Recognizing the Unpaid Work of Women in Ethical Supply Chains

A group poses at the 7/3/13 Event

Our partners at Ético: The Ethical Trading Company, along with the British NGO Social Business Network are pioneering the first ever initiative to Recognize the Unpaid Work of Women in Ethical Supply Chains.

Traditionally, the price for commodity products (like coffee) include only direct input and labor costs, and fail to recognize or take into account the supporting unpaid work, which is done mainly by women.  This is the first time that rural women’s unpaid work has been recognized as a necessary input into production – one that should be valued and remunerated.

The initiative developed in 2008 during a visit of the Body Shop with the Juan Francisco Paz Silva Cooperative in Achuapa, Nicaragua.  Ético gender advisor Catherine Hoskyns conducted a pilot study of women’s labor in sesame production.  Her initial findings revealed that when women’s indirect labor (eg. cooking food for field laborers) and more general domestic work are included, this counts for around 22% of the total labor input in sesame.

The results of the study were used to apply an additional cost to the price of the sesame oil for cosmetics, and has since been used to apply similar costs to the sales of coffee from Nicaraguan Cooperatives.  The Cooperatives use the increase in price margin to organize women’s empowerment activities in their communities, such as education, savings and loans schemes and labor organization, which bring women together and strengthen the cooperatives.

Nick Hoskyns, Founding Director of Ético, states, “when you bring together committed partners, you can use business to effect real change….with such good collaborators, we have shown that we can still make trade fairer, just as we did with the establishment of Fair Trade.”  Hoskyns credits cooperative organizations with being instrumental in the implementation of this initiative and using the additional funds so effectively for women’s empowerment.

At Thanksgiving Coffee, we’re proud to partner with Ético to implement projects at origin.

La Roya: rust that kills coffee trees

by Paul Katzeff | CEO, Thanksgiving Coffee

Roya affecting coffee trees in Nicaragua

“Rust” is a word with an ominous sound. It ruins older cars, renders tools useless, and is a major reason for the use of paint to preserve everything made from iron. In Central America there are two kinds of rust. The kind that corrodes iron and the kind that kills coffee trees. The latter rust, called “La Roya” is a Fungus that is pernicious. It lives on the leaves, sucking the life out of them. They fall off and do not return. Coffee cherries never ripen, and the tree eventually dies. This is not a good thing for a coffee farmer whose survival depends on coffee.

Unripened coffee cherries on a rust-affected tree.La Roya is worse than a 60 cent per pound market price, which is a monumental crisis, but there is always another season, and hope for higher prices for the farmer. La Roya is no crop, then three to five years of rehabilitation of the coffee farm. In other words, it is the end of family life on the farm. It is the end of a way of life, of culture, of living on the land. It means hunger, it means migration to the cities, it means over crowding and the deterioration of family life as country people are forced to work in urban factories making clothing for two dollars a day.

La Roya is here and unless a major battle is waged to beat it back, Central American coffee will be a thing of the past, and coffee prices will rise as the supply of quality coffee is diminished.  This is not Chicken Little talking here. This is absolutely a disaster about to happen – this year.

Alexa and her sonsThis February, I was in the Nuevo Segovia Region of Nicaragua on a coffee buying trip. I visited the farm of a member of the PRODECOOP Cooperative. Alexa and her two teenage sons live two kilometers from the Honduras boarder. Many of their coffee trees are affected by La Roya, and are starting to lose their leaves. They got a crop this year, but next year they expect to get 50% less. I have no idea how they will be able to continue making a living. They produced 10 sacks (1500 lbs) this year, for which we paid $ 2.75 per pound. That was double the world price and the highest we could afford to pay.

Alexa views the damage to her farmAlexa’s coffee is fabulous and we want her coffee farm to thrive. We want her to be able to refresh her trees and beat the Rust. Next year, she will need to get $ 5.50/lb. to survive on her farm. Will you support our effort by paying $2.75 more per pound for her coffee next year? Would you pay more than $15.00 for a bag of her coffee?

Well, first you have to taste it. We will present her coffee to our public in July when it arrives. It is going to cost her about $8,000 to rehabilitate her farm. We are going to try to raise that money between now and December.

That’s the way Direct Trade works – we are all in this coffee thing together.

