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 and meeting him, we not only fell in love with his coffee, but him as well. He 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. He has been inspired by his uncle and recently started his very own farm on nearby land.
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 it's infancy, it already has showed amazing potential. We were very excited to showcase his coffee as an offering this 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. In 2008, a huge 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, the coffee tasted amazing and they became known as the very first producers to use this process in Costa Rica. Fast forward to today, they 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, Francisca and Oscar produce some seriously tasty coffee.
We began purchasing coffee from Asociacion Civil Guaya'b in Jacaltenango 5 years ago. We were first attracted to this coffee because this Association produced some of the finest Organic Fair Trade SMBC Certified Bird Friendly coffees we could find anywhere. They are 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 the qualities, we've always associated with this coffee, and like most about the coffee are tropical fruit notes. The longer we used this coffee the more we appreciated it. Two years ago, our owner, Bob Garver, visited Asociacion Civil Guaya'b with the mission of deepening our relationship with the Asociacion and beginning to build relationships with specific producers of the highest quality coffee. Before making the trip, he had requested to visit farms with particularly high altitude, good varieties, and excellent agricultural practices, with the intent of segregating microlot coffees of extremely high quality from these farms. This is a model that has been very successful for us in other places, many of which are offered seasonally at Bard. This was a new idea for Asociacion Civil Guaya'b as they had never done anything like this before. After visiting a number of farms we decided to partner with Antonio Domingo Cota and Feliciano Silvestre Ros. We purchased both coffees last year and were extremely pleased with them. We returned again this past year with a team from Wicked Joe and Bard. The mission this time was multi-faceted. First, we wanted to continue to deepen our relationship with both the Association and with Antonio and Feliciano. We wanted to get a sense of how this new relationship was working. We made arrangements to conduct workshops on Sample Roasting, Cupping, and Brewing. In the end after cupping their coffees and others, we again deepened the relationship by adding a microlot from Feliciano's son Ignacio. These coffees are exceptional, traceable, microlot coffees that are both organic and fair trade certified. Formally established in 1998, Guaya’b began selling to the Fair-Trade market in 2000. The sales made by Guaya’b have brought stability to the cooperatives and have enabled members to meet their basic needs. With the Fair Trade price, they have increased their own earnings and reinvested a portion of their profits into the community. Some of these community projects include: medical insurance, low interest micro loans, and planting additional income crops. As a result the region’s economy is more stable and the rate of migration has decreased.
Feliciano Silvestre Ros
Antonio Domingo Cota