Buddy Brew and La Palma Y El Tucan
Please check out our shop page here. You can buy this particular coffee here. For instructions on how to brew click here and for video tutorials check us out here. Be sure to come back to this post if you click away to learn a little about this amazing company you are supporting.
The Start of Something Great
Colombia is a truly beautiful country. It is and always has been one of our favorite origins for coffee. We love the people, the community, the food, and the amazing coffee companies striving to make a difference there. I (Cassidy, the web guy) have a personal bias and connection with Colombia since my father is a first generation immigrant from Colombia. That being said there are some amazing changes going on in Colombia that the world should know about.
The nation as a whole has grown so much over the past 30 years. They have gone from one of the most dangerous places in the world to a place that has become a safe tourist destination for people all over the world to come and see. The community shows gratitude to its visitors like no other. The tourists are treated like family, the environment is respected like it is sacred, and the families have some of the strongest ties I have ever witnessed.
One of the countries most recent endeavors has been the focus on specialty coffee. They are focused on not only the coffee, but the farmers as well. For generations companies have taken advantage of the lack of access these farmers have to buyers and pay them whatever they deem “enough”. In the past farmers had no incentive to produce quality coffee; all they knew was quantity. Now that places like La Palma y El Tucan exist (and an amazing company that deserves a shout out since they originally brought us to Colombia for the first time, Royal Coffee Importers) these farmers have the chance to be treated fairly and receive the price they deserve for providing the world with it’s second most important commodity (Let’s be honest we all prefer coffee to oil so let’s just call it our most important commodity).
Enough about my personal feelings about Colombia, let me tell you a little about this amazing company and the changes that they are bringing to Colombia and the world of coffee. They are an inspiration and are setting amazing standards for generations to come.
There is a lot that goes into specialty coffee that is far more important than finding the best cup in the world. It is also about fair and direct trade. It is about providing equal opportunity to all farmers, whether they produce 100 pounds of coffee or 1,000,000 pounds of coffee. La Palma y El Tucan has taken this idea one step further.
Let’s start with education. They provide farmers with the knowledge and expertise to provide a high quality coffee for our ever developing and growing demand of coffee. They employ agronomists to help the farmers learn about soil and all plants in general. The farmers now have the capability and knowledge to pass along to their children to forever keep producing high quality specialty coffee. They also provide some of the most technologically advanced processing centers for coffee in the world. They employ scientists in all fields to help them to create excellent cups of coffee. So much can go wrong in processing coffee. Providing this service to farmers gives them the potential for a larger yield of coffee as well as a much higher chance to succeed and create a quality bean. Not only do they provide education and amazing facilities to these farmers, but they also connect them to international buyers. Their entire facility was created as a haven for people looking to learn more about coffee and to find amazing coffees.
“We can’t help ourselves. We imagine a better world, with better coffee and better practices. And for as long as “better” exists, we have made this our calling.” – The Founders of La Palma Y El Tucan.
The average grower in their network is over 60 years old. Coffee’s slow maturation and market volatility discourages younger generations from maintaining legacy farms, often times seeking new opportunity in cities like Bogota (with little success). If future generations are going to continue their legacy, it has to make economic sense. The following are some of the things that La Palma offer to their producing partners:
- They pay over 50% more than the country´s price average
- They guarantee above-fair-trade price minimum
- They train local cherry pickers in high-quality coffee harvesting methods
- They provide transportation of their coffee
- They donate coffee trees raised in their nursery
- They give back organic fertilizers made at their farm from their coffee cherry pulp
Environment and The Name
“Sustainability is a popular buzzword in coffee, and the industry as a whole continues to set a good example of better, more conscious practices throughout the supply chain. We know that sustainability needs to be a pillar in all that we do, but this can still be an elusive concept for many, often driven by emotions more than facts. The world is better with coffee in it.” – The Founders of La Palma Y El Tucan.
