The other day, Project Origin visited Perth and held a cupping of their latest green bean program and team Grouch was there. Project Origin is the green bean trading company for ONA Coffee in Canberra and Habib Maarbini, the Business Development Officer, was in town to tell us all about it.
Project Origin’s aim is to travel the coffee producing regions of the world, meeting with the growers. they work closely with the farmers to establish lasting relationships where Project Origin are willing to pay a premium for the quality coffee.
Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, second only to oil. And yet we are able to buy a cup for between $3.50 and $5.50… that makes it a very cheap commodity! Great for the consumer… but is it great for the farmer? Well, only the top quality green coffee will fetch a premium price. This means that from year to year farmers have to pay their workers a tiny amount, which often leads to poverty and a low standard of living amongst farm workers. This is a huge problem in the coffee industry. And as green bean buyers, roasters, baristas and consumers we need to be aware of this, which is often why your specialty coffee shop may charge a bit more than the regular café for your morning coffee.
That’s why importers and roasters like Project Origin are awesome, because they’ve started to combat the low standard of living amongst farm workers and develop lasting, sustainable relationships with the farmers allowing them to consistently produce great coffee. Which they can in turn earn a premium for and as a result this will make its way to the workers, and Project Origins work is a great example of what many roasters and green bean buyers have begun to do.
Project Origin strive to improve the communities like in India at the Thalanar Estate. To date, they have rebuilt the community centre, established medical services and are now in the process of providing hot water to the farm workers. This is all possible though a system where Project Origin takes a percentage off from the sale of their coffee and uses it in the community. On average this is about $8 per bag. This type of work and development in the community is vital to farmers being able to produce tasty coffees year after year as well as maintaining the standard of living of the people they employ, without these lasting sustainable relationships we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the amazing coffees that we tasted that night and the consumer would be able to buy them at their favourite specialty coffee shop, as this money is the driving force behind improving coffee globally.
So, how was Project Origin’s actual cupping? The cupping showcased some amazing coffees, Brazil to India and everywhere in between. There were multiple coffees on offer from their Black, Green and Gold range each one as impressive as the next, they all score above 84! However, for me it was the Columbians that really shined. They had the perfect balance of acidity, sweetness and body with a finish that lasted the whole drive home.
As a barista and consumer I feel that it is extremely important that we are aware of the skill, time, and effort that goes into producing quality coffee, informing the customer of what it takes to get their coffee into their hands is the first step to a sustainable coffee industry globally.
Matt – Grouch & Co team