Going out for coffee looks different for me.
It begins with building relationships with people who mostly don’t speak English, live far from modern conveniences, and are 1-2 days hard travel from small air strips. It’s in these unlikely places I find some of the sweetest, most committed people I know, who are too obscure for big coffee biz.
We spend time learning about each other’s families, hardships, and joys. We laugh, cry, pray together — building trust (in both directions). We walk forests, where heirloom arabicas love to grow, talk about the future and how to get there.
Working with these amazing producer families, we see even old plants come back to life through proper care, yielding branches full of the plumpest fruits. As harvest time approaches, I introduce these coffees to importers who then submit an offer to contract these coffee [before harvest] -- something most all of these small lot farmers have never done.
Our coffees are 100% washed, fermented and sun dried, which, incidentally, is not only the most economical way to process fresh-picked coffee cherries, but also the "healthiest"-- reducing the possibility of molds, fungus (mycotoxins). Testing happens at multiple points along the supply chain to insure continued quality and safety in keeping with the highest food standards. Upon arrival at our roastery, we cup each lot at different roast intervals to gauge the peak flavor profiles for that particular bean. We also do a two week culture actually "trying" to grow a specific mold as our last measure for the most healthy coffee possible.
Finally, I offer you the fruit of the labor & expertise of all our partner farm families, and we all become part of the empowerment story, enjoying a delicious mug of java. This is how I go out for coffee.
Thank you for helping us "change the world, one cup at a time."
Stephen Helm, Founder, Share Collective, Inc.