Are you attending SCA Expo in Boston? We're excited to see your friendly faces after our two-year break! We'll be at booth #425 with our sister companies, InterAmerican Coffee and Rothfos Corporation.
To celebrate and bring some of our favorite people together, we'll be holding Office Hours with Atlas and InterAmerican Coffee producer partners throughout the weekend at booth #425. Stop by to meet growers and exporters and to learn more about the coffees and the people behind them that you know and love!
Read on to learn about our Office Hour partners.
Friday, April 8
10:30-12:30 PM ET
COCAFCAL was one of the first registered coffee cooperatives in Honduras, wisely putting in the extra work early on to obtain Fair Trade and Organic certifications to add value to their product. Before the mid-2000s, few specialty coffee buyers expected much quality from Honduras.
COCAFCAL has produced a microlot competition at the coop every year since 2008, and Atlas has been involved with the competition each time. The Cooperative has grown exponentially, and from each competition event, new roaster-farmer relationships are formed, most of which carry on for years. COCAFCAL has since added: a computer lab for their members, a coffee shop and roasting business to train members on other components of the supply chain, a coffee tree nursery, and a massive solar-drying complex – not to mention the world's most excellent coffee eco-tourism facilities capable of hosting up to 80 people at a time. Microlots continue to be the jewel in COCAFCAL's crown, with competition scores routinely breaking the 90 point ceiling, with lush acidity and exotic tropical fruit flavors. The coop's bulk FTO/RA SHG EP coffee is one of the most reliable certified Central American coffees we work with, showing green apple, dark chocolate, toffee, and honey in the cup. The diversity of growing conditions and genetic varieties provide an infinite range of profiles, and expert processing fully realizes the potential of each lot.
1-3 PM ET
We first met Henrique Dias Cambraia, the president of Santo Antônio Estates (SanCoffee), about 15 years ago at Expo (back when it was SCAA!). At the time, the idea of specialty quality Brazil was relatively new to us. However, we soon realized that this collective of medium-large scale farms–utilizing sophisticated farming and processing techniques and investing in full-time QC staff, a well-equipped cupping lab, and their state-of-the-art dry mill–was more than capable of producing high-quality, traceable Brazilian coffee.
Since that time, we source traceable espresso blend components, and we regularly feature individual farm macro- and micro-lots of different varietals and methods of post-harvest processing.
3-5 PM ET
Ethiopia is recognized as the birthplace of coffee and produces some of the world's most complex and exciting coffees. We're delighted to host several partners from Ethiopia, including the NKG Representative Office and Sibu Coffee.
The staff of Sibu Coffee Exporter PLC has been working extensively with Guji farmers in various capacities for over 20 years. The founders of Sibu Coffee were instrumental in establishing some of the first washing stations in the area (technically Borena Zone at the time) under the umbrella of the expansive Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union. To improve market access for their farmers, Sibu Coffee Exporter began operations in 2014, shipping primarily Guji coffees to importers and roasters around the world. Sibu Coffee operates multiple washing stations in the Guji Zone, located in the kebele (villages) of Guracho in the western Kercha district and Dame Dabaye in the Hambela Wamena District. Atlas has been working with washed and natural-process coffees with Sibu since 2015, and both are perennial favorites amongst roasters.
Saturday, April 9
10:30-11:30 AM ET
Costa Rica coffee is a mainstay in the U.S. specialty market, prized for its lively acidity, light body, and delicate aromatics, and often utilized for its consistently high quality. Along with medium-sized estates that have been producing coffee for centuries, a new generation of small estates and "micro-mills" has recently captured the attention of specialty buyers around the world.
We're delighted to host Diego Guardia from CECA, our NKG partner in Costa Rica. He is also a long-term partner of Atlas, milling and exporting single-producer micro-lot coffees. CECA's office in San José houses their trading offices, logistics, and a gorgeous cupping lab. In addition, CECA's wet mill Palmichal supports the processing of micro-lots with new equipment such as blowers for each of the mechanical dryers, a furnace for greater efficiency, new patio space at the micro-mill, a new Penagos pulper for micro-lots, and a new Centriflux for water recirculation and environmental sustainability.