Paul Katzeff, CEO
Thanksgiving Coffee Company

Cherry Pulp + Monkeys

Two months ago, we helped to connect Molly Gore of the Bay Area Coffee Community with some of our partners at origin in Nicaragua. On her way back from coffee country, Molly wrote a beautiful letter back to our co-founder. We felt the post encapsulated many of the feelings that we have when we travel to origin, and so we asked if we could share her letter on our blog. Here it is, courtesy of Molly. Hope you enjoy!

Jan 28, 2013
Dear Paul,

Byron & Molly
photo courtesy Molly Gore, 2013

I’m writing you on my way out of Managua, lamenting leaving, and basking in an upwelling of inspiration. Rachel was a wonderful guide through coffee country. We carved our way into the mountains to Matagalpa, where I met Byron. Where I left my soul to steep. His vision is enrapturing, and kindred to a sensibility deep in my own heart. There is something about his farm that wraps you up, that feels important and prophetic. I’m still daydreaming of surrendering myself onto his land to work through the seasons. And then on to Jinotega. And Fatima! SOPPEXCCA! I’m so honored to have had the chance to speak with her. The more I ask about the mechanics of community development, about the roots of all these remarkable projects, the more it seems that she is at the bottom of the things I saw.

Before I came, I really had no idea how far SOPPEXCCA’s impact reached into the community, or even what a cooperative’s impact looked like.

SOPPEXCCA Beneficio

SOPPEXCCA Beneficio
photo by Mischa Hedges, 2013

I’ve seen and heard about cooperative efforts failing when ideas come from the outside. And to see something different, SOPPEXCCA’s model, that is so solidly and effectively empowering, makes me want to yell and preach. It swells my faith to see success this way, to see the kind of culture born from a model like this. I learned so much about what has to be done to make impact last. And what struck me, unexpected, was the positive impact that rippled into lives of those who were not even members. The entire community. The co-op holds up so much more than just itself, I was amazed. Oh! And! A gender committee! To see its effect trickle so readily into projects and relationships, that was amazing.

We stayed with Antonio and Norma at Los Alpes on their farm for a night. They took us to the school, the store, we traipsed through their land, the wet mill, the gravity pump. Saw the cherries at the end of harvest, the rust. I heard their stories. And ate a hell of a lot of plantains. Visited the SOPPEXCCA cafe, was led through a cupping, and toured the beneficio and heard stories from the women’s workers’ cooperative.

It’s magic to see so much push behind their ideas, especially when machismo still runs so thick. They tell me how much they’ve changed, and their lives have changed, through capacitaciones and their own empowered movement.

Coffee Cherries in Nicaragua

Coffee Cherries in Nicaragua
photo by Mischa Hedges, 2013

I’m so moved by the integrity here. It runs deep. I’m not sure what I expected, and I know I only saw a fraction of this world, and a highly positive side, but feeling that the culture of a place can actually shift, that a population can be lifted, sustainably supported when you get it right, and feeling the visions of poets who are the guardians of the earth, reminds me of what’s possible. The story is so abstract until you go. I told you I wanted to understand this relationship, between quality and empowerment. It’s still incredible to me that I have the opportunity to learn this way. And, at the same time, I realize there’s no other way.

I’ve seen the shape of the difference made on the ground, and I want to help. I’m working on the best way to proliferate all the information and heartchange that I’ve gleaned from this trip into the coffee community up here. Planning quite a bit of writing on it. I’m still working out my role in the scheme of things, I feel called as some kind of liaison, but I suppose this will take shape organically if it is supposed to as time goes on.

If anything, my responsibilities as a human are making themselves clearer, taking more concrete shape in a way.

Coffee Country

Nicaraguan Coffee Country
photo by Mischa Hedges, 2013

I apologize if this was lengthy, but I wanted to extend a grand thank you for introducing me to all this. If anything, my responsibilities as a human are making themselves clearer, taking more concrete shape in a way. And the amount of things I don’t know seems to grow larger the more I explore. But I suppose that’s a good thing. Please let me know what more I can do to support these projects, and the work that’s being done.

Thank you, from my heart. It’s a beautiful thing to see the kind of world that Thanksgiving Coffee nurtures. Whenever it is I see you next, I hope it’s soon. And always, thank you for the encouragement.

Molly GoreCherry pulp and monkeys,

Molly

A guest post by Molly Gore, Bay Area Coffee Community
Molly handles PR + Marketing for the Bay Area Coffee Community and writes for the SFWeekly food blog.

A trip to origin: Nicaragua 2013

In Early February, 12 Thanksgiving Coffee staff, partners and friends traveled to Nicaragua to meet farmers and cooperatives, start new sustainability projects and select the best coffees for 2013.

