The price of specialty coffee depends on both its quality and the cost at each stage of the supply chain from seed to cup. We are committed to working as close as we can with coffee producers so that we can improve quality and bring clarity to the supply chain. This involves maintaining direct partnerships with producers and community projects, as well as partnerships with other ethical coffee exporters. We are also committed to being completely open about how we source our coffee, including who we buy it from and how much we pay.
We think it is important to show what we pay directly to producers in order to highlight how much they need to develop and maintain a financially viable, sustainable way of producing speciality grade coffee. For this reason, on our product pages we have broken down the total cost of each coffee into three figures, and share this information where possible:
Farmgate: The price paid to the coffee producer (or the community project in which the producer is a member) for growing, harvesting, and processing their coffees.
Free on board (FOB): The Farmgate price plus the costs of milling of the coffee then packing and shipping it to the UK.
Delivered at Place (DAP): The total cost of the coffee from the farm to our warehouse (in other words: Farmgate + FOB + the costs of importing and transporting the coffee to our warehouse).
Since 2021, Conscious has worked with Bee Cause We Care 365, a conservation and community development NGO, to be part of their speciality coffee project. The project supports small scale coffee producers to maintain organic farming practices and produce speciality grade coffee that they can sell to the international market.
An important aspect of our partnership is knowledge sharing. Together, we have run multiple coffee production workshops with the producers in partnership with David Bisetti, one of the pioneers of specialty coffee in Peru. The aim of these workshops is to help them improve each aspect of the production process – from harvesting only the ripe coffee cherries to drying coffee effectively. Over the past two years we have also visited each producer’s farm to learn about their specific production techniques.
Last year, the leader of the producer group, Leyvi Perez undertook an internship with our partner, Collective Bean. The goal was to provide Leyvi with further training on assessing quality and improving production yield and to connect her with established speciality coffee producers so that she could learn from them directly. In this way, we are supporting the community to invest in improving their coffee production techniques in order to enable them to generate a stable and viable income through speciality coffee.
Inspired by the thousands of varieties of coffee that grow wild in forests, La Margarita Coffee Reserve was established by the Solorzano family in the Ocobamba Valley District in the Department of Cusco, Peru.
Utilizing the unique ecosystem on their farm, they have been at the forefront of holistic cultivation practices since 2017, working as a family and with friends in their community to produce award-winning coffees.
We met Nato, one of the Solorzano brothers, at the end of 2020, when he invited us to his family’s farm to learn about how they cultivate coffee.
We have been working with the family since then. This has allowed us to witness the development of their sustainable coffee production techniques, from growing fruit trees among coffee plants to enrich the soil and preserving bee communities, to growing coffee in the shade (helping to create an ecologically diverse environment). In parallel, they have invested in infrastructure for speciality coffee production, including setting up a cupping lab on the farm.
The results speak for themselves: in 2021 Marco Solorzano placed 6th in the Cup of Excellence and last year he placed 12th, while his nephew, Ivan, received an honourable mention.
Collective Bean was founded by Cynthia Landeo to create a more ethical model for trading coffee, based on building long term relationships between producers and coffee buyers. We worked with Collective Bean this year to build stronger relationships with our existing partner producers, as well as cultivate new partnerships. Collective Bean also took a key role in our export operation, which enabled us to consolidate coffee from across the country.
From our initial conversations in Lima in July 2022, it was clear that we and Collective Bean share the same vision to deliver speciality coffee through an equitable supply chain. From Lima we travelled to Cusco together to spend time with the Bee Cause we Care 365 project, where we ran a workshop together on improving production processes to increase the baseline quality of the project’s coffee production. We also spent time together with the Solorzano family, who own La Margarita Coffee Reserve.
We are now working together to put in place the necessary processes to strengthen our partnerships even further with producers and community projects (including complete transparency at every stage of the supply chain).