Their efforts paid off, and the coffee tasted amazing as they became known to be the very first producers to use this process in Costa Rica.
Fast forward to today, and you can find Oscar and Francisca are still constantly experimenting with processing methods and varietals. Their most recent being with the SL28 varietal, most commonly found in Kenya, paired with a natural process. Needless to say, this relationship inspires us to keep up with innovation on our end.
ASOCIACIØN CIVIL GUAYA'B
We began purchasing coffee from the Asociación Civil Guaya'b in Jacaltenango, Guatemala nearly a decade ago! We were first attracted to this group because they produced some of the finest Organic, Fair Trade, and SMBC Certified Bird Friendly coffees we could find anywhere. Guaya’b is a term from the Mayan language Popti’ which means “mutual support”. Their ancestors did not use money to hire labor: purchases were not made with coins, but rather based in sustainability and mutual support. This traditional approach paralleled with current operations sees solidarity and the joint effort to combine volumes and qualities of competitive products in increasingly demanding markets - acting as a model of sustainability in a fairly remote region. We relatively quickly began using this coffee as a base for our High Tide espresso. One of our favorite qualities we've come to associate with coffees from this group are the tropical fruit notes.
Currently, Guaya'b has 775 members, a majority of which come from indigenous descent. The group was formally established in 1998 and joined the Fair Trade movement in 2000. The premiums that they received from Fair Trade have helped to create a more stable economy and decreased the rate of migration in the area. They have many programs funded by the premiums including medical insurance for all of the members and their families. Many of them grow additional crops such as peanuts, fruit and peppers to sell at the markets for extra income.
In 2018, a team from Bard Coffee traveled to this remote region of Guatemala to host a workshop for the cooperative. We led three classes, educating on Sample Roasting, Cupping, and Brewing. It was a life-changing experience for our team seeing some of the farmers taste their own coffee for the very first time. After visiting, we decided to partner with farmers Antonio Domingo Cota and Feliciano Silvestre Ros. Further deepening this relationship, we eventually also partnered with Feliciano's son, Ignacio, and Antonio's son, Edwin.
Returning once again in 2023, our team was able to further cultivate these relationships while catching up. In this past year alone, Asociación Civil Guaya'b gained 100 new farmers and their families. Even as this community grows, they continue to vote as a collective on how Fair Trade premiums, budgets, and resources should be allocated. We thank each member of Guaya’b for sharing their remarkable area with us, and for demonstrating how empowering community can truly be.
Feliciano Silvestre Ros
Feliciano’s farm was a gift from his grandmother - the inheritance was something he wanted to expand on despite his two brothers' lack of interest. So he bought their portions of the plot, and went all in. He was 45 years old then: now at 78, he continues to grow this legacy through his own land and that of his son, Ignacio Silvestre Montejo. Impressed by Feliciano’s thoughtful farming practices and quality of the crop, we furthered our relationship and now partner with his son Ignacio as well.
Antonio Domingo Cota
We had the pleasure of first meeting Antonio Domingo Cota and visiting his 3 hectare farm in 2017. Antonio, 65 years old, has been a coffee farmer his whole life. We were extremely impressed by Antonio’s practices on the farm: specifically, his spacing of his coffee shrubs to encourage good quality over high yield. He also has other types of plants in between his rows to prevent soil erosion. His farm has a wide variety of fruit trees (avocado, apricot, passion fruit, etc) that provide adequate shade for the coffee shrubs, homes to birds, and flowers for bees to pollinate. He has many beehives as part of his farm as well. After many years of wonderful partnership,
we furthered our relationship and now partner with his son Edwin as well.