We visited the cooperatives and farmers that we buy coffee from, picked coffee on a small farm, tried our hands at turning coffee on the drying patios, learned about many exciting sustainability projects and cupped some excellent coffees. In every encounter with our partners in Nicaragua, we participated in heartening conversations about coffee and sustainability, built and strengthened relationships, learned a tremendous amount about coffee and ourselves, and saw a glimpse of the future of coffee.

Each of us is looking forward to the next opportunity we have to connect with our friends in Nicaragua, and to sharing our stories here at home over an excellent cup of Nicaraguan coffee. As our partners at Six Degrees Coffee say, “Coffee Connects Us.” After this year’s trip to Nicaragua, we feel even more deeply connected to the people and places where our coffees are sourced from.
—> See more photos from our trip.

Many of our blends include beans from Nicaragua…here are a few that feature 90% or more Nicaraguan coffee:

Brewing 101 – The Hario Dripper

Dripping with the Hario v60

Part 2 in a series on brewing excellent coffee.

– By Jacob Long, Roasting & Quality Control Manager at Thanksgiving Coffee

How coffee is brewed is just as important as how it’s grown and roasted. Each step matters.
As it says on the bottom of our bags: “There is magic inside this package – only you can let it out!”

Since its introduction, the Japanese-made Hario v60 dripper has taken a strong foothold in specialty coffeehouses and cafes in the U.S. and around the globe. Hario, which translates to “the king of glass”, is a heat-resistant glassware company which was founded in 1921. In addition to drippers,  Hario also produces high quality kettles, servers, and hand crank grinders.

While aesthetically pleasing, the Hario v60 dripper is a manual pour-over method, which requires attention to detail in order to produce a high quality cup of coffee. Finding the right grind and perfecting the pour are key to mastering the Hario dripper. We recommend using the Hario Buono Kettle, as it has a very narrow spout which aids in controlling the pour.

Our brewing guide outlines basic preparation, which I will expand upon in this post. If followed, it will produce a flavorful, clean cup of coffee with a medium body.

»»» Grind your coffee

Start with a medium-fine grind, coarser than espresso yet finer than a standard drip grind. Somewhere between the texture of granulated sugar and couscous.

1. Measure out 1.5 grams of ground coffee for every ounce of water. 

If a scale isn’t available, use 2 level tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water. Brewing coffee using this ratio will ensure a good extraction, and allow the flavor profile of the coffee to be fully appreciated.

2. Place paper filter in dripper over cup or server.

3. Bring water to boil and pour a small amount through the filter-lined dripper.

Make sure to wet the entire filter – this rinses the filter so there’s no “paper taste” in your coffee and warms your cup or server.

 

4. Let the boiling water cool to 200 degrees.

Use a thermometer or wait about 2 minutes. Before starting to brew, empty the water that was used to rinse the filter.

5. Place ground coffee in the rinsed and filter-lined dripper.

Dispense just enough water to saturate the grounds and create a “bloom”. This allows the coffee to off-gas, enabling a more even extraction. Wait 30-45 seconds or until the coffee settles before continuing your pour.

 

 

6. As the bloom settles, begin to dispense water.

Pour as slowly as possible directly in the center of the brew cone.

Stop pouring as necessary so that the water never reaches above the original level of the bloom. This will require stopping the pour every 15-30 seconds, with the goal of dispensing the total amount of water used to brew in about 3 minutes.

 7. Remove the used filter and coffee.

Swirl the brewed coffee for 10 seconds. This mixes and aerates your coffee and ensures an even, consistent body and taste.

8. Serve and enjoy immediately.

If you’ll be serving the coffee later, transfer to a thermos or carafe to keep it hot.

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee by wind – a campaign with Carrotmob

This month, we partnered with Carrotmob to raise support for a new sustainability project: shipping coffee on sailing ships from Nicaragua and Peru into Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor!

Carrotmob is a San Francisco-based organization dedicated to advancing sustainable business practices through positive incentives. This is Carrotmob’s first large-scale campaign – and we’re proud to partner with them to advance this project. Here’s how it works:

“In a Carrotmob campaign, a group of people offers to spend their money to support a business, and in return the business agrees to take an action that the people care about. We are called Carrotmob because we use the “carrot” instead of the stick.” – from the Carrotmob website

Since virtually all coffee is grown within 1,000 miles from the equator, green coffee is currently shipped from its origin on large container ships, which burn bunker fuel, a low-grade diesel that emits vast amounts of smog-forming pollution and carbon dioxide. We receive these shipments from Oakland, California and drive our beans to Fort Bragg to roast and bag for our customers. We’re interested in being the first company in modern times to ship coffee by wind – lowering our carbon footprint and setting an example for the coffee industry.

