Community Partnerships

Every month we take coffee to support the Boulder Shelter and The Bridge House right here at home in Boulder, CO. The BHS and BH provide safe shelter, food, support services, and an avenue to self-sufficiency for homeless adults in our community. We believe that all people deserve the basic necessities of life, and the community in which we live is called to serve this purpose. We try to give generously here in Boulder, and there continues to be a strong need for help.

We are also proud supporters of the following local organizations:

Community Cycles

We support Community Cycles through by donating the coffee they need to fuel their team, volunteers, special events, and cycling enthusiasts! Community Cycles is a non-profit organization of bicycle enthusiasts. They recycle, repair, and refurbish donated bikes, sell used bikes and provide a welcoming space to learn about bicycle repair. Community Cycles educates the community about bicycle safety, and advocate for the use of bicycles as affordable, viable, and sustainable transportation and personal enjoyment in our community. Today, they are 1,750 members strong.

CAFE Livelihoods Program

Coop Coffees ally and Fair Trade supporter, Catholic Relief Services partnered in the “CAFE Livelihoods" program in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico. The project entailed a series of technical and management training workshops over 4 years. Coop Coffees, along with social lender and ally Root Capital, facilitated several of these workshops.

The market for high quality, organic coffees continues to grow in North America. But due to lack of appropriate direct market connections, needed volumes and/or knowledge about quality requirements, many small-scale farmers are still left out of this market "boom".

The program was designed to support farmers with agricultural, quality control and administrative practices - taking the learning process from seed to final cup evaluation. Cooperative Coffees, along with our strategic financing ally Root Capital, have been invited as "external specialists" to collaborate with hands-on activities in our respective topics of expertise: understanding (err.. untangling) coffee markets in today's economy, improving quality and quality control practices, and financial management and planning, respectively.

The primary objectives of the program include: improving yields in the coffee fields and coffee quality in the final cup analysis; improving access to infrastructure; and improving overall management skills and financial planning with cooperative leadership. The challenges remain daunting and the objectives are ambitious... but at CoopCoffees we remain hopeful that our participation in this program can yield tangible, positive results for small-scale coffee farmers.

During our El Salvador “Quality tour” – a CoopCoffees delegation comprised of Mark Glenn of Conscious Coffees, Boulder, CO; Glenn Lathrop of Desert Sun Coffee Roasters, Durango, CO; TJ Semanchin of Kickapoo Coffee, Viroqua, WI; and Monika Firl of Cooperative Coffees – visited seven of the coffee farmer regions and held a collective quality cupping session with the farmers representatives from the 13 groups participating in the project.

“If you're prepared to buy from a private estate farm or private exporter, El Salvador seems to be filled with quality gems of all shapes and sizes,” says Mark Glenn of Conscious Coffees. “But within the framework of this project, we want to see what would it take for these small-scale producers to deliver the same level of quality and have access to be able to enjoy the same economical benefits?”

These experiences have broadened our collective understanding of the struggle small-scale coffee farmers must face on a daily basis. We heard the same story again and again in El Salvador: Without market and price stability, farmers are forced to sell their harvests however they can and that often means near their cost of production or even at a loss! For the cooperatives, that means a loss of potential product and that unstable pattern of available sales volumes wreaks havoc for the cooperative’s attempts to establish and maintain commercial partners. This in turn leads to a vicious cycle of abandoning production and quality improvements, which is of course detrimental to everyone along to production and marketing chain.

On The Ground Supports Sustainable Development

Our annual financial contributions to On The Ground support sustainable community development in farming regions across the world. OTG  accomplishs this mission by partnering with communities, donors and other NGOs in the most vulnerable regions of the world to build lasting community infrastructure. This infrastructure makes it possible for these communities to create real and meaningful prosperity for all their citizens. The work is based in the creation and maintenance of long-term relationships to form international community resilience.

Run Across the Congo

Run Across Congo program work also concentrates on the gender equality issues faced by coffee farming families in the region. Initiatives will enhance female ownership in the commodity that is the lifeblood of their communities. Through educational programs female farmers will become more empowered to take central roles in cooperatives and male farmers will come to better understand the inherent value of including women.

