Direct Trade 2.0
This year, we went for it. We shipped a whole container of coffee over from Colombia…ourselves!! Okay, not totally ourselves. We didn’t fly over to Colombia, rent a truck, drive up into Andes, chuck hundreds of sacks in the back, drive to the port, charter a boat and sail back with it all. Although...that sounds pretty rad. Maybe next year.
What we mean by shipping a container ourselves, is that we bought all the coffee outright (no credit/financing), arranged the freight by sea and road, and organised somewhere to store it all when it arrived (the roastery) - A risky and challenging project to take on, that came with a lot of uncertainty that would have been mitigated by the traditional methods of sourcing.
When the container arrived however, it was a special moment for our founder Jo Thompson, who first bought coffee from Coopespeciales 5 years ago. Jo says "We've been buying coffee from Jose and Pablo every year since we started out, and we were keen to do something that would take our relationship to the next step" - "It was the culmination of a 5 year working relationship...which ultimately meant a better coffee price for our partners in Colombia and Triple Co".
Typically, when a roastery buys green coffee, it isn't directly from the farm. In most cases, it's purchased from a go-between, a green coffee importer. And for good reason, they play the crucial role in maintaining logistical and financial links between all the different supply chain actors from farm to roastery. Usually having teams of people based at origin as well in the UK.
Green importers deserve a whole blog of their own, but suffice to say, they play a a key part in our industry and we're very grateful to them. But this year, we wanted to try something different. And what happened? The money we spent to secure our BS1 Espresso for a whole year went directly to the farmers who grew it. A big win!
As mentioned already, it wasn't without its challenges. One big and simple one being that we're surrounded by (literally) tons of beans at the roastery, that would have ordinarily been stored at a third party warehouse. But it was all worth it. Sourcing via true direct trade is one of the three core values that make up the Triple Co brand, and hopefully this is a big step towards living up to those values.
As always, our delicious BS1 is available on our web shop or you can pop into the roastery and see all beans piled up for yourself.