Crimson Cup Makes 3-Year Commitment to Coffee Farmers in Olopa, Guatemala through Friend2Farmer Direct Trade Program

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Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has signed a 3-year purchase agreement with a small co-op of Guatemalan coffee farmers. The multi-year agreement through the roaster's Friend2Farmer direct trade program will provide stability and additional funds for the farmers and their local community.

Coffee farmers from Olopa, Guatemala cup coffee in the Crimson Cup Innovation Lab

Coffee farmers from Olopa, Guatemala cup coffee in the Crimson Cup Innovation Lab

At Crimson Cup, direct trade means that a member of our team has traveled to the coffee-growing region and signed an agreement directly with a farmer or growing cooperative, rather than working through a coffee broker.

Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has committed to purchasing coffee from a small cooperative of farmers in Olopa, Guatemala for the next three years. Negotiated through the roaster’s Friend2Farmer direct trade program, the purchase agreement will provide stability and additional funds for the farmers and their local community.

Standard coffee industry practice is to purchase coffee annually after tasting the current crop. Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert said he agreed to the longer contract after visiting the community in the Chiquimula department of eastern Guatemala and learning about their needs. Crimson Cup committed to buy two containers of coffee each year, paying a premium above the current-market price to give farmers additional funds to invest in their community.

“Instability in the coffee market was leading some of the 64 coffee-growing families in the Asociacion de Productores de Café de Olopa (Apolo) co-op to consider abandoning the crop that had been their livelihood for over 80 years,” he said. “We believe our three-year commitment will give co-op members the confidence and cash flow they need to invest in agricultural improvements and their local community.”

The agreement was signed during a recent trip to Columbus by Apolo President Arnoldo Cardona, Vice President Alvaro Lemus and Member Eric Ramos. The co-op leaders cupped coffee at Crimson Cup’s Innovation Lab, met with students at the Connecting Grounds café on the Ohio State University Campus and toured the Crimson Cup Coffee House in Upper Arlington.

“We were the first American roaster to visit the community of Olopa in 2015,” said Coffee Buyer Dave Eldridge. “It was a great pleasure to show Arnoldo, Alvaro and Eric around our Columbus coffee operations so that they could see how their coffee is roasted and sold to consumers.”

Apolo co-op members harvest Guatemalan Olopa coffee from Catuai, Acturra and Bourbon varietals growing at 4,900 feet. The beans are fully washed and patio dried. After a medium roast at the Crimson Cup roasting facility, the beans produce a remarkably clean cup, with chocolate fragrance, silky body and pleasing acidity. Tasting notes of brown sugar, caramel and toast round out the sensory experience.

Ubert noted that there is no universally accepted definition of direct trade in the specialty coffee industry. “At Crimson Cup, direct trade means that a member of our team has traveled to the coffee-growing region and signed an agreement directly with a farmer or growing cooperative, rather than working through a coffee broker,” he said. “Through our Friend2Farmer program, we go even further by investing time and money to improve coffee quality and quality of life in the community. We make recurring visits to make friends, strengthen relationships and help fund local schools and other life-enriching projects.”

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea is Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year. Since 1991, Crimson Cup has roasted sustainably sourced specialty and craft coffee in small batches. The company also teaches entrepreneurs to run successful coffee houses through its coffee franchise alternative program, which includes a coffee shop business plan. Crimson Cup coffee is available through a community of more than 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations across 29 states, Guam and Bangladesh, as well as the company’s own Crimson Cup Coffee Houses. To learn more, visit crimsoncup.com.

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Cheryl Claypoole
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