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  • Writer's pictureJon Ferguson

Demand Grows for Micro-lots from Cooperatives

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Micro-lot coffee selections produced by cooperatives are continuing to blossom with opportunities for growth and recognition across global specialty coffee markets. Cooperatives continue to work toward strengthening the qualities and availability of micro-lots by focusing on establishing sufficient financing, improving quality control mechanisms, and strengthening logistical services for building strategies to benefit from the increasing demand for micro-lots. This article focuses on the sourcing of micro-lots in Peru.

Many cooperatives which have historically collected and homogenized coffee deliveries from their membership base continue to transform their management strategy and operations to focus on offering clearly defined and unique selections to a greater specialty coffee consuming audience.

Some of the historical challenges with producing micro-lot selections through coffee cooperative organizations have been attributed to a lack of sufficient financing for funding specialized management and quality control mechanisms required to process micro-lots. The delivery and calibration of cup qualities between potential buyers and producers have also added difficulties to growing micro-lot channels.

The coffee cooperatives working in alliance with ElevaFinca have been able to provide several micro-lot selections to specialty buyers in the past, but the growth in demand demonstrates a need to continue advocating for continuous improvements in coop management and quality control programs. As the harvest in Peru nears completion, the results continue to demonstrate the vast number of improvements and micro-lot offerings year to year. Although the pandemic forced a delay in showcasing many of these wonderful qualities to buyers, I was able to cup nearly 200 micro-lots from the northern regions of Cajamarca and Amazonia, Peru in late September.

The Café Selva Norte milling operation will expedite the potential for cooperatives to separate lots with more control over the way cooperatives process and clean their offerings. But it is up to the importer, roaster, and consumer to commit long-term planning strategies with select cooperatives to reap the most benefit and develop strong connections with these cooperatives.

Producing micro-lots is a great deal of work, and it often takes years to establish a regular supply and repeatability of quality. ElevaFinca is positioned to help facilitate and grow these relationships to help further connect importers, roasters, and cooperatives to find long-term commitments by all parties to be flexible, understanding, and accepting of each side to develop a sustainable relationship. We are ready to get to work to begin developing these connections, so give us a call today to start planning for your visit to Jaen in the summer of 2022!

*How does the specialty coffee industry define a micro-lot? Unfortunately, there are as many interpretations to defining a micro-lot as there are micro-lots produced! For the sake of clarity regarding this newsletter, we are defining a micro-lot as a selection of coffee that has achieved a level of identification allowing the producer or group of producers to be recognized with a specificity beyond general regional definition. The volume produced for a specific lot by the producer or group of producers is less than a full container load (and often much less) of coffee, which is typically measured in a unit consisting of 275 to 300 bags of exportable green coffee weighing 60 kilos per sack.

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