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Building relationships with Vanuatu Coffee Farmers

Posted by Rosa Friend on


Our coffee team visited Tanna Island, Vanuatu to meet with the Middle Bush Chief and his community of small-holder coffee farmers. This opportunity was made possible by Nasi Tuan, an NGO (Non governmental organisation), funded by the New Zealand government to assist the not for profit, Taloa Coffee co-operative.

August 2017 | Tanna Island Vanuatu

Coffee is a focal crop, which is grown together with taro, ginger, bananas and other rich tropical fruits. This self sufficient island nation has been battered by major cyclones over the years (Cyclone Pam devastated most of the south-west agriculture and more). Ongoing restrictions surrounding logistics and trading relationships make it challenging to bring their quality products to the international market. Like many coffee growing nations, farmers rarely have the opportunity to drink their own coffee. In most cases, they have limited access to new techniques or processes and traditional farming techniques are applied in farms that are hard to reach. The highly fertile volcanic soils in the heart of this wonderful island, sheltered by coastal winds and with multiple spring water wells nearby, help grow the preferred Dwaft Catimor Coffee varietal at altitudes of 600m. We had the opportunity to evaluate part of the 8 ton of coffee parchment that was produced in 2017. We selected the best grade available, screen 18 and purchased all 2.8 tons on offer. Our team was ceremonially welcomed by the Middle Bush Chief. While we harvested cherries alongside farmers, our team provided feedback on the quality of coffee we are looking to buy. Alongside Nasi Tuan, we worked on building a key relationship to ensure future crops harvested only handpicked the ripest possible cherries to reach the premium price on offer. We also educated farmers to reduce damage caused to the plants from malpractice traditions and ensured new seedlings were placed accordingly to assist better growth and yield.

Tanna Island, Vanuatu

September 2018 | Shed 13, Wellington

Our new crop coffee from Taloa Coffee has arrived! On the green bean evaluation, the evenness in moisture across the screen sizes, uniformity, limited defects and clean odor resembled coffees from more established origins. This suggests the team at Taloa Coffee and farming communities visited took on board suggestions and guidance provided by one of three Q Graders of Mojo Coffee and NZ coffee procurer, Massimo Capellino. We received 4 samples of 4 different screen sizes, which our team at The Beanery sample roasted so we could cup and evaluate them. Results - OUTSTANDING!!! They were very clean coffees with well-rounded body, light tangerine and citrus notes with a balanced acidity. We were very pleased with the results and have ordered the approved lots for 2019 Dr Mojo's Medicine blend. Around 9 tons of Taloa Coffee will be de-parched and dispatched in months to come with an estimated value of just under $11 NZD p/kg. On average, coffee prices sit around $8 NZD in most kiwi blends. We are committed to improving the value of Vanuatu coffee by paying a premium to the communities working hard to rebuild their coffee industry. Our quest to build a long-term relationship with our closest coffee growing nation is one we will never step away from. Our ethos towards sustainable practices, quality assurance and traceable coffee sourcing are measures we feel proud of.