The Mother of Direct-Trade Coffee

wslogoMark Pendergrast
Issue: September 30, 2016


High in the mountains of southwestern Guatemala, about 5,000 feet above sea level, the coffee cherries of the Manos Campesinas cooperative, not far from the village of Santa Clara, grow on traditional Bourbon and Typica trees. Although the trees do not produce as many cherries as newer hybrids, their coffee is aromatic and rich, bright with tangy acidity, showing hints of melon, cacao and almond, with a satisfying mouthfeel that helps the taste linger.
This coffee is unusual in another way: The beans are roasted and sold by Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (www.pacha.coop), a farmer-owned company based in Sacramento, Calif., that is redefining the scope of "direct-trade" coffee. The term has been abused in the past few years; Gilles Brunner, co-founder of online grower and roaster community Algrano, has called it "an empty label, a meaningless marketing tool." But Pachamama, founded in 2006 by Ohio native and former Peace Corps volunteer Thaleon Tremain, practices authentic direct trade, guiding organic beans from farmer to cup and ensuring all profits flow back to origin, where they're paid out to co-op members and spent on improvements to processing facilities, local schools and medical care.
Currently, the enterprise, named after an Incan fertility goddess, represents some 140,000 coffee-growing families in Guatemala, Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico and Ethiopia. And the coffee's exceptional quality speaks to its meticulous sourcing, processing and roasting.
According to a 2015 financial snapshot provided by the company, Pachamama farmers get about $3 a pound for roasted coffee, and another $6 is returned as profits to the cooperative. Pachamama's board of directors, comprising one spokesperson for each of the five regional member cooperatives, represents the farmers and allocates profits.
Tremain's original concept for Pachamama was a coffee version of popular community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, in which consumers subscribe to regular purchases of produce from local farms. The subscription model is still the company's primary outlet, but now you can also make one-time purchases. The roasted Santa Clara beans cost $19 for 12 ounces, including shipping-a price that compares favorably with those of other specialty roasters such as Counter Culture Coffee and Intelligentsia.
To continue reading, please visit: http://www.winespectator.com/magazine/show/id/53483



APRIL 21, 2011


Rather than buy produce at a store, members of community-supported agriculture programs, known as C.S.A.’s, pick up their vegetables in a neighbor’s garage, right where a local farmer leaves them. This direct grower-to-consumer relationship has become so popular that it has inspired meat and egg C.S.A.’s among Northern California ranchers and farmers, as well as grain C.S.A.’s and even C.S.F.’s — community- supported fisheries — elsewhere.

Last week, the movement made a shift from the locavore to the global withCoffeeCSA.org — the first large-scale coffee C.S.A. The farmer-owned C.S.A., created by the Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, has begun delivering coffee from its members in Mexico, Peru, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Nicaragua to the cups of consumers in this country.

To join the group, which is based in Davis with a roasting plant in San Francisco, a customer can choose between monthly or annual memberships with a specific farm or a farmer-of-the-month subscription. The coffee costs roughly $10 a pound, plus $9.99 in shipping per delivery.

Conventionally, coffee farmers sell their green coffee beans to a broker. From there, the beans go through several hands before they reach retail shelves. In recent years, a small number of roasters in the United States — like Four Barrel in San Francisco — have begun buying their green coffee directly from farms.

But with its online C.S.A. model, farmers in CoffeeCSA.org receive 100 percent of the profits.

“The Internet is a unique opportunity to level the playing field,” said Thaleon Tremain, chief executive of Pachamama and CoffeeCSA.org. “The economic impact is significant.”

Continue Reading at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/us/22bccoffee.html

Thinking out of the box

economistOther companies are pursuing similar strategies. Agrofair, a tropical-fruit distributor based in the Netherlands, is half-owned by producers. It in turn owns a part of Oké USA, which markets Fairtrade bananas in America. Pachamama, a federated co-operative of Latin American coffee growers, has just completed its first year roasting coffee in America. With the help of in-kind loans of green coffee from its members, the firm has not had to solicit outside investors at all. And Coffee Pacifica, a coffee importer that is publicly traded in America, is one-third owned by the Papua New Guinea Coffee Growers Federation, which represents 120,000 farmers. In 2006 the firm's sales doubled to almost $3m in America and Europe.

Continue reading at: http://www.economist.com/node/8966366


Fun, Socially Conscious Gift Ideas for Food Lovers

o-HUFFPOST-facebookWarm a foodie’s heart (and belly) this holiday season with these eco-friendly and beautiful gifts. I’ve included some personal favorites that I use in my own kitchen (and plan on gifting to others), plus a smattering of newly discovered items I covet. Notice how each product on the list tells a story — of artisans, farmers, foodways and families — and in doing so, offers a window into how others may live.

