Friday, March 7, 2014

Abonzo Coffee - Direct from North Thailand

High in the mountains outside of Chang Rai is the small village of Doi Chaang. This region grows high-scoring coffee and they have reason to be proud of their tradition and accomplishments. 

The farmers are Ahka, one of the six hill tribes that occupy the Golden Triangle region, encompassing Burma, South China, Thailand and Laos. Historically life has not been easy for the Ahka and the West knows little of their plight. The majority do not hold citizenship so are subject to abuse, lack of ownership or guarantee of title. A young man who we shall call Pat began a small coffee company last year that included his father's farm and a few other family farms. His goal was to see if they could break away from the monopoly buyer in the area that controlled all marketing, purchasing, and possibilities for anyone else to succeed.

A good friend of mine living in the area, Rusty and Lynette Pollinder, assisted me in getting to know Pat, hear his vision and his heart for seeing God's Glory come in fresh ways to this region, not through charity and aid, but real jobs, business and a "hand up". After walking with Pat for several months we began to realize that God had brought us all together.

This is world-class coffee and yet is little-known in the US roaster market. Getting shipments of coffee from this region to my roastery in Ohio is no small feat. Last September Hemisphere Coffee Roasters imported a partial container shipment to test the process and see what kind of response our customers would have to this coffee. It was huge!

Late last year, Hemisphere Coffee Roasters worked out an arrangement to receive a full container of Abonzo Coffee and try to spread its reach across the country. I have a booth registered at the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) in Seattle in April where we shall showcase this coffee along with Cafe Diego.

Currently Larry Chupp, (director of the Rosedale Business Group), Rusty and myself are pulling together the financing of this shipment. Let me know if you want to help!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

God is still at work

For the past six years Hemisphere Coffee Roasters has been purchasing coffee directly from Leslie and Diego Chavarria outside of Matagalpa Nicaragua. The coffee has been of good quality and very consistant year to year. Some years has been 1 container others two and one year we did three. As this fall rolled around it became obvious that we may not be able to purchase a container this year. Every person I talked to about funding a container were not in a position to do so.

Grace and I did what we have always done and cried out to God. Not just for us but for the farmers. I have seen the difference a purchase makes in this community and without those direct-traded funds the farmers were left to the local buyers. Than we began to hear of extremely low prices being paid locally in Nicaragua for green coffee. Totally ridiculous and pathetic. Good high grown coffee was getting .30 per pound to the farmer that needed cash. This is what exploitation looks like and is something every person should be aware of. But sadly very few know and fewer care enough to action!

We made more calls and prayed specifically for two containers. At the last minute God provide two parties that are doing just that. God is still at work and has heard our prayers and the cries of the growers in Gupatole region!