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At this time last year, we were just over a month old in terms of our being state inspected & licensed to operate as a food processor. Also last October we received our first "big" shipment of 750 lbs/5 bags of Nicaraguan coffee from Gold Mountain Coffee Growers: 1 bag of Finca Idealista ("Idealist Farm") honey process, and 4 bags from a single family farm belonging to the Sebastiana family.
And this month, we just received our second shipment from Gold Mountain, fresh crop from the 2016 harvest that arrived at port in New Jersey over the summer, 1,500 lbs/10 bags, double our order from last year: 1 bag of Finca Idealista natural process (for sale now), 3 bags of a micro-lot named "Divine Inspiration" after the fact that it was grown on the grounds of a church, and 6 bags of a community lot (multiple farms' coffees blended, processed, & sold together) for use in our blends this coming year.
A lot has changed for us in a year: We grew our business 370% over this time last year, and in late April we moved from our rental space to our own building in Tama, Iowa. We've received some great press and kudos over the past year that all indicate that our passion for roasting high-grade specialty coffee is headed in the right direction. And through all that, we've enjoyed our Direct Trade relationship with Gold Mountain, the owner Ben Weiner, their flagship farm Finca Idealista, and their network of partner farms. Gold Mountain's commitment to being a social enterprise means that they're in business not only to be profitable, but to also make a positive impact on the lives of coffee growing communities and the ecological conditions where they operate. We're proud to be part of that work, now entering its second year with many more to come!
Just this week we started selling the first coffee from this year's harvest: Finca Idealista natural process. It is a more expensive coffee, but there are good reasons for that: It was harvested and processed with utmost care and using zero water during processing (the "natural" processing method is also sometimes called the "dry" processing method). It is a super clean and high-cupping coffee. Smooth fruity notes and a sweetness that keeps you wanting more. And we only have 150 lbs of it, so get your hands on it now! Watch for "Divine Inspiration" in a few months.
Thank you to everyone who bought one of our Nicaraguan coffees over the past year, and get ready for what the 2016 harvest has to offer: You won't be disappointed. Here's to many more years with the wonderful folks at Gold Mountain and all their partner farmers in Nicaragua!
"Direct Trade" is an industry term that describes a business/trade relationship that has fewer "links" in the supply chain. For most of my coffees, we source from importers who circle the globe searching for coffee to buy in the coffeelands, buying massive quantities of them, warehousing them, then selling them to roasters.
In this case, Gold Mountain operates many more parts of the supply chain that usually get covered by other companies: Processing of harvested coffees at origin, Export from Nicaragua, Import to the US, and Sales to small roasters like us. They also provide Traceability information and Media resources to help roasters tell the story of their coffees as they're roasting and selling these coffees.
In our business, we take a "both/and" approach working with importers and our Direct Trade partner, Gold Mountain. As we grow our roasting business, I would love to expand the number of these kinds of relationships from other coffee-growing countries.