If you’re a regular farmers’ market shopper, chances are you’ve heard about CSAs — community-supported agriculture programs, direct relationships between growers and shoppers.  Until recently, CSAs were typically produce based, but now there are CSAs for seafood, grains, eggs, meat — and most recently, coffee.  Enter CoffeeCSA.org, an farmer-owned enterprise run by a California-based cooperative that represents 140,000-some coffee farmers in Ethiopia, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.  The beans are organic and Fair Trade certified and roasted in California. Upon visiting the site, you pick the farmer you want to buy from and choose the level of pre-paid commitment, from one month to one year. The farmer receives 100 percent of the profits. Three monthly deliveries start at $78.99, which includes shipping.

Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/socially-conscious-foodie-gifts_b_1146429


Pachamama Coffee Cooperative: A Locally Based Model Goes Global

logo-wb-header-enDevelopment Marketplace winner Pachamama Coffee Cooperative (PCC) was featured in the New York Times not too long ago. Its newest initiative CoffeeCSA.org found its roots in humble beginnings. Springing from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement which began in the 1960’s in Switzerland, consumers receive their produce directly from the farmer through a household subscription paid for in advance. Then on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, the consumer cum subscriber receives a portion of the overall harvest.

Continue reading at: http://blogs.worldbank.org/category/tags/pachamama-coffee-cooperative

Vertical Integration in the Coffee Supply Chain: Pachamama Coffee Cooperative

logo-chronicleBy Maria Hill

In recent years, the specialty coffee industry has actively focused on the producer. There are two major issues the industry faces when it comes to empowering the farmer: coffee prices are determined by the commodities market and the farmer is far removed from the consumer. In response to these obstacles, several new types of coffee company have emerged that are vertically integrated. I had the pleasure of interviewing Thaleon Tremain, founder of Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, an example of the vertical model, about how his company is helping to put the producer first.

How Pachamama Got Started

Tremain spent two years in the Peace Corp that took him to Bolivia and exposed him to bean, pork, and orange small-hold farmers. He quickly realized that farmers take the most risk for the least income. Through his work, he decided that his passion was to learn more about business structures, so he could help empower these small farmers. Tremain returned to the U.S., where he earned an M.B.A. and met future business partner Nick Brown. At that time, Fair Trade was just starting to take off, and consumers were looking for a more direct transaction with farmers. The two started exploring the idea of a coffee co-op where farmers actually owned the brand. In order for the concept to work, it would require the involvement and support of the farmers, so Tremain and Brown reached out to several leaders in Latin America and found a co-founder partnership in Raúl del Aguila, who was head of the Peru coffee cooperative COCLA. The first official meeting of the Pachamama Coffee Cooperative happened at the 2003 SCAA conference in Boston, Massachusetts, where a room crowded with coffee farmers decided to launch the brand. The vision was to create a global coop brand that farmers own and control. It would focus on a direct connection to consumers. The closer the farmers are to the consumer the more money they make.

Vertical Integration in the Coffee Supply Chain: Pachamama Coffee Cooperative



A coffee CSA brings java to your door

logo-smallThe package sits by the mailbox, its aromatic contents promising a richly flavored, caffeinated start to the day.

Anyone can get his java delivered from Starbucks or Peet's, but this particular box has a different, very specific provenance. These coffee beans have traveled from Meliya Ame's four-acre farm in Ethiopia, with only one small detour: a San Francisco coffee roaster who toasted the still-green beans to order, then sped the delivery to one of the "investors" in Ame's family farm -- a cup of joe for a regular Joe.

Nothing's terribly new about CSAs -- or community supported agriculture -- in this brave new world of origin-conscious, eco-friendly gourmets. In typical CSA arrangements, small farms send their subscribers regular deliveries of locally grown produce, farm fresh eggs or humanely raised meats. For the farmer, subscriptions offer financial stability.

Until now, CSAs have been all about local food. Now, they've been joined by small coffee farms from half a world away: members of the Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, a collective of tiny family farms in Africa and Central America, which has launched a CoffeeCSA based in Davis with roasting facilities in the Bay Area. Organized by Pachamama general manager Thaleon Tremain, the CoffeeCSA is the first of its kind.

By Lou Fancher

Continue reading at: http://www.mercurynews.com/food-wine/ci_18121919


Farmer-Owned Coffee Coop Merges with Online Coffee Marketplace

logoThis press release is presented without editing for your information. The Utne Reader editorial staff does not recommend, approve or endorse the products and/or services offered. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.  

The Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, a farmer-owned distributor of premium coffee, recently announced its merger with Farm to Cup, Inc., an online coffee marketplace founded in 2011 by three classmates at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Pachamama Coffee, founded in 2001 and based in Sacramento, California, is the hub of a worldwide collaborative of 140,000 coffee farmers that brand and distribute their best coffee directly to consumers. This direct relationship provides consumers with access to high quality coffee and compensates farmers with the retail price of coffee–giving farmers and consumers control over the entire supply chain.
“For coffee farmers in Ethiopia and other coffee-producing countries to improve their standard of living and continue to grow this luxury product, a larger percentage of the retail dollar needs to reach those farmers,” said Tadesse Meskela, manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia and a member of Pachamama’s board of directors.

Continue reading at: http://www.utne.com/environment/coffee-coop-merges-with-online-coffee-marketplace.aspx


A Grassroots Student Effort Now Has Even More Impact


This article was originally published by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Their mission has been to disrupt the coffee industry by providing the most direct connection to growers and to empower every participant in the supply chain. In 2011, three intrepid Stanford MBAs launched Farm to Cup as an online coffee marketplace for farmers to sell their coffee directly to American consumers. After more than a year of growth, last December they merged their enterprise with Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, a farmer-owned distributor of premium coffee, which will allow that organization to accelerate its growth in the online farmer-direct coffee market in North America.

“We’ve been all about partnership from day one, so joining forces with Pachamama, which has an open and collaborative business model, made sense to us,” says Caroline Mullen, MBA ’12, who co-founded Farm to Cup with her twin sister Catha, MBA ’13, and Monica Lewis, MBA ’12, while they were all still in school.

“Pachamama is 100 percent farmer owned,” Caroline emphasizes. “Their boardroom is filled with farmers. They’re making a real impact on the ground in terms of empowering people who work the land with what is really an innovative economic framework. Their model represents the wave of the future, and so we saw them as the ideal organization for us to team up with.”

It was on a trip to Guatemala with the Stanford Center for Social Innovation that the trio was inspired to help farmers to take greater control of their economic lives by fostering an online link between coffee farmers and consumers. The “ah ha” moment came traveling between farms, when they realized that each farmers’ coffee was unique and that they lacked an easy way to market this. “I began to think of all the intermediaries in the supply chain that extract value from the coffee, and then I began to think of how sites like eBay connect the buyer and seller directly,” says Lewis, the organization’s CEO, who worked in the sustainable development arena at the global consulting firm Arup before coming to Stanford. Farm to Cup’s online platform was created to give the consumer the chance to “travel to coffee’s origin” and buy directly from coffee farms.

Upon returning to Stanford, Lewis shared the idea with Michael Dearing, former senior VP of eBay, and Perry Klebahn, former head of sales and marketing of Patagonia and CEO of Timbuk2, both faculty consultants to an entrepreneurism course at the Stanford Design School. “They enthusiastically told me to go for it,” says Lewis, who promptly enlisted the Mullens in forming the enterprise.

– Marguerite Rigoglioso

Green Economy Coalition

pachamama coffee (glimpse)Pachamama is a unique company founded in 2001. It is a cooperative owned by more than 150,000 coffee farmers around the world, which is democratically-controlled and owned by its members, producer-groups representing small-scale coffee farmers around the world. It has more than 8,500 family farmers in Peru, 2,300 family farmers in Nicaragua, more than 1,100 family farmers in Guatemala, some 1,950 family farmers in Mexico and 135,000 in Ethiopia. It provides customers with premium coffee in the most direct manner possible and, in doing so, helps improve the lives of small-scale farmers and their families.

Continue reading at: http://www.greeneconomycoalition.org/know-how/pachamama-coffee-cooperative



NCBA CLUSA Member returns to Africa for another Farmer-to-Farmer assignment

mollie feni coop 500 a0e59[Mollie Moisan, far left, joined the Feni Multipurpose Cooperative Society during her recent Farmer-to-Farmer assignment in Zambia.]Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers continue to return to the program again and again. This past month, Mollie Moisan, Director of Cooperative Development for NCBA CLUSA member Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, flew to Zambia for her second assignment through NCBA CLUSA’s Farmer-to-Farmer program. Building on work from previous NCBA CLUSA member volunteers who helped to form the Chipata Farmers Cooperative, she assisted the group in opening a bank account and even joined another co-op herself.

