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  • Writer's pictureJon Ferguson

What We Learned in Boston

We would like to thank all of those who visited our booth and spent time with our sales team during the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston! We are grateful for having the opportunity to reconnect with our producers, importers, and roasting partners while also having the chance to discover new possibilities for the upcoming harvest season in Peru.

Stefan Lautner (Sales Manager at Cimbria), Jon Ferguson & Erly Camizan (from ElevaFinca) at the SCA Expo in Boston.

What Did We Learn?

During the Expo in Boston, our sales team made a concerted effort to seek feedback from our buyers and producers on what we are doing right and perhaps where we may have room for improvements. The good news is that our newsletters seem to be engaging and were told we respond rather quickly to emails! Some of the challenges noted were mainly regarding the strengthening of detailed information on individual coffee producers, in addition to further transparency and traceability attributes. Requests for farm gate pricing and photographs and portfolios of individual farmers for FOB contracts were noted.

Developing Transparency & Traceability Reports

In addition to successfully delivering on FOB contract terms in a timely and accurate manner, having access to detailed information on cooperatives and suppliers are some of the more sought-after and valuable differentiators for our buyers. ElevaFinca is positioned to deliver on the challenge of reporting this data, and highly advises clients to participate and invest in the development of customized Transparency & Traceability (T&T) Reports which are drafted for each FOB contract. As a reminder, this optional fee adds .05ct per pound to cover operational costs involved with gathering requested information from producer organizations.

Why Start the Process Now?

To secure accurate information for a client contract, it is very important to communicate transparency and traceability requests during the pre-harvest season. ElevaFinca and participating cooperatives in Peru can gather detailed information on individual farmer contributions if requests are specified while FOB contracts are being drafted. For example, if a coffee was purchased from a cooperative with 40+ members who have already harvested, homogenized, and delivered their green coffee to the end buyer, it will be much more difficult to conduct an audit trail on individual contributions, especially if there were no underlying certifications attached to the specific lot. Farmer profiles, photographs, and geographic information are usually not required or gathered by smaller to medium-sized cooperative management teams, especially if they have not yet secured contracts for their coffee prior to the harvest. Gathering financial information from cooperatives from the beginning of the harvest season until the completion will also help contextualize the fluctuating farm gate pricing levels in relation to current market conditions. For example, a farm gate price of $2.00 per pound + differential for this coming harvest season will definitely not have as much of an added ethical impact as this price level may have had two to three years prior when the NY “C” market was hovering around $1.00 per pound + differential.

Although most cooperatives do maintain accurate ledgers and records of payment to their members, the process of identifying each member’s contribution of yield to a specific contract lot previously shipped is an often-lengthy clerical task, in addition to contextualizing the price paid after historical inflation rates occurring throughout the entire supply chain within the last few months. Although the data often does exist, it may not be gathered in a specific format or timeline if there are no clients actively requesting the information.

Requesting Transparency & Traceability Reports

To ensure a more robust and accurate T&T Report, having discussions prior to the harvest will provide cooperatives time to allocate staff to help prepare the clerical activities, photography sessions, and additional gathering of information throughout the span of the harvesting season. We often find more complications when post-harvest information requests require cooperative management teams to audit prior harvest and certification records to gather photos or individual harvest payments made during the prior season.

The main season for higher elevation coffees is only a few months away, while lower elevations have already begun. Many of these coffees are shipping as early as late April and early May. If you are interested in booking early harvest coffees, please reach out to us as soon as possible to help cooperatives and our team in Jaen begin the process as early as possible.

Our latest coffee offer is constantly updated here

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