Mel, Owner of Conscious Coffees, participated in the all women running team, tackling 200 miles or 7 marathons in 7 days along the shores of Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo to raise awareness and funds for the challenges that these communities and in particular women face daily.  Run Across Congo is an opportunity to illuminate the depth of collaboration and cooperation across these communities. We believe that we all have a responsibility to create, maintain, and improve the world in which we live. In our line of work, we  am acutely aware of the fact that farmers in low-income countries work hard in sub-standard conditions to bring us luxury goods at a very affordable price. Every dollar we spend each day is a vote for how we want the world to be. Every dollar can help determine how people live, can impact the environment for better or worse, can promote war or peace or influence justice. This run allowed us to redirect some of those dollars – and more importantly a whole lot of attention – to these communities that we care passionately about.

Despite the resurgence in the coffee farming sectors, buying their crops under Fair Trade standards, while a great commitment, is not enough. We are doing more, funding and partnering with programs that are providing gender equality training in the farming communities so that families can shift to a more equal approach where the women of the family can own land, giving them greater security.

Farmer to Farmer Program

Coop Coffees has its feet on the ground with producer partners like never before! Thanks to the generous support of the USAID sponsored Farmer-to-Farmer Program, our roaster-members and staff have been enlisted to provide technical advice on topics of their expertise (quality control, specialty roasted coffee, market knowledge, navigating Fair Trade and organic certifications). After the first round of assignments that began in July 2009 and ended in January 2011, USAID renewed the grant for another set of roaster-to-farmer exchanges into 2012!

These exchanges have proven to be an excellent platform for both cultural exchange and personal development.  “We see this as a triple win-win opportunity,” says Monika Firl special projects manager. “Producer partners have appreciated the direct one on one support; roasters have returned more motivated than ever to be active promoters of Fair Trade and effective entrepreneurs; and all have grown from the cultural experience and on the ground challenges.”

The Farmer-to-Farmer Program was created in 1985 by the US Congress, and since then, over 12,000 volunteer assignments have been completed in over 80 countries, affecting some 1 million farmer families (learn more here).

Coop Coffees is part of one of the Farmer-to-Farmer special programs and support project grants via the USAID's collaborative offices at Weidemann Associates. During the delegations, teams of roasters meet with small-scale coffee farmers to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities of working within the Fair Trade, organic, and specialty coffee markets The project has been developed in close collaboration with cooperatives and associations within Coop Coffees’ existing network of producers. These community-based producer organizations are vital to the economy and sustainability of the surrounding areas giving this project the potential to impact much larger groups of people as well.

The challenges facing small-scale farmers in today’s ecological and economic context remain daunting, but with appropriate intervention and well-targeted support, we are confident that tangible and sustainable results are possible. The Farmer-to-Farmer fund provides the kind of financial support that an organization like Coop Coffees, with its members and partners, can efficiently and effectively utilize to help bring these results to completion.

From August 2009 to January 2011, Coop Coffees completed 15 volunteer assignments in producer countries. We proposed a second round of assignments for the 2011-2012 season and received funding in March 2011.

Fighting Leaf Rust Disease with Roya Fund

One of the biggest challenges facing coffee farmers throughout Central and South America is La Roya (Leaf Rust disease). This naturally occurring fungus attacks the leaves. This can cause the next harvest flowers to drop prematurely, can kill the branch or the entire tree... thereby affecting not only the current crop but overall coffee yields for the next 2 to 5 years to come. Scientists have claimed La Roya to be one of the top five most devastational agricultural plagues in history and point to climate change as the root cause.

Almost every one of our Latin American producer partner groups have been affected considerably. Some long-standing cooperatives have been faced with discontinuing the function of the organization due to lack of coffee to harvest and the need to find other sources for income. According to the International Coffee Organization, Central American countries have estimated production losses due to coffee leaf rust from the past harvest: Guatemala (33.33%), Costa Rica (30-40%) and 15% - 25% in Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. But despite the dire situation (Honduras declared a “State of Emergency” due to the fungus) our producer partners say little real support has come for small-scale, organic farmer groups. Instead, industry and government relief proposals are relying on an intensive, chemical package solution.

As a result, and following consultation with producer partners and members, Coop Coffees has initiated a special Roya Relief fund. These funds will be allocated to partners (in proportion to the volumes we purchase) to be applied to specific projects focused on re-planting, organic fertilization or intensive organic training programs, food security garden projects or other initiatives to generate additional family income. Simultaneously, we are exploring alternative “macro-initiatives” such as linking our purchase contracts to long-term credits, supporting greater farmer to farmer exchange of best organic practices and exploring external fund-raising via allied not-for profits organizations.


