2023 marked the year, where we changed the spacing between the trees from 60 cm to 1.8 meters. This is to ensure that the trees do not have to 'compete' with each other for nutrients in the soil.
The bourbon trees suffered from diseases the past year, which is why we decided to thin out the shading trees using the cutting as a natural fertilizer for the soil on the lot.
The Laurinas have not been able to grow in the ecosystem and have now been removed.
Typica trees have been planted in between the Geisha trees, as these are genetically different from and older than the other varieties planted on the lot.
This year we will cut down some of our bourbon trees and plant a variety called Harar.
A project like this continuously evaluated and what seems to be a set back can prove to be an advantage in a later stage. The plot will grow and change with time to get closer to meet the criteria we initially stated when initiating the sustainable project.
The new harvest will be launched as an espresso in the middle of February. This harvest has been processed at their Masterpiece wet and dry mill.
The coffee is a mix of Geisha, Red Bourbon and Yellow Bourbon and is partially Pulped Natural and Partially Dried on Tree Natural. The latter is a method where you leave the cherries on the trees to dry in to small raisin like hard cherries. This is only possible in the very stable and dry Cerrado weather. In all it makes an espresso, which is smooth and round with a syrupy sweetness and notes of dried fruits and molasses.
In 2014, the owner of the Brazilian coffee farm, Daterra, Luis N. Pascoal, offered us to cooperatively run a piece of land at their farm. This would be a constellation based on our knowledge about sustainable coffee growing and theories of ecology and their practical expertise in coffee farming.
Daterra holds a special place in our hearts. They not only share our sustainable values but are also a fellow B-Corp and have since 2022 been CO2 net positive. Moreover, they were the very first of our direct trade relationships, which dates back to 2007.
We agreed to make a long-term collaboration to explore how to grow coffee mainly on sustainable practices. Luis selected a piece of land on his farm and named it Our Plot.
Our Plot has been defined from three main criteria; Quality, sustainability, and scalability. First, we need high quality to make the product relevant and interesting for consumers. Second, it has to be grown in a manner that improves the health of the earth. And finally, it only has real relevance if it can be scaled up to actually have an impact on a large scale.
From here, we needed some rules to fulfill the above-mentioned criteria.
The 9 principles of Our Plot
Organic certification is seen as a baseline, but the aim has always been to explore more sustainable ways of growing coffee. From the outset, we worked with the following rules or guidelines for setting up the lot.
In collaboration with the people at Daterra, we have managed to grow the coffee at Our Plot based on these guidelines. It has been a long and educational process where we've been in close communication with Daterra's talented agronomist, João, all the steps of the way. We have waited years for the result, not knowing the outturn or if we would succeed in growing coffee in the uttermost sustainable approach possible.
This project, Our Plot, is just as much a way of learning into detail about sustainable coffee growing for us and Daterra, so we in the future hopefully can practice this in much higher scales.
How much is the farmer paid?
Coffee Collective trades directly with producers, ensuring that the payment goes into the right hands. When you purchase a bag of coffee you will know how much the producer is paid.
The lower graph shows you the difference between the quality bonus and the Brazilian ICO market price, as well as the Fairtrade price. Neither the market price nor Fairtrade clearly and transparently informs you about how much money actually reaches the farmers.
In contrast, the quality bonus provides you with a market comparison that is transparent.
The pink pillar represents the price that Coffee Collective paid directly to Daterra. This is the price we paid above the Brazilian market price. Therefore, Daterra received $4.5 per pound for this harvest.