For South American countries, like El Salvador, the coffee industry is crucial for the survival and well-being of many families. Farms, nestled within a luscious, tropical landscape, provide much of the coffee that Americans drink on a daily basis. So when brothers Tim and Tommy Thwaites—who own Denver-based Coda Coffee—visit an international coffee farm they have one intention: coffee education. Since 2006, the Thwaites have taught these farmers about things like planting seedlings and coffee's acidity, body, and balance.
The brothers’ education program is called Farm2Cup and was officially launched in December. The brothers began implementing the program’s practices year ago in countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Colombia, and Guatemala. From their initial efforts with farmers, they are seeing a direct return on their investments in the overall quality of the coffee and in the farming communities. “What we’re really trying to do is start a grassroots movement of much better coffee at the farm level, and they will be rewarded for this coffee with a much better price," says Tim Thwaites. "We really put a focus on the quality of life for the farmer."
The brothers try to personally visit each farm to establish a strong relationship with the farming communities. The farmers are first taught how to detect defects in their coffee, and to make overall improvements such as switching bean varieties or optimizing irrigation. Farmers are also asked to use some of their funding from Coda to give back to their communities by contributing to heath and education in their area. So far, partners in the Farm2Cup program have been able to refurbish a school in El Salvador, build coffee mills in Honduras, and construct a community center and 80 homes with electricity and running water in Guatemala.“We just want to offer total transparency,” Tim Thwaites says. “We want people to feel good about the coffee they drink and for it to taste good too.”
GET INVOLVED: To find out more about the Farm2Cup program and its farmers, click here.
—Image Courtesy of Coda Coffee Company