We are certified B Corp meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corps are a new sector of the economy which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit. They are purpose-driven, and create benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. As members of this emerging sector of the marketplace we believe that we must be the change we seek in the world and that all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.

It takes a village to build a business, and we believe it’s good business to serve our community in turn! That’s why we’re proud lead our fellow B Corps in working to improve the quality of life for those around us as a 2015 Best for Communities honoree. We earned an community impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations internationally on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company's impact on workers, the community and the environment. That means every day, our fellow honorees and we are taking the lead in delivering beneficial products and services, building local living economies, creating Fair Trade supply chains, and innovating through diversity.

As a B Corp, we’re leading a global movement to redefine success in business so one day all companies compete to be not only the best in the world, but best for the world. We join over 1,200 other companies committed to using business as a force for good.


FAPECAFES is an umbrella organization of seven primary producer groups: APECAM, PROCAP, PROCAFEQ, APEOSAE, APECAEL, APECAP, and ACRIM. The co-op represents over 1650 families in the highlands. The co-op formed in 2002 after years of informal cooperation between farmers in the region.  In 2011 95% of the growers were farming 1 1⁄2 hectares of land or less with an average yield of six quintales (600 pounds) per hectare due to an extremely mature stock of coffee plants including Borbon, Caturra, Pacas and other heirloom varietals. Coffee is grown in a wide variety of microclimates with altitudes spanning between 800 and 2000 meters. In 2011 83% of the farms are certified organic through BCS, USDA and JAS. Each of the seven primary associations has a cupper on staff who is responsible for coffee quality and integrity.  FAPECAFES has two cuppers on staff that sample and confirm the results of the coffee they receive from the primary co-ops.  FAPECAFES farmers invest in planting fruit trees to provide shade for coffee plants These include banana, orange, lime, papaya, yucca and others. This not only allows them to grow food for consumption or market, but also provides a habitat for birds and other animals. FAPECAFES is purchasing wet mills and building greenhouse-type coffee drying facilities in the communities where the famers live to improve quality and to maximize possible output through organic production. In addition to coffee, FEPECAFES farmers produce organic products such as honey and other bee products, chile, and bananas. They work toward phytosanitary conditions on farms, on crop diversification projects, and prohibit the use agrochemicals.  They became FLO fair trade certified in 2002. 

Uganda, Gumitindo 

Founded in 1998

Comprised of 7,000 members

Mount Elgon Region

Organic; FLO

1000 – 1900 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Catimor varietals

Medium acidity, full body, cedar and dark chocolate flavors

Located on and around Mount Elgon, a large volcanic mountain spanning a chunk of the border between Uganda and Kenya, the farmers of Gumutindo produce high quality arabica coffee at altitudes up to 1,900 meters above sea level. The cooperative is a farmer-owned business comprised of ten different “primary societies” (community based organizations) and representing more than 7,000 farmers.  After losing its foothold in the international market in the early 1990s, it became very difficult for Ugandan coffee farmers to find sales outlets for their high quality beans. The dismantling of the country’s coffee industry had created a hostile environment for foreign importers – and Uganda became known as a high volume, lower grade source. But in 1998, a handful of farmers joined a collective effort to re-establish Uganda’s commitment to quality coffee and cooperative structures. And by 1999, some 200 farmers had gathered around the leadership of their founding General Manager Willington Wamayeye. And with the support of U.K.-based fair-trader / developer TWIN Trading, they were able to consolidate a functioning organization.  Since then, Gumutindo has expanded significantly in membership and capacity. They now boast a professional staff, team of agronomists, technicians and cuppers, as well as having constructed their own offices, warehouse, and sorting room.  Gumutindo has become an important motor for development in the Mount Elgon region, having revitalized its primary societies, increased the quality of coffee exports, instilled organic values and practices among its farmer members, and incorporated the voice of women in both its organizational and agricultural development. Appealing to the demands of specialty coffee markets, the coop analyzes and sorts all of its collected coffee according to quality, allowing importers to discern and select which coffees would best suit their market. Fair Trade has allowed the primary societies to build stores, offices, and a medical clinic for the village’s inhabitants. Gumutindo members hope to continue their growth through transparent and mutually beneficial trade partnerships:  “We seek to develop long term relationships based on mutual commitment and loyalty, with buyers who are ready to work with us as our farmer membership, coffee quality and volumes increase,” says Marketing and Exports Manager Lydia Nabulumbi.  Coop Coffees imported our first container of Gumutindo coffee in 2009. Since then, roasters have appreciated the consistent quality and healthy communication between organizations. And looking forward to our 2014 arrivals, we should be reaching our 500,000th pound mark.   

