Integrated value chains in coffee are rare. It means that the farmers who harvest the coffee are also processing, packaging, marketing and selling their product. For the farmer, the price they get for their beans is now the retail price, bringing an average $8 per pound for specialty, organic, fair trade coffee compared to only a few dollars per pound if sold green.
Bringing FECCEG to the SCAA trade show put the Guatemalan brand in front of buyers and retailers looking to carry ethically sourced coffee from farm to bag. As part of NCBA CLUSA’s Cooperative Development Program (CDP), co-op to co-op trade topped $2.6 million in 2015, including facilitated coffee sales from Latin American co-ops to U.S. buyers.
Some buyers, like InterAmerican and Etico, traveled to El Salvador last November on a CDP Co-op to Co-op Trade Project sponsored trip to see how the coffee market is recovering from the rust crisis and to consider future imports. NCBA CLUSA member Pachamama Coffee Co-op, with member-farmers around the world, was also on that trip and is considering expanding their co-op membership to include Salvadoran cooperatives.
With support from NCBA CLUSA’s Coffee Rehabilitation Project, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ernesto Velasquez from El Salvador’s Salvadoran Coffee Council, a government department recently formed for all things coffee, was also able to attend the conference, present and network with importers.
For FECCEG, providing coffee for cupping events, which grade coffee quality, piqued the interest of buyers. By the end of the conference, FECCEG had secured two contracts for 250 sacks of organic and fair trade coffee for sale as far away as Japan, totaling $180,000. FECCEG was also able to present during a Fairtrade USA event and provided coffee during the breaks.
But bringing together 10,000 coffee aficionados can’t be all work and no play. During the event, Pachamama’s top barista took part in the Latte Art Throwdown, where steamed milk poured into espresso is transformed from the delicious to the beautiful.