It’s extremely rewarding for us to see the impact this project has on the people living in Fogo. Going from an industry which was slowly dying to see the growers take pride in their product again.
Cape Verde has a 300 year old history in growing coffee. However, when we first went there the coffee industry was on its way out. With perfect conditions for growing specialty coffee, we saw potential. Acting on our instincts, we set up project proposals and through that have been able to work with the growers to bring it back to life.
Part of getting the coffee industry in Fogo back on its feet, was to offer modern tools to be able to compete. This includes knowledge, financing, certification and equipment. For example, we introduced eco-pulpers to the growers, resulting in the first ever produced washed coffee from Cape Verde. Other products we provided them with were African drying beds, wet mills and a dry mill. Not only that but we also invest in the growers, through training and by paying more for the coffee they produce than anyone else. We even managed to negotiate with some of the growers to buy the red cherry instead of the dried cherry. This was challenging as it includes a weight conversion. Challenges included, this project reflects our vision of doing everything we can to make a difference and come out the other end with great coffee.
All of these techniques we have been able to provide have resulted in high quality green specialty coffee which the local growers are proud of. And they should be, their coffee has made it into the Starbucks Special Reserve Program 3 years running, and for this program they only accept the most prestigious coffee. For us its satisfying to see the potential realised, and then recognised.