Democratic Republic of Congo, Sopacdi  

The first coffee in the DR Congo to achieve top national grade – Kivu 2 – since 1967 Specialty fully-washed arabica coffee Organic certification FLO certification number 26275 Main harvest from March to June; fly crop from September to October Shipments from June to December Altitude 1460m to over 2000 metres above sea level . SOPACDI represents over 5600 farmers from different ethnic groups in the Kivu Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, producing some of the finest coffee in Africa.  After years of conflict and civil war, their coffee promotes working together for a better future.  It is a time of great change and hope for us. Many farmers had to leave their land for safety during the conflict years. Before farmers had no choice but to sell their coffee to smugglers or smuggle it themselves across Lake Kivu into Rwanda. It was very dangerous and many farmers lost their lives. Eleven years ago a group of farmers came together to look for a way forward.  They decided that producing and marketing the finest coffee was the answer. They experimented, and were able to produce just a few tons in the beginning. They found their first buyer in 2008, who was amazed by the quality of their coffee. Since then, the momentum has been building and they have begun renovating farms, and have achieved international fairtrade and organic certifications. Many families have returned to their homes and have joined the cooperative.    Around 20% of their coffee farmers are women, many of them are widows whose husbands drowned smuggling coffee to barter for food and everyday essentials.   Sopacdi’s female members receive a price premium for coffee delivered to the cooperative. The solidarity and price premiums will enable them to provide for their families. 

Ethiopia, Banko Gotiti

Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia

Organic; FLO

1,600-2,300 meter

Indigenous heirloom cultivars, Full natural and dried on raised beds     

Very pronounced cherry and decidedly sweet aroma.  Flavors of lemon combined with cherry.  Particularly clean and sweet.   Ethiopia Yirgacheffe 3 FTO Banko Gotiti GrainPro coffee is sourced from family-owned farms organized around the Banko Gotiti Cooperative located in the village of Banko Gotiti in the southern district of Gedeb in the Gedeo Zone, Ethiopia. The cooperative was established in 2012 as a separate entity from the larger Worka Cooperative, and currently has approximately 300 members. Banko Gotiti Cooperative is well known for the best coffee cherry selection in Ethiopia. Ripe cherries are carefully selected and immediately placed on raised beds carefully constructed to ensure proper air circulation and temperature control for an optimal drying process.  Cherries are also turned regularly on the beds to prevent damage during the drying process.  The cherries are stored in a local warehouse after the moisture is reduced to between 11.5 and 12 percent, and then transported to Addis Ababa where the coffee is milled and exported.    

Ethiopia, Idido

Member  of  YCFCU  District  of  Yirgacheffe  Yirgacheffe  region   Member  of  YCFCU  since  2006   1650  farmers  members   1  ha  per  farmer   Altitude:  1800  to  2400  m   Varietals:  Heirloom   Idido  cooperative  is  very  often  mentioned  as  one  of  the  YCFCU  cooperative  that  delivers  the  best  quality.  We  have  been  buying  from  this  cooperative  in  2013  and  2014.  YCFCU  can  guarantee  us  a  full  container  from  this  cooperative  and  this  year  maybe  a  second  one.  This  cooperative  is  on  the  same  terroir  as  Negele  Gorbitu  our  former  partner  through  OCFCU.  In  2014  the  cooperative  shipped  out  the  equivalent  of  3  containers  of  washed  coffee  and  1  container  of  natural.  All  the  washed  coffee  was  scored  by  ECX  within  grade  1  or  2.  All  the  Natural  was  scored  within  grade  2  or  3.  In  2015  the  cooperative  expects  to  ship  out  the  equivalent  of  9  containers  in  total  which  is  3  times  what  they  did  in  2014.  They  are  adding  up  300  members  this  year  and  the  yields  will  be  higher  than  last  year.  In  2014  the  farmers  received  12  Ethiopian  birr  per  kg  of  cherries  as  a  first  price  then  a  second  price  of  1  Ethiopian  birr  per  kg.  In  2015  they  expect  to  get  13  to  15  Ethiopian  birr  per  kg  of  cherries.  The  cooperative  only  owns  one  washing  station.  The  place  looked  very  unorganized  during  our  visit.  When  I  say  that  I  mean  we  could  not  really  identify  the  workers  versus  the  people  from  outside  coming  for  our  visit  (out  of  curiosity).  The  pulping  machine  was  broken  and  they  had  cherries  from  the  previous  day  all  around  the  washing  station.  They  told  us  they  would  use  it  for  natural  coffee  into  the  second  processing  unit  only  for  natural.  The  water  in  the  fermenting  tanks  was  very  dirty.  They  said  they  change  the  water  every  12  hours  during  fermenting  but  to  be  honest  it  did  not  look  to  be  the  case.  Another  problem  is  that  coffee  in  the  soaking  tanks  was  covered.  They  explained  us  that  because  of  the  lack  of  space  onto  primary  drying  tables,  they  had  to  keep  the  coffee  in  the  soaking  time  for  more  than  12  hours  so  they  cover  the  tanks  in  order  for  the  coffee  to  not  heat  too  much.  Sorters  (women)  are  paid  20  Ethiopian  birr  per  day  (1$US)  and  washer  (men)  are  paid  32  Ethiopian  birr  per  day.    