Will you join in this effort? Visit carrotmob.org/thanksgiving

If the Carrotmob campaign generates $150,000 in coffee sales during its 20-day run, we will have enough resources to begin to pursue our dream of shipping coffee by wind. Our first step will be to conduct a feasibility study to assess the costs, efficiency and risks involved in transporting our coffee beans on sailing ships – it has to make economic and environmental sense if we choose to move forward with shipping coffee on sailing ships. If it does, we’ll plan our maiden voyage.

Our maiden voyage would bring a load of green coffee from Nicaragua straight into Fort Bragg’s Noyo Harbor, a 6 week roundtrip.

If the maiden voyage proved to be successful, we’d also ship coffee from Peru, an 8 week roundtrip, carrying some if not all of our annual purchases from these origins.

If the campaign doesn’t reach the $150,000 goal, the funds raised for this effort will be directed toward The Resilience Fund – our nonprofit social venture that funds sustainability projects in coffee-growing regions.

We strive to do our best for people and the planet while sourcing and roasting our coffee – through our direct trade relationships, investments in infrastructure and training, our fair trade and organic certified coffees, and by creating long-lasting relationships with the people, communities and ecosystems that are touched by our coffee business.

We’re constantly searching for the cleanest, most efficient distribution system to source our beans and get roasted coffee to our customers. This partnership with Carrotmob is the latest in this effort.

For more information or to support the campaign, visit carrotmob.org/thanksgiving

Who’s That At Our Door?

While coffee sales tend to sag slightly in summertime, socializing increases exponentially. We love giving tours of our space, offering up great coffees to taste, walking the path that coffee takes in our warehouse from the loading dock through the roasting room and production floor, outside to the community garden planted on land we donated. Last week we had a number of visitors (some planned, some drop-ins) that represented the total spectrum of our business.

One was a longstanding customer from neighboring Lake County (he and his wife came to the coast to escape the blistering heat inland) that wanted an exact recipe for brewing coffee into his 2 cup French Press. We shared ours with him and gave him a sneak peak at our forthcoming brewing guide. Be sure to get in touch if you would like a copy of it when it’s available.

Another was from Sadao, the manager at the acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Coco500 and his partner Katie. They were excited to do side-by-side tastings of our seasonal single origin coffees. Coco500 is a great partner to us, as inspired as we are about identifying and showcasing unique characteristics in coffees and thinking about flavor profiles and pairings with seasonal food.

Kieran Smith, an engineer who was volunteering with Fair Trade Vancouver got inspired to bike from his home city in British Columbia to Santiago, Chile (he stopped and saw us along the way, three and a half weeks into a journey he expected to take 9 months in total). He was inspired to lift the veil off of Fair Trade as most consumers know it and talk about ethics in trade and sustainability along the supply chain. We drank espresso, walked around, and he took still photos and shot video of our operations. He asked questions about the cooperatives we work with around the world and how we think about and define “community empowerment”. If we ever get our hands on that video, I’ll be sure to share. In the meantime you can follow along on his blog.

Finally, we were visited by the team from Fundacion MangoMundo a new foundation committed to raising awareness about Nicaragua and connecting more folks to the beautiful arts, crafts, and agricultural products (like coffee) that Nicaragua boasts. They invited Paul to speak to a group of high school students in San Francisco about his work in Nicaragua that began in the mid-1980’s. We drank Byron’s Maracaturra, a coffee that we look forward to year after year that had just arrived from the Matagalpa region grown by an amazing farmer that we have been buying from for two decades.

Each of these visitors came with a unique interest and appreciation for our work. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the technical side – trying to help the home brewer achieve a more perfect cup. Sometimes we get wholly focused on seasonality and educating our customers about what’s fresh and where it’s coming from. Othertimes we are storytellers, focused on being a bridge between our customers and the communities where our coffee grows – talking about exciting projects on the ground and the farmers we know around the world– and some people connect with how we began, as a company committed to using coffee as a medium to get out a message about important issues by partnering with organizations doing meaningful work. We are all of these things, a relationship-focused company that for nearly 40 years has been trying to do better business.

