By Karina Bautista
We recently worked with a Shanghai-based startup, Cambio Coffee, to connect them with sustainable producer groups as they searched for new partners in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. We joined up with Cambio Coffee’s Sebastián and Felipe Martin for part of their trip when they visited Quito and the Galapagos Islands. Cambio Coffee is a growing social enterprise dedicated to creating a positive impact on the environment and farming communities in Latin America through the import, roasting and selling of specialty coffee to the Chinese market. Their mission is to create high quality coffee products that directly support coffee growers and development projects in rural areas of Latin America.
We were impressed by the level of commitment, enthusiasm and coffee knowledge of the Martin brothers, and share below a series of images while the “Cambio brothers” visited producers on the so called “Enchanted Islands”. You can join them on their journey to find the best coffee by watching their videos regularly uploaded to their channel on youtube, or follow them on twitter @cambio_coffee
Cambio Coffee’s Martin brothers with Lava Java’s Carlos Guerra. Lava Java is one of only two 100% organic coffee farms in the Galapagos Islands. Organic farming in these remarkable islands is even more complex than on the mainland. Farmers struggle with invasive species, and the islands’ special conservation regime places restrictions on inputs and biological controls.
Bird Friendly-certified coffee from Lava Java is the result of a decade-long effort demonstrating how responsible farming practices can support threatened ecosystems. The farm and its surrounding areas stand out as hubs of native and endemic flora and fauna. As one approaches the farm crowds of finches fly by, surrounded by restored forests of endemic Scalesia trees.
Lava Java is about 7 km from the ocean, in what is “the transition zone” from coast dry forests to humid highland canopies on the island of Santa Cruz. Overlooking the main bay and town, Cambio Coffee sat to taste Lava Java coffee.
René Valle overlooking the breathtaking landscape from his coffee farm. Farming coffee with 100% organic methods is still not financially viable for René, mainly due to the high cost of labor in Galapagos and low prices paid by conventional markets and intermediaries. Galapagos coffee farmers have recently joined forces in order to establish a “certificate of origin” for its specialty coffee, which should support organic growers by allowing them to capture premium prices for quality, origin and environmental benefits.