Ethiopia, Hama

Member  of  YCFCU  District  of  Kochere  Yirgacheffe  region   Member  of  YCFCU  since  2007   1605  farmers  members   0.8  ha  per  farmer   Altitude:  2000  to  2500  m   Varietals:  Heirloom   Hama  was  a  very  pleasant  surprise  in  the  end  of  our  visit.  The  cooperative  is  very  well  located  in  Kochere  district.  The  view  of  Hama  village  from  the  cooperative  washing  station  is  beautiful.  All  Hama  members  who  were  in  the  washing  station  on  time  we  arrived  looked  very  involved  in  the  meeting  and  very  pleased  to  receive  our  visit.  The  feeling  was  very  positive  at  this  time.  In  2014  the  cooperative  shipped  the  equivalent  of  2  containers  of  washed  coffee  and  a  third  of  a  unwashed  container.  In  2015,  they  are  making  a  full  natural  container  for  us  (special  grade  3  prep)  and  they  expect  to  ship  the  equivalent  of  6  washed  containers.  They  mentioned  that  doing  the  natural  special  preparation  is  not  an  issue  for  them  and  they  like  doing  it  for  us.  In  2014  the  farmers  received  12  Ethiopian  birr  per  kg  of  cherries  as  a  first  price  then  a  second  price  of  1  Ethiopian  birr  per  kg.  In  2015  they  expect  to  get  13  to  15  Ethiopian  birr  per  kg  of  cherries.  The  cooperative  owns  one  washing  station  and  another  processing  unit  where  they  only  receive,  dry  and  mill  natural  coffee.  The  place  we  visited  is  the  washing  station.  It  looked  much  more  organized  than  what  we  saw  in  Idido  or  Biloya.  The  water  in  the  tanks  still  did  not  look  very  fresh  but  still  better  than  in  Idido  and  Biloya.  The  sorters  teams  were  well  organized  and  washers  as  well.  During  our  visit  the  secretary  mentioned  that  they  decided  to  join  with  YCFCU  in  order  to  get  access  to  a  market  that  is  more  focused  on  quality  and  also  in  order  to  receive  some  support  to  produce  a  better  quality  coffee.  Sorters  (women)  are  paid  25  Ethiopian  birr  per  day  (1$US)  and  we  did  not  get  this  data  for  washers  (men).      

Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe

YCFCU  is  really  working  to  be  proactive  in  term  of  promoting  quality  and  getting  higher  prices  for  their  coffees.  They  are  setting  up  some  measures  that  are  supposed  to  increase  the  quality  of  the  coffee  they  ship  to  their  customer, which include premiums based on grade delivered. YCFCU  is  holding  a  cooperatives  scorecard  that  puts  the  cooperatives  into  3  different  categories  :  -­‐ Category  1  :  These  cooperatives  are  the  most  consistent  in  regard  to  quality,  but  also  the  ones  that  are  dedicated  to  the  Union  and  the  one  that  are  getting  a  higher  demand  from  buyers.  What I call  the  «  hype  »  cooperatives.  In  this  category  we  find  Idido,  Adado,  Hafursa,  Konga,  Worka,  BankoGotiti,  and  Adame.  -­‐ Category  2  :  The  cooperatives  are  showing  good  signs  of  development  with  a  very  decent  quality  and  some  positive  signs  in  term  of  loyalty  to  the  Union.  In  this  category  we  find  Biloya,  Hama,  or  Arramo  (and  many  more).  -­‐ Category  3  :  These  cooperatives  are  the  ones  that  just  started  working  with  YCFCU  or  the  ones  that  are  not  really  demanded  by  the  market. YCFCU  exported  100  containers  in  the  last  season  (13-­‐14).  They  plan  to  export  220  containers  in  14-­‐15.  This  increase  is  due  to  a  better  harvest.  YCFCU  is  now  processing  its  coffee  into  its  own  processing  facility  in  Addis.  They  still  have  no  lab  yet  and  are  sometimes  using  SCFCU  lab.    

Ethiopia, Telamo

Member of  SCFCU  District  of  Shebedino   Sidama  region  

Member  of  SCFCU  since  2010  (2002  Ethiopian  Calendar)   

4000  farmers  members   

0,5  to  3,5  ha  per  farmer   

Altitude:  1800  to  1900  m   

Varietals:  Heirloom   

Telamo  cooperative  decided  to  join  SCFCU  in  2010  in  order  to  get  access  to  the  market  through  a  very  transparent  and  open  book  organization.  In  addition  to  the  market  access  support  the  Union  is  also  providing  financial  support  to  the  cooperative  as  well  as  technical  support  to  improve  farming  practices  and  processing  practices  as  well.  Telamo  farmers  and  staff  are  working  together  in  order  to  deliver  to  their  Union  a  very  high  quality  coffee.  The  cooperative  owns  4  washing  stations  and  1  processing  unit  for  natural  coffee.  The  one  we  visited  is  for  natural  coffee.  It  shows  drying  tables  to  dry  red  cherries.  The  other  processing  units  have  a  washing  station  to  process  washed  coffee.  In  the  natural  coffee  processing  unit  the  cherries  layer  in  the  table  was  very  thin  and  the  cherries  selection  was  very  decent  as  well.  There  are  two  staff  per  table  (25  m)  to  turn  cherries  around  and  guarantee  a  proper  drying  of  all  cherries.  December  is  the  best  time  to  dry  cherries.  At  this  time  of  the  year  the  weather  is  always  very  dry.  In  these  conditions  it  lasts  20  days  to  dry  the  cherries  and  have  it  ready  to  be  hulled.  The  cooperative  also  owns  a  huller  for  dried  cherries  hulling.  It  shakes  the  cherries  first  to  remove  any  foreign  material  then  it  hulled  the  cherries.  The  final  step  in  the  machine  is  to  shake  again  the  beans  in  order  to  separate  broken  beans  and  light  beans  (floaters  and  immature).  In  2015  the  cooperative  expects  to  ship  the  equivalent  of  3  containers  of  natural  and  to  shipe  the  equivalent  of  10  containers  of  washed  coffee.        

Ethiopia, Fero

Member of SCFCU District of Wonsho Siadama region  

Member of SCFCU since 2005  

4164 farmers members  

0,5 ha per farmer 

Altitude: 1800 to 1900 m

Varietals: Heirloom  

Fero cooperative is very often mentioned as the most successful cooperative in the whole country. The cooperative receives is well known for being very transparent to its members and to provide a very solid technical support to its members on the farming front as well as on the processing front. The industry manager (quality manager) of the main washing station is Teshome Debiso. He is really on top of the processing unit and is a very good advisor for all staff working at both cherries washing and on drying tables. He is also on site every night to carefully control the cherries selection of daily deliveries coming from the 16 collecting centers that the coop owns. Pulping machine is very well calibrated. However, the cooperative is also implementing a brand new Pinhalense eco pulper that was provided by Technoserve. Staff onto the washing site are paid 24 Ethiopian birr per day (1.05 $us). All of them are men. Staff on sorting/drying tables are paid 20 Ethiopian birr per day (1 $us). All of them are women. In 2014 Fero shipped the equivalent of 16 containers. In 2015 the cooperative expects to ship the equivalent of 20 containers. 

