The Terroir Project
One of the major problems facing coffee producers is a cycle of debt. Many farmers take loans on fertilizer, labor for picking and milling, and various other things. By the time their coffee is harvested and sold they can be too far in the hole to make it out that season. And so it continues. In most countries coffee is only harvested once a year, leaving a long time between pay days.
Coffee farms are unique microcosms that often encompass varying elevations and house multiple agricultural products. As we travel sourcing coffee we see so many beautiful things on farms- things like apiaries, flowers, and fruits. Many producers sell or trade these products in the local markets (or they eat them!) We began to wonder what would happen if a larger market was created for these things producers were already doing. Perhaps it could be both delicious and create a new revenue stream for producers.
This desire grew into Terroir. Terroir itself means land, and this project is designed to explore the land shared by coffee and other agricultural products. Shared ground in some cases highlights shared flavor, a beautiful picture of the way our world was designed to work together. In much the same way Terroir seeks to find common ground, to unite, and to create within the relationships along the chain of command that is coffee- from the producers hands into yours.
There are a lot of similarities between cacao and coffee- picking, processing, fermenting. One of the great things that sets them apart is that cacao grows at lower altitudes. This allows for cacao to be grown in places where coffee is not-sometimes in different regions but often on different parts of the same farm. This intercropping potential is something we are seeking to cultivate amongst producers we know. We are also sourcing cacao through importers and exporters alike from regions where we are already sourcing coffee.
Coffee and chocolate are two things that we love to share with others, and as we began to put them together it became clear that they shared not only terroir but also flavor. Terroir Coffee Chocolate is a dance of two different fruits that encompass a world of flavor and represents a cultivation of relationships between us, the farmer, and everyone in between. Currently focusing on Colombia, Guatemala, and Uganda.
Coffee Blossom Honey
Apiaries are common on coffee farms as bees contribute greatly to pollination of coffee blossoms and provide food and potential income for producers. This honey exhibits beautiful, floral characteristics. We’ve been buying coffee from the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala for the last four years. We tasted their honey and were blown away. On Jorge Mendez’s farm, Finca El Apiario, the honey was simply being eaten. With the help of Guatemala importing friends Blake and Edwin, we bring you this honey that shares both ground and coffee blossom with our coffee. This is an exciting new revenue stream for Jorge Mendez.
We want the scope of Terroir to continue to grow. Currently we are thinking about coffee blossom tea, cascara (tea made from the coffee cherry), sugar cane, and various other products.