Thank you for helping us grow and evolve and challenge ourselves. We can’t wait to celebrate 40 years with you next year!!

Recognizing the Underpaid Work of Women

 

Although it could be argued that coffee (unlike money) actually grows on trees, the truth is that many hands and much hard work is required to produce and sell coffee. Understanding the importance of this work is one of the cornerstones of our relationship-based business model: by respecting the farmer’s craft, offering premium prices for quality, and building long-term commitments to each other, we create a win-win business for ourselves, and for our partners at origin.

Natividad Lopez Garcia, Reina Isabel Quintero, and Flor Rodriguez, founding members of SOPPEXCCA’s women’s cooperative.

One of the hands that touched your coffee this morning belonged to the farmer who planted, pruned, and harvested your coffee. When we picture fair trade, we mostly picture this person—and for good reason. In many respects, our efforts to build a more just and sustainable coffee trade have focused on empowering these farmers. There are, however, other hands that care for your coffee, and for years, these workers have been left on the margins. We’re working to change that, starting with our partners at the SOPPEXCCA Cooperative in Nicaragua. There, on the sunny foothills of Jinotega’s mountains, a cooperative of 42 women has come together in search of a sustainable future.

These women are coffee sorters. During the harvest, they spend 8-10 hours each day drying, sorting, and bagging coffee SOPPEXCCA has bought from its member farmers. Day after day, from October through March, these women ensure that coffee is evenly dried on large cement patios, hand-sorted to select out any imperfections, and stored by lot, farm, and farmer in a complex but completely traceable system. The work of these women is critical—it’s equivalent to the work of a cellar master in a winery, carefully tending to the slowly maturing product and sorting out imperfections.

According to Fatima Ismael, SOPPEXCCA’s General Manager, these women were organized in a cooperative so that they could overcome their history of poverty and marginalization. “The world of coffee, from producer organizations, to industry, to various certifications has analyized from a human perspective the equity and justice of coffee supply chains. There is an ongoing struggle towards conditions that enable sustainability of producers and a chance to overcome poverty and marginalization. One forgotten sector is the workers—predominantly women—who sort farmer’s coffee once it has reached the cooperative’s dry mill. These women have been an invisible part of the chain, in essence, they are harvest the harvest, improving quality through sorting and care, but their work has been marginalized.”

Since 2010, the 42 employees of SOPPEXCCA’s coffee mill have been organized in a cooperative to help overcome his history of poverty and marginalization. This women’s cooperative has created a matched-savings program to help its members begin their own business once the harvest season ends, it has built and supplied a member-owned grocery store that offers basic stables at cost, it has offered cervical cancer screening and treatment to its members, and it has created an initiative to transition cookstoves from wood to clean-burning stoves that can use chaff produced by coffee milling for fuel. Funded by a $10,000 loan comprised of contributions from SOPPEXCCA and Thanksgiving Coffee, this cooperative and its members are pushing our business model forward, improving quality, and ensuring that everyone behind the production of a great cup of coffee benefits from our business.

 

When asked what the cooperative means to her, Sayda Rios explains the savings she and her fellow members see when they shop at their grocery store. “We buy in quantity at the wholesale market in Matagalpa, direct from the distributors. We go there, with a list of the items members want to buy, and compare prices from the various sellers, then we negotiate, and get the best possible prices. By the time we’ve come home, we’re saving 30-40 percent on groceries, compared to the prices we use to have to pay at the local store.” She concludes by pointing out the change that these women have made in their lives. “By joining together we’ve managed to make our lives better.”

The School in Los Alpes, Nicaragua

Adolfo Talavera, 2004.



Adolfo Talavera is a tall man with a scraggly beard and a deep, raspy voice. Listening to him talk about his gracefully choreographed organic coffee farm—the way he turns left-over coffee cherry pulp into rich organic fertilizer, sequences the planting of shade and coffee trees, or protects the source of a mountainside spring—you marvel at the joy he takes from his work, and the twinkle that it sparks in his eyes. You might also think that this joy is his dream, or the purpose of his work. But it’s not—in fact it’s just the beginning.

Talavera is the proud father of a new school in Los Alpes, Nicaragua. This school, overlooking a grassy meadow, the town, and ridge after ridge of mountainous coffee farms, is the reason Talavera does what he does. For him, and the other farmers of Cooperativa 16 de Julio, growing organic coffee is a means to an end: the health and happiness of their community.At times the dream of the new school in Los Alpes must have seemed distant, if not almost impossible. The members of 16 de Julio farm land that was redistributed in the Sandanista revolution of 1979. Through their struggle to defend themselves and their land against Contra raids, the community of Los Alpes was able to maintain their new land, and to coalesce as a cooperative.

