Specialty raw materials at Buencafé are worth it
One of the main features of the Buencafé products is that they are made of 100% Colombian Arabica coffee, a seal of guarantee in terms of quality, flavor and aroma. Another attribute of the Buencafé freeze-dried soluble coffee is the full backing of Colombian coffee institutions, adding value to coffee farmers and following sustainability policies in all processes.
All these attributes are very appreciated by today’s consumers, who every day are increasingly informed about issues in the world of coffee, like to know every detail about origin and processes of coffee reaching their cups, and are willing to pay more as long as this benefit goes directly to producers. Based on this concept, specialty coffee has arisen, becoming increasingly important in the international market.
The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has classified specialty coffee into three categories:
– Origin coffee: Specialty coffee coming from a specific region or farm, with unique qualities because it is grown in unique locations. This coffee is usually sold to final consumers without being blended with other qualities or coffee from other origins.
– Sustainable coffee: This specialty coffee category involves strict supervision over social, environmental and economic factors associated with coffee production to ensure the future of people and communities that grow it. Sustainable coffee implies certification processes and/or compliance with codes of conduct.
– Preparation coffee: This specialty coffee has a specialty appearance for its size and shape, which makes it desirable in the international market.
All of these categories can be combined to achieve unique products for customers wanting to develop a highly sophisticated portfolio.
Buencafé is also a supplier of products made of specialty raw materials in the category of Sustainable Coffee (which involves certification processes). These raw materials are used to produce freeze-dried coffee with differentiated attributes that are valued by buyers and consumers.
Buencafé uses mainly specialty raw materials with the following certifications:
- FairTrade: It ensures the payment of a fair price for agricultural products that have been purchased directly from smallholder producers. In addition, it ensures compliance with decent working conditions, better social conditions, and long-term relations, among others.
- Organic: Its main characteristic is coffee farming and production using only natural resources as much as possible, avoiding use of chemical or synthetic agents.
- Rainforest Alliance: It is a social and environmental management system that promotes conservation of ecosystems, protection of wildlife, integrated waste management, and good work conditions, among other environmental issues.
- UTZ: It is a global certification program that sets standards for responsible agricultural production and supply. UTZ, which means “good” in Maya language, assures coffee production of social and environmental quality.
>> You might also want to read “Certifications granted to Buencafé are a seal of guarantee and reassurance for our customers”
Coffee growers, protagonists in production of specialty raw materials
Specialty raw materials are produced in compliance with environmental and social criteria defined by each certification program; usually what is sought is social equity, recognition of best work conditions, and child labor prohibition, as well as protection of water sources, reduced use of agrochemicals and conservation of native species.
In this sense, Buencafé understands, with conviction, the need to preserve resources of its beautiful region for future generations and reaffirms its commitment to work for well-being and better quality of life of Colombian coffee growers. That is why all its raw material, in particular the specialty one, is purchased from producers through the Cooperatives of Coffee Growers in different Colombian regions, promoting their economic development while procuring coffee of the best quality.
With the purchase of these specialty raw materials, customers and consumers help reduce poverty and improve quality of producers’ lives, as they receive benefits such as stable prices and premiums, among others.
In general, specialty raw materials have prices higher than those of standard raw material, in order to reward the efforts of coffee growers who meet standards defined by each initiative.
“In the case of FairTrade, the certification has two economic criteria for coffee growers. The first criterion is minimum price and means that the producer group is paid $1.40/lb of green coffee, that is, if coffee on the NYSE trades at $1.20/lb, the FairTrade raw material is paid at $1.40/lb. The second criterion is called Social Premium, in which 20 ¢ is transferred to the producer group per each pound of green coffee that enters the production process. The resources go to an account that is audited by the certifying body and must be invested in works that impact well-being of communities,” explains Angela Giraldo, the Buencafé Logistics and Distribution Coordinator.
For organic raw materials, the coffee farmer is awarded an additional 30 ¢/lb. So if it is organic FairTrade coffee, at the end you pay a basic price + social premium + organic premium, that is, $1.90/lb.
When raw material has the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certifications, additional premiums are paid at the moment of purchase.
“At Buencafé, in the last 5 years, the use of specialty raw materials has showed an important growth, from 12,000 bags of specialty raw materials processed in 2013 to 50,000 bags in 2017,” Giraldo pointed out.
All efforts in coffee farming are valued, and producers have seen the results of their hard work reflected in investments that improve their quality of life and productivity of crops. That’s why one of Buencafé’s goals is to encourage producer groups to have several certifications for the same crop, such as a FairTrade and Rainforest, which would give greater value to coffee, thus improving income of growers.