We know our coffee producers and co-ops personally. We establish long-term trading relationships that share knowledge and success through a more sustainable and transparent supply chain. But often it’s the personal story that captures our attention. It’s not just a score that makes a coffee special, but the journey “in which the” producer embarked upon, from where they came from, to where they are going. We follow the story to find exceptional coffees.
Read more on how we select coffee based on flavors we are seeking and how growing seasons drive coffee releases.
On one hand, this story is about women empowering women despite a gap of culture and 4,000+ miles. On the other hand, this story embodies the power of relationships going beyond mutual interests and how a gas-powered coffee pulper increased output by 10x.
Traceability documents the chain of custody of a coffee from farm to cup. We do this so you can trust that the claims made concerning the coffee are correct. Though documentation is essential, we start the process with developing a relationship with the producer (farmer and co-operative) and working with our coffee importers as the coffee is brought to our roastery. If you ever wonder about our claims, start by asking about whether the coffee is traceable.
Blas Alfaro, Partner, is a 5th generation coffee farmer, from a farm circa 1892, in the central valley growing region of Costa Rica, provides our point of view of how to create relationships and make a difference in the world. We trace our coffee not only because we care, but it’s the foundation for our sustainability program.
The ambition of being sustainable, zero to negative carbon emissions, crashes into the reality of being competitive. How do you reduce emissions without increasing prices and hassles with your customers that have choices? We start with a vision and invite our customers to help solve this conundrum, reducing emissions and not increase costs. Read our 2020 Sustainability Plan based on organization we support called NAMA, Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions by Café de Costa Rica
Hybrid Coffees are way more sustainable, over 40% more productive (yield), resistant to disease, and can withstand the inevitable weather variations coming with climate change. But changing behavior takes time. By removing obstacles such as a the perception tried and true varietals are always better, we can see a different future.
Before a blend or coffee is introduced, we will undergo nearly endless trials with roasting times and temperatures. As legend tell it, Blas Alfaro’s grandfather would spend time teaching his grandson all he learned from the prior three generations. One lesson that stood out, to get to know coffee is to experiment with roasting, a lot of experimentation. With today’s technology, greater rigor catalogues flavors profiles that inform roasting recipes for not just single coffees, but across varietals and regions.
Yes, we categorize our roasts according the standard light, medium, or dark. Do you know how many degrees of difference exist within a level, especially medium? These categories are not as arbitrary as it may feel. A coffee or blend has a lot of say in the matter. An interesting lesson.
We actively resist using hyperbole; the best coffee, greatest we’ve ever seen, we’re great, we’re the best, because when in the presence of organizations such as Institute of Coffee Costa Rica (iCafe) or World Coffee Research greatness is a pursuit, not a claim. We do strive to be original, to provide amazing coffees, delightful experiences, exclusively from Fulcrum Coffee. But this is only possible by having deep, meaningful relationships with worldwide, industry leaders such as iCafe.
For us, the most personal is inviting others into our home. We first did that in 2016, when the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) hosted its worldwide convention in Seattle. Several hundred attended, getting to know each other, dancing and telling stories well into the night. The ICafe returned it many times over, exchanging leading practices, exploring sustainability and working on new coffees.