Students at the Los Alpes School, 2004.

United by this struggle, the cooperative soon faced new challenges. Formed in the early 90’s HYPROCOOP was a second-level cooperative in the department of Jinotega. HYPROCOOP coordinated the marketing and selling of its members coffee to the Fair Trade market in Europe, guaranteeing stable earnings in a time of widely fluctuating prices. But in 1995, the executive director fled the country with the cooperative’s savings, leaving the individual cooperatives and their members responsible for $720,000 in debt. “We were devastated and shamed.” remembers Talavera.The farmers regrouped and formed SOPPEXXCA in 1997. SOPPEXXCA is a second-level cooperative with over 450 members. It was created to maintain HYPROCOOP’s links to the Fair Trade market, to repay the farmer’s debt, and to facilitate the transition to organic farming. Since then, the 450 families that comprise SOPPEXCA have paid off $400,000 of their debt. But while this has meant foregoing individual earnings for the sake of financing the cooperative, it hasn’t meant foregoing Talavera’s dream of a school in Los Alpes.With SOPPEXXCA’s help, 16 de Julio coordinated grants from international donors, and with this financing, plus contributions from the cooperative, the community built a school.

Back on his farm, Talavera stands proudly in the dirt floored kitchen of his two room house. For eight years, this is where the children came to school. “Now do you want to see my farm?” he asks. Yes. To see Adolfo Talavera’s farm is to see the life’s work of a gifted farmer. It’s a chance to see how organic coffee farmers and their cooperatives are caring for the future health of their land, their communities, and their children. These are the people and places that we – AND YOU – support when we buy and sell Fair Trade and Organic coffee.

Los Alpes is one of six primary communities who together form the SOPPEXCCA Cooperative. You can taste their coffee in our Flor de Jinotega, Nicaragua coffee line.

This story was written in 2004.

New Crop Arrival: Flor de Jinotega, Nicaragua

Flor de Jinotega, Nicaragua

November 2010-January 2011 Harvest

Guadalupe Jesus Picado, SOPPEXCCA Cooperative, Jinotega Nicaragua. 2010.

Nestled in the mountains above the regional capital Jinotega, the farmers of SOPPEXCCA grow coffee under the protective shade of bananas, mangos, and mahogany, and alongside dense forests providing home to dozens of rare orchids and winter habitat for hundreds of migratory songbirds. Jinotega is the heartland of Nicaragua’s coffee producing zone and many of the country’s finest coffees come from the thousands of small-scale family farms arrayed throughout the department’s lush mountain landscape.

This landscape wasn’t always organized this way. Before the revolution of the 1980s many of these small family farms were actually consolidated in expansive haciendas owned by foreigners and the country’s elite and farmed with the intensive use of agrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. The farmers themselves were hired labor, invariably poorly paid. In fact, the genesis of the revolution itself traces directly to these large farms, and the thousands of farmers without access to land. One of the central demands and outcomes of the revolution was a process of land redistribution whereby farmers gained access to the land they had worked for generations. Cooperatives arose out of the need to organize these small farms in larger economic unions that could market coffee, facilitate much needed financing, and serve the community’s broad social, economic, and environmental needs.

Though relatively small in membership, SOPPEXCCA has emerged as Jinotega’s leading cooperative. The cooperative represents 654 families and is recognized around the world as a leader in the movement to empower small-scale farmers, especially women and youth. SOPPEXCCA has built primary schools in its member communities, alongside pharmacies, cooperative grocery stores, and technical assistance centers. Extensive micro-credit programs offer members access to financing at a discount of 75% compared to locally available commercial finance. Long-term work to develop sustainable coffee production has resulted in a cooperatively-owned organic fertilizer production facility, innovative climate change adaptation efforts, and of course, ongoing coffee quality improvement programs.

During the harvest, coffee is carefully picked, then depulped and fermented overnight before it is washed and sun-dried. Careful attention to the subtleties of processing and the farmer’s pride produce sweetly floral coffee, with notes of brown sugar and cacao, summer stone fruit, and lingering taste of milk chocolate.

 

Cooperative SOPPEXCCA · Altitude 1,200 meters ·Region Jinotega •Processing  wet/washed · Varietals bourbon, typica, caturra · Cooperative membership 654

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