Early on we made a decision to work with some great importers on the ground in a number of different countries. Even if we wanted to source all our coffee directly with no supply chain support it’s hard to develop the skills to roast and produce great coffee AND have a team with the skills and on-the-ground support for farms all over the globe. By partnering with experts in ethical sourcing with the infrastructure in each country to support each small farm and the ability to commit to buying a farms full harvest we’re able to operate in a more ethical way than if it was just us buying coffee directly from all the farms we work with. This means, we can support a farms commitment to great tasting coffees even if they yield less, in turn, this means farmers are incentivised to pay their team more for picking and processing with more attention to detail which translates into a better coffee in your favourite mug.
Organic, specialty coffees also have a guaranteed level of ethics traced to the source, but, because everyone in the supply chain has to pay for certification this isn’t always the best solution for some of the smaller farms we work with. In these cases, even though the farm applies sustainable farming techniques, the resulting coffee would be more expensive than a non-organic coffee of the same quality from their farm. It does depend on the region but in a lot of cases, the organic coffees we source are from cooperatives of small farms who have joined together to make the certification a more cost-effective measure.
Much like a small winery, it’s great to be able to showcase the farmer’s dedication to their coffee from soil management throughout the year all the way to harvesting and processing. You can have coffees that do the basics but really, really well – the chocolate, nutty, and biscuit notes. You can also have coffees that have unexpected flavours of milkshake, bubblegum, or candyfloss. We love them all!
A ‘single origin’ coffee just means it’s from one region, this can be a washing station (for processing coffee cherries) or cooperative but in most cases what we actually mean is a ‘single estate’ coffee that comes from one small farm. All of our ‘single origin’ coffee taste cards and some labels actually have the contours lines of the farm or washing station to showcase the traceability directly back to each farm. Although we can’t do this from a design perspective for our blends (these showcase the contour lines of our Dartmoor roastery) with each blend you’ll be able to see exactly where the coffees are from on the accompanying taste card. If you have one of our coffees without the taste card, you can see all the information here.
Our blends are comprised of between two and four coffees and are created to achieve a ‘flavour profile’ or certain taste. The actual coffees in our house blend – Native – to our exploratory blend – Nomad change with the seasons to maintain the same flavour profile. If we didn’t change the coffees, each year the coffee might start to taste different depending on each farm’s harvest.