EA are continuing to work with the rural community of Jacutinga, Poco Fundo, this year. Osmar and his family grow exceptional coffee at around 1200m and it is pure joy in a cup so we are roasting it a little lighter and selling it as a special individual origin.
This high altitude coffee has a sweet chocolate taste, with a little fruit and hazelnut.
Keep an eye out for news and updates from farmers and projects in this community.
We had hoped to be out in Cameroon at the end of this year and deepening our relationships with farmers, however that is now not going to be possible. We hope and pray for a swift and peaceful resolution, for the country and it's people. When safe and possible we will continue to support Matti and his fellow farmers.
This is an extract from an email from Matti in Cameroon:
The crisis rapidly turned violent and has taken the country to the brink of civil war. For the past couple of years, the lives of millions of Cameroonians living in the English-speaking regions of the country (where this crisis is unfolding) have been seriously disrupted; thousands have been killed or seriously injured, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, schools at all levels of education have been closed, villages and towns attacked …
It is not easy to explain how a seemingly peaceful country like Cameroon can so rapidly be breaking apart...
For those of you who are concerned about our operations and the production of coffee, please be assured that we have placed, and continue to place the safety of our field associates and farmers as our most important consideration when conducting field operations: - In May a military unit on patrol shot at our washing station warehouse at Sho village without warning, hitting a young man in his eye. He lost his eye, but thankfully the bullet did not enter his brain and we are pleased to say that he has since been fitted with a prosthetic eye. - In June the dry mill processing our coffee and neighboring homes and business premises were attacked by the military and many properties were burnt down, including the home of one of the young ladies working on our coffee at the mill; 18 of the young ladies were abducted by the military, but released and returned to their town by the District Administrator - Our export of coffee was interrupted for 4 months, but we have finally moved most of our inventory from the conflict areas and have resumed bagging for export.
I do hope that the Human Rights Watch document will serve as a "wake up call", a reminder that "prevention is better than cure", and that it is not too late for us to add our voices to those saying "NO" to violence and disrespect of the rights and dignity of any human being.
Coffee trees and landscape can look beautiful in many countries but visiting for us isn't just about photos - it's the people, stories and relationships that matter.
We get to check farms for quality and environment; we get to see the workers, but the relationships we form are increasingly becoming special friendships. The stories we are a part of have far more impact than we could have hoped for 11 years ago when we set out on this adventure.
I got back from Brazil only last week and I'm reflecting on the journey with this family – it keeps getting better and better. Not only do they produce great coffee, but their care of workers and environment is testimony to who they are as human beings. When we first bought coffee from Isaltino in 2010, his son Athos worked out the export paperwork and procedure to make it happen. That was the impetus for him to go on and establish his own export business with two others.
Not content with doing well for themselves, off the back of their own success they are helping other farmers, developing speciality coffee and increasing income for others too. With passion for speciality coffee Athos, Demilson and Herico are now looking up, literally 1000ft higher up, into the mountains at Jacutinga, where a small rural community have the potential to produce exceptional coffee if they can just be taught to invest the time in selective harvesting and better processing.
In partnership with them we are now looking at a project to invest in that community, to bring about sustainable incomes, higher standards of living and consistently fantastic coffee.
Travelling is rarely comfortable, but always an adventure, and the scenery can be stunning - check out the photos online.