After her first assignment last August in Senegal, Moisan facilitated trainings for smallholder farmers in cooperative enterprise development and marketing in Zambia. She worked with Chipata District Farmers Association (CDFA) and three of its member cooperatives, including Chipata Farmers Cooperative—which NCBA CLUSA and CDFA helped establish in 2012 during another volunteer’s assignment—Feni Multipurpose Cooperative Society, and Mwende Cooperative.

Read the full article here: http://www.ncba.coop/ncba-media/press-releases/1395-ncba-clusa-member-returns-to-africa-for-another-farmer-to-farmer-assignment

Sacramento Cooperative Serves as Coffee CSA Storefront

Daily-Coffee-News-LogoA new Sacramento, Calif., coffee company is hoping to survive using a simple but appealing business model — selling beans as a community supported agriculture (known as CSA) storefront.

With no cafe or in-house roasting, Pacha Coffee, located in Midtown Alley, boasts of selling 100 percent “farmer-owned” beans to its customers. According to numerous reports, the cooperative business sells the beans, which are roasted in nearby Fort Bragg, and returns the profits to the coffee farms from which they came.

Sacramento Bee food writer Blair Anthony Robertson suggests the coffee coop is the latest in a series of community-minded coffee businesses that have served to revitalize Sacramento’s specialty coffee scene:

Continue reading at: http://dailycoffeenews.com/2012/06/11/sacramento-cooperative-serves-as-coffee-csa-storefront/

Pachamama coffee chosen in blind tasting to serve at TED Conference

NCBA_Logo_SMNCBA CLUSA member and global cooperative Pachamama Coffee—the only U.S. coffee brand 100 percent owned by smallholder farmers—is partnering with the flagship conference behind the popular TED Talks. Pachamama's Yirgacheffe Gedeb, a single-origin coffee from Ethiopia, was selected by a panel of experts in a blind tasting to serve at this week's TED2016: Dream, a conference to stimulate conversations and innovation around technology, entertainment and design meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. Pachamama is honored by the selection, which marks the first time that TED has partnered with cooperative coffee farmers.

“Coffee offerings at TED are curated internationally by a panel of experts, so it is a great honor and a validation that we are creating value for Pachamama's farmer-owners,” said Thaleon Tremain, co-founder and CEO of Pachamama.  

In addition to its coffee being served during the week-long conference, Pachamama’s Manager of Cafe Operations Cruz Conrad will attend the event as a guest barista. Conrad is among a group of baristas who are serving the world's finest coffees throughout the conference.

Continue reading at: https://www.ncba.coop/press-releases/1347-pachamama-coffee-served-at-ted-2016-conference

Pachamama launches East Sac coffee cafe and midtown roastery

logo-lgAs Sacramento’s reputation for specialty coffee continues to brew, one of its local purveyors is expanding.

Pachamama Coffee Cooperative, the midtown Sacramento co-op that works with small growers in five countries, recently installed its first local coffee bean roaster. And in August, Pachamama will open its third coffee cafe, on 36th and J Street in East Sacramento.

For Pachamama’s co-founder and CEO Thaleon Tremain, the new roaster – a polished, black and chrome Ambex with a 66-pound roasting capacity – is “a defining piece of the puzzle” in the company’s business model. Until recently Pachamama had outsourced its green coffee bean roasting to other local roasters, including Sacramento-based Coffee Works.

“We control our coffee every step of the way now,” said Tremain. “We grow, we import, we roast, we package, we sell.”

The new roaster, which cost roughly $35,000, also means Pachamama can compete on a new level with Sacramento’s specialty coffee celebrities, including Temple, Insight, Old Soul and Naked.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article25612399.html#storylink=cpy

CoffeeCSA Connects Farmers and Coffee Drinkers

kitchnLooking for fresh-roasted, organic, fair trade coffee that you can truly trace back to the farmer? Through a new coffee CSA – aptly named CoffeeCSA – you can support small-scale farmers in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Peru and Mexico and get your share of the harvest every month of the year.

CoffeeCSA is a project of Pachamama, an international collective of 100% farmer-owned and controlled cooperatives. Its 140,000 small-scale farmers produce coffee that's shade grown, certified organic, fair trade and traceable.

Farmers deliver the coffee to their local cooperatives, which then ship to CoffeeCSA's roaster in California. From there, the beans are mailed directly to CSA subscribers, who can choose to support a specific grower or a CSA-selected farmer-of-the-month. (Subscribers who live in Davis, Calif., can pick up their share at the farmers' market; CoffeeCSA plans to establish other pick-up sites in the future.)

Continue reading at: http://www.thekitchn.com/coffeecsa-connects-farmers-and-149940