Well I don’t think anyone can disagree with this statement. I can’t sum up their opinions better than that so here is a little more of what they are doing as far as sustainability goes:
“Financial and technical support are paramount to sustaining our coffee-growing families, but still you cannot eat money or even coffee! To further address lapses in sustainability, we’ve demarcated 6700m2 for our Agroforestry project. Simply put, agroforestry is an intentional integration of farming with the surrounding natural environment. In this instance, we are growing coffee next to a wide range of crops (such as beans, corn, and bananas) amongst perennial species like cedar, avocado, walnut, and guayacan.
This is all done organically, to further decrease the need for inputs. With this model, we hope to be able to share with our neighbors a means to better support themselves and their families financially and nutritionally, while leaving the land enriched and viable for generations to come.
When we first set foot on what would become our land for growing specialty coffee, we invited a biologist to scour the terrain and to help us identify native flora and fauna. During the visit, we discovered that we had two rare species cohabiting the farm: the Emerald Toucan and the endangered Wax Palm. The fruit of the Wax Palm is an important source of food for the Emerald Toucan, and thusly the Toucan spreads the Palm’s seeds. The two are meant to be. But both species are challenged by habitat loss, which sadly is oftentimes driven by coffee plantations.
We would rather be a part of the solution than the problem. We’re starting with two initiatives:
- Establishing Wax Palm nurseries and donating trees to the community, starting with coffee growers that are part of our relationship program
- Reforestation with native trees in strategic areas to provide vital native habitat for wildlife, especially the toucan.
We strongly believe that some things are meant to be, and will do our very best to keep it that way.” – The Founders, La Palma y El Tucan
“At La Palma y El Tucan, we are very curious. Our curiosity drives us to challenge the status quo in all that we do. And when the status quo is no longer good enough, exciting possibilities emerge.” – La Palma y El Tucan.
This statement is originally what brought Buddy Brew and La Palma together. We were fascinated in the technology they were introducing to the coffee world. They were investing in new methods of processing and producing which bring out some of the most unique and amazing flavors possible in coffee. They are doing tests on varietals of coffee and even trying make them better!
“We are very proud to be Colombian, and to be a part of such a rich coffee-growing tradition. But how do we embrace this tradition while obeying our very curious nature? We have planted our farm with the most exotic coffee varietals available. With the utmost care and attention to detail, we cultivate and process these coffees to be only the most extraordinary and rare. We are thrilled that in 2015 our first microlots of Geisha, SL-28, Sidra and Typica will be available to those roasters who are in search of what has yet to be discovered.” The Founders, La Palma y El Tucan
I probably could have included this under community, but I really want to emphasize the love that they have for their farmers and community in general. Please visit their site to learn more about every individual farmer they work with and check out this gallery to see the faces of the amazing people who work so hard for you to have delicious coffee! Without these proud people we would not be able to enjoy the amazing coffee and comforts that we enjoy everyday. They call this section their “love and care” section. Again, the founders of La Palma y El Tucan put it best:
“We will always insist on quality, and we will never forsake community. If one is without the other, then nothing is gained.”
“As the first seeds were being sown on our farm, we reached out to over 200 coffee-growing families in our area. Once we better understood the challenges they were facing, we could see a clear opportunity for all. The producers in our region have limited market-access and little incentive for quality beyond quantity. In turn, they receive a standard price for a standard product. By working with our neighbors on better farm practices, using our team of specially-trained pickers, and by processing their coffee at our state-of-the-art wet mill, we can elevate their coffee to a quality level and market before unreachable. By way of our proprietary processing methods, the result is a limited collection of microlots as unique and special as the people that grow them, the people that roast them, and the people that enjoy them.” – The Founders, La Palma y El Tucan
To buy this coffee click here and to learn more about this amazing company and everything they are doing click here. We appreciate you taking the time to read this long rant, but we are so proud to be working with a company that really embodies what we believe here at Buddy Brew and we want our customers to be proud to support them! So next time you are purchasing a bag of coffee remember that companies like this exist and you are paying to show them your appreciation. You are paying to sponsor the continued practice of fair treatment for not only the farmers of Colombia, but for all of humanity.