Ethiopia, Sidama

Founded in 2001

Comprised of 80,000 members

Sidama Region      

Organic; FLO

1700 -1950 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Heirloom

Citric acidity, full body, and lasting flavors of  lemon zest, bergamot and bitter cocoa

Sidama Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (SCFCU) was founded in 2001 to represent coffee producing cooperatives located throughout the Sidama Zone of southern Ethiopia both locally and in international markets. Today, SCFCU has grown to represent 46 cooperatives and more than 80,000 small-scale farmer families — making SCFCU the second largest Coffee Farmer Cooperative Union in Ethiopia.  Coffees produced by SCFCU member cooperatives are shade grown in low densities under the canopies of indigenous trees and enset (false banana), a staple food crop for Sidama families. The Sidama region stretches across the rugged mountains of Bensa to the valleys of Dale and Aleta Wendo – which provide a range of quality profiles that exemplify this wealth of production landscapes.  Sidama washed coffees show pronounced acidity, fruit flavors varying from red fruits to blueberry and sweet organic to tangy lemon aromas and flavors, medium body and a bitter cocoa finish. In Sidama regions of higher altitudes – often called “Yirgacheffe type” coffees – the coffee shows the characteristic and delicate flavors of bergamot and lemon zest.  Sidamo natural process (unwashed) provides a quality profile with candied strawberry or blueberry fruit flavors, low acidity and rich, full body.  Coop Coffees began sourcing directly from SCFCU in 2009. Since then, we have had the opportunity to develop direct relationships with several of the SCFCU community based cooperatives over the years, including Shilcho, Homacho Waeno, Talamo, Bona, Abela Galuko and Fero Cooperatives.  Overall, Sidama Union produces some 10,000 tons of high quality Organic Arabica beans per year, of which nearly 95% is washed. SCFCU has been certified by Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) since 2003, supporting their role as the bridge to develop producer-buyer relations and direct export OF members’ extraordinary, high quality coffee to international, gourmet markets.  

Sumatra, Permata Gayo

Founded in 2006

Comprised of 2000 members

Bener Meriah, Aceh      

Organic; FLO; SPP

1200 – 1600 meters above sea level      

Arabica – Bourbon, Timtim, Ateng Super, Catimor (Hybrid of Caturra and Timtim)

Medium acidity, big body, earthy, leather, green pepper, red fruits

Rising abruptly from the coastal plains of Sumatra’s northern-most province, the mountains of Aceh Tengah (Central Aceh) are the historical home to the Gayonese people. The ideal growing conditions of this region have supported the long history and unique quality reputation of “Gayo Mountain” coffee.  Most coffee grown in this area has followed a similar, traditional route: the farmer sells his coffee cherry to “collectors” at the going street price – who in turn de-pulp, wash and dry the coffee to asalan, or 20% humidity in parchment, before selling it to a centralized buyer in Takengon. The commercial buyers in turn negotiate a price with an exporter and truck the coffee down the mountain to the southern province of North Sumatra. Final processing occurs in the commercial plants in the coastal city of Medan, before shipping it out of the port at Belewan. In this scenario, the individual farmer rarely knows at what price his coffee was finally sold, or where it will end up.  Permata Gayo was founded in 2006 in the Bener Meriah district of the Aceh Province, with the intention of changing history. In bringing the full process from farmer to final export under one roof, Permata Gayo is able to regain more control over each step of the way to improve quality, communications and direct sales, and to achieve their ultimate objective – sharing a bigger portion of the final price back to the farmers themselves.  Cooperative Coffees began importing coffee from Permata in 2009. During these short five years, we have already seen incredible strides forward by members and staff to strengthen their internal structures and continually improve their quality control. With 36 villages and distinct processing centers, it is a constant challenge to maintain consistency. However, during our annual visits to Sumatra, we have seen well-equipped facilities, clean fermentation tanks, well- calibrated de-pulping machines, expanded drying patios, and a marked improvement in the attention given to coffee processing each step along the way: from cherry collection to final sorting and lot selection. Permata Gayo farmers are well informed about market expectations and are proud to know where their coffee is sold and of roaster and customer appreciation of their efforts.  For Coop Coffees, Permata Gayo coffee has quickly become one of our most important offerings. With a characteristic quality profile of medium acidity, sweet and earthy flavors with hints of green pepper and dark walnut, a syrupy, full body and long, lingering finish, this is a popular coffee as single origin and an irreplaceable element in many of our members’ roasted blends.