RNY on Location: Colombia 2016

Specialty coffee producers looking at landscape in Colombia

Strengthening relationships with our partners in Colombia

Origin trips are vital in reacquainting ourselves to ongoing partnerships with coffee producers in the specialty coffee industry. Our hope is that the partnerships we nurture and value will pay off in opportunities to source and ultimately offer great new coffees to our customers.

We kicked off 2016 with a trip to Colombia to visit a great partner of ours, Pergamino. Pergamino is an exporter from the Antioquia and Cauca regions.  However, they are most famous for their stewardship of the Santa Barbara Estate.

The goal of our trip was to identify, evaluate and purchase some new micro lots from Asorcafe and La Plata. Asorcafe is a group of small coffee producers in the Cauca region.  La Plata is a similar group located in Huila.  These coffees will begin showing up on our offering sheet in late March into early April 2016.

Pergamino’s sourcing process

Pedro Echavarria, commercial director for Pergamino/Santa Barbara, talked us through his process for sourcing smaller lots.  In addition to sourcing smaller lots, Pergamino also is committed to paying premiums to those growers producing better quality. Pergamino’s price structure with coffee producers ensures they receive a base payment for their coffee at initial purchase. Once their lots are cupped, they will receive a premium on top of their original payment. These premiums are based on the complexity and quality of the coffee they produce.  These premiums allow specialty coffee producers to make improvements to their homes and farms.

Pedro says, “We are not just paying for better coffee, we are motivating them to improve quality year after year.  All this while helping them purchase new equipment which will allow them to process coffee better.”

For me, the best part of the trip was being able to sit down with producers.  I was able to tell them how much we appreciate their hard work and dedication. Everyone we encountered was excited and enthusiastic to be working with both Pergamino and Royal NY.

The producers see Pergamino as a means to successfully enter the specialty coffee market and engage with roasters. These coffee producers truly care about the final cup.  They were eager to learn which varieties were the best for producing bright and complex profiles. Pergamino facilitates the importing of these small lots in the same container with Santa Barbara.  This process allows the coffee to ship promptly and arrive as fast and fresh as possible.

The Royal New York lots

Royal New York purchased a micro lot from San Antonio, Cauca which was produced by Alfonso Pillimue. Mr. Pillimue hosted us during our visit to San Antonio. Alfonso welcomed all of us to stay overnight and even had his family prepare us a nice dinner.

The new lot from Finca El Porvenir cupped exceptionally well.  It provided a sweet, balanced, juicy cup with notes of tangerine, honey and meyer lemon.  In addition, its pleasant acidity made it a favorite among everyone in the room.

We also purchased a micro lot from La Plata, Huila produced by Eduardo Muse. This coffee was a juicy, sweet, bright cup.  There were floral notes and a clean finish.

In addition to these lots, we just received the below arrivals.  These lots were cupped during Pedro’s last visit to Royal NY in November 2015:

  • Colombia Excelso Huila- Alejandro Joven (18 bags): This lot presented notes of cherry and caramel.
  • Colombian Excelso Antioquia- Finca Vuelta Bonita (35 bags): Producer Sergio Tobon is located in Ciudad Bolivar, Antioquia. This lot presents notes of honey, peach and lemon with a medium acidity.