At Wicked Joe it is our mission to source exceptional coffee from around the world and guarantee sustainable wages for the farmers who grow our wonderful beans. By solely purchasing from Fair Trade and Organic certified farmers, we can ensure just that. All of our coffees are grown under environmentally friendly conditions- preserving the land, enhancing the quality of crops, and aiding to maintain a healthy surrounding eco-system. We have had the privilege of being able to visit most of our coffee partners from around the world. Here are a few of our favorites:
Located in the Gayo Highlands of Sumatra, Ketiara was founded in 2009 and joined the Fair Trade movement in 2011. Despite Ketiara's young age, it is one of the most well-known and respected cooperatives of the region. Their dedication to excellence and innovation has resulted in consistently delicious coffee. The Gayonese society is traditionally male-dominated, which makes it even more impressive that Ketiara is made up of over 50% women. These women work hard to create opportunities for themselves and others in the surrounding community. They invest a portion of their Fair Trade Premiums directly back into the farms to improve productivity and maintain quality. Other initiatives include improving health, education, public infrastructure, and helping to protect the ecosystem of the nearby Leuser National Park.
Located in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala, the Asociación Civil Guaya'b is certified Bird Friendly, Fair-Trade, and Organic. It currently has 330 members, 316 of them being of indigenous descent. Guaya'b was formally established in 1998 and joined the Fair Trade movement in 2000. The premiums that they received from Fair Trade have helped to create a move stable economy and decreased the rate of migration in the area. They have many programs funded by the premiums including medical insurance for all of the members and their families. Many of them grow additional crops such as peanuts, fruit and peppers to sell at the markets for extra income.
In 2018, a team from Wicked Joe Organic Coffees and Bard Coffee traveled to this remote region of Guatemala to host a workshop for the cooperative. We led 3 classes teaching them about sample roasting, coffee cupping, and coffee brewing. It was a life-changing experience for our team seeing some of the farmers taste their own coffee for the very first time.
The Las Lajas Micromill in the Sabanilla de Alejuela region of Costa Rica shares many of the same founding principles and values as we do at Wicked Joe Organic Coffees. A project that was originally founded in 1840, Francisca and Oscar Chacon, inherited a 5 hectare farm and in the past 20 years have transformed it into what it is today. In 2000, with coffee prices falling dramatically, the sought to organic farming as the answer to a sustainable future. This was not an easy feat to accomplish, but it certainly paid off. In 2006, they began milling their own coffee and started a microlot program. By doing their own processing, they were able to better control the quality of their coffee and is where they eventually were able to experiment a little more. In 2008, a huge earthquake hit Costa Rica leaving everyone without water or electricity in the middle of harvest season. Francisca and Oscar knew that in Africa and Brazil, they process coffee without water frequently, and decided to give it a shot. From this experiment came Costa Rica's first naturally processed coffee. While locals were hesitant to embrace it, the specialty coffee industry loved it! We love visiting these folks year after year and seeing what they have up their sleeves. They have become pioneers in the coffee industry and have truly established a wonderful legacy to pass on.