11:30-12:30 PM ET
Atlas began working with La Prosperidad de Chirinos, also known as "Chirinos," in 2016, and we feel fortunate to be working closely with this dedicated and motivated group. Situated in the San Ignacio Province at 1800 meters, Chirinos shares its name with the community it inhabits. Our relationship officially began in 2015 with purchasing a container, several single producer micro-lots, and an experimental double fermented lot. Although Chirinos is one of the larger cooperatives we work with in Peru, they are certainly the most quality-focused. They have made tremendous investments in their lab and quality control training program, both for employees and producer members. Additionally, Chirinos is incredibly invested in social and environmental programs that benefit its more than 800 members. Stop by to learn more from Deisy Santillan, the commercial and export manager.
2-3 PM ET
Abateraninkunga ba Sholi ("Sholi") Cooperative, meaning "Mutual Assistance," is located in Muhanga district, Southern Province, in the center of Rwanda, about halfway between Kigali and Lake Kivu. Established in 2008, Sholi has been producing coffee for nearly a decade, and the Cooperative's name speaks to its members working together to improve their coffee and the greater community. Sholi was born out of a women's association called "Kundwa," which means "love" in Kinyarwanda. Today, nearly half of Sholi's members are women, including two of the five board members. In addition to coffee trees at the farm level (which average ~410 per female member), the women's association has two communal plots for harvesting and producing coffee. The first site has 2,356 trees, and the second has 3,960 trees (as of Feb 2021).
3-4 PM ET
Visionary leader Angele Ciza founded Kalico to work in close partnership with growers so they could process and export Burundi's best coffees. In 2012 she purchased seven washing stations that had been part of the old government-run Sogestal program and has been working to produce high-quality coffee in partnership with growers. The pride and satisfaction Angele and Alex, her son, take in the company comes through in the excitement they have for forging friendships with their buyers.
In addition to a washed community lot, Kalico Mama will also land in June at TGR. As Angele described in 2019, "Kalico Mama is the name of a new brand of coffee that we produce in partnership with ATLAS and is a women-produced coffee. This coffee comes from female farmers (widows, single mothers, and other women). We operate this coffee separately from other coffees delivered to the washing station. The concept behind the new brand is to promote women in the coffee industry, starting from empowering women producers and disabled women. We have made a special bag design to make the coffee unique and visible. A local sewing group of disabled women sews the special bag art. Out of the profit margin we get from the coffee, we will redistribute in a social corporate responsibility way or add extra money on the cherries delivered. We will work with the producers and women on a project that will be beneficial." Here is a short video produced by Kalico Coffee about Kalico Mama.
Sunday, April 10
10:30-11:30 AM ET
Asociación de Productores Ecológicos de Planadas (ASOPEP) was founded in January 2013 in Planadas, Tolima, with the following mission: "To be known as an association that creates opportunities for the personal growth of its members, protects the environment, innovates in commercial business processes and is always in the vanguard of specialty coffee producers worldwide." From our experience working with ASOPEP and their coffees, we can attest that their mission is successful. The 168 member families include 30 families where women are heads of the household and manage the farming operations. Educational capacity-building workshops are at the core of ASOPEP's program to ensure the long-term sustainability of its success. While many coffee-growing countries struggle with keeping young generations interested in coffee production, 30% of ASOPEP's farmer members are between 20 and 30 years old.
Under the leadership of Camilo Enciso Suarez, the reputation of ASOPEP for producing excellent coffee has grown by leaps and bounds since its establishment!
1-2 PM ET
In recent years, Mexico has had difficulty competing with their larger producing neighbors, such as Honduras, who can sell a similar quality coffee at a much lower differential due to their production volume. As a result, Andreas Kussmaul and the team at ECC have been promoting higher quality Mexican coffees and micro-lots to receive better pricing. We enjoyed some exquisite coffees during our last visit, one of which was the best Mexican coffee we've ever tasted.
Exportadora Café California is our export partner for all Mexican coffees, including the upcoming NKG BLOOM coffee from Finca Teresa. In addition, Andreas is the creative force behind Dana Montana, the beloved Atlas profile coffee. We'll wrap up Expo with what is sure to be a fun time with Andreas!