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Here at The Captain's Coffee we believe coffee should not only be good, it should do good too! This article is the 2nd in our series of shining a spotlight on farmers, coops, producers and exporters who are doing good things for coffee, the environment and their communities. Today we're talking about JNP Coffee; an exporter in Burundi who works directly with small holder farms in order to improve the lives of farmers and their families as well as create a focus on incredible coffee. If you'd like to support their amazing work, we've got two coffees from them right now: Burundi Ngozi Bavyeyi Natural (Green/Roasted) and Burundi Ngozi Turihamwe (Green/Roasted) or you can pick up both Green as a discounted Bundle!
Image Courtesy Royal Coffee
So when I began this write up, I spent quite a bit of time reading through JNP Coffee's website as well as our importer's website, Royal Coffee. After an hour or two of reading, I realized two things: 1. I was seriously impressed with JNP Coffee. 2. Charlie Habegger at Royal did an amazing job writing about JNP and I would be spending more of my article quoting Charlie than I would actually writing anything new. After spending a few moments digesting a large slice of humble pie, I decided we'd all be better served letting his work speak for itself. So, credit where credit is due, below is his write up in it's entirety.
Source by Charlie Habegger
"Jeanine Niyonzima-Aroian, the founder of JNP Coffee, is without a doubt one of the most influential individuals in Burundi coffee today.
Raised in the capital city of Bujumbura, Jeanine would go on to earn an MBA from Northwestern University’s prestigious Kellogg School, cycle through corporate America, and eventually reconnect with her birth country by founding Burundi Friends International, a not-for-profit funding educational and economic empowerment programs for rural Burundians, which is now in its 13th year. After a few years marketing Burundi coffees stateside for friends and family, Jeanine realized she had every reason to lead the business, and JNP Coffee was born.
Coffee grown in Ngozi Province has a special meaning for Jeanine, as that is where her mother grew up. Memories of her mother, leading the family’s coffee harvest to cover school fees, are woven into the name for this coffee. Bavyeyi in Kirundi translates to “parents,’’ a name given to honor the generations of hardworking parents, like Jeanine’s, whose labor in coffee (something many farming families either do not consume or cannot afford to consume) provides shelter, nourishment, and educational opportunities to their children. The producer group is women-owned and works closely with JNP Coffee’s trained Q Graders in Burundi on best quality practices and lot curation. Indeed, this coffee itself is comprised of five unique processing lots from different days throughout harvest.
JNP Coffee is highly focused on women’s empowerment, and along with a few local women’s rights advocates, supported the Burundi chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. The network of IWCA farmer members in Burundi whose coffee is differentiated by membership, marketed for its traceability and impact, and which generates end-of-year premiums for all involved is now more than 2,000 strong. JNP Coffee has created additional programs to expand their farmer base and generate Dushime™ premiums. It seems they can’t expand fast enough. In Kayanza and Ngozi, the heart of the nation’s coffee production regions, competition for cherry can be fierce, so washing stations may pay well above the country’s minimum price to court premium harvests. JNP Coffee goes a step further, returning second payments to farmers and investing in opportunities for education and community building."
Once again, thanks to Charlie and the fine folks at Royal Coffee! If you'd like to read more of their findings on JNP Coffee, you can find their staff's specific write ups here for Bavyeyi Natural and here for Turihamwe Washed.
If you'd like to read more on JNP Coffee and all the projects their working on, you can visit them at jnpcoffee.com.
Here at The Captain's Coffee, it's important to us that our coffee should not just be good, it should also do good. That's why we're starting a series shining a spotlight on farmers and producers who are doing good things for the earth, their community and their coffee. Today's farmer spotlight features our Honduras Catracha Isidoro Sanchez Microlot: a partnership between a farmer, Isidoro Sanchez and the exporter he works with, Catracha Coffee.
Isidoro Sanchez is the owner of Finca el Poso, a tiny farm near Santa Elena, Honduras where he lives with his wife and 6 children. For many years he operated his 5 acre farm as many small producers do: he used conventional farming methods in order to boost his crop yield and sold his coffee to a middleman at low market rates. This arrangement was unsustainable for both his farm and his family and it is sadly, all too common in the specialty coffee industry. But exporters like Catracha Coffee mean to change all that.
Nearly a decade ago, Mayra Orellana-Powell founded Catracha Coffee Company with the goal of improving the lives of coffee producers and their communities as well as the coffee they produced. They do this in several ways. First, they have a unique profit sharing model. Most middlemen in this situation simply purchase a farmer's crop and then do the leg work of selling the crops they purchase overseas, making their money off the premium they charge further up the supply chain. The difference here, is that producers who work with Catracha get paid twice: first when Catracha purchases their coffee and then again when the coffee is sold on the specialty market. Once they sell the coffee, Catracha sends a portion of their profits back to the farmer as a second payment. This profit sharing has allowed farmers the additional income to invest in their farms, families and communities. In the last few years of using this model, most farmers have received a total of around $2.50 per pound for their coffee. That may not sound like much, but remember that the Fair Trade average is around $1.40 per pound. Catracha further invests a portion of their own profits back into the community through a non profit called the Catracha Community which hosts training events for children and adults in everything from fine art and local crafts to entrepreneurship and business concepts.
Catracha coffee also works directly with farmers to improve the quality of their coffee. When he began working with Catracha Coffee 2 years ago, Isidoro immediately began improving things around his farm. First, he switched to organic farming practices including using lime to control the pH balance of the soil as well as using organic compost and organic fungicides. He then learned how to use his personal micro mill so that he could process his coffee on site and control its quality himself rather than sending it to a large mill. Most recently he has been refurbishing the older areas of his farm in order to expand production as well as investing in more and more organic farming practices to revitalize the soil and create a generations long sustainable farm.
Sources: catrachacoffee.com and royalcoffee.com. Picture credit: Royal Coffee.