Coffee is the world’s number-one cash crop, yet many coffee farmers barely make enough to survive. Crimson Cup’s new Friend2Farmer® program is changing that, one farm at a time, by forging sustainable partnerships with coffee farmers.
Greg Ubert, founder and president of the Ohio coffee roaster and coffee shop franchise alternative, came up with the Friend2Farmer® initiative after working with small-plot farmers in Honduras and Guatemala.
“Despite existing Fair Trade and Direct Trade programs, many farmers and coffee-growing communities remain mired in poverty,” he said. “Friend2Farmer® is changing that by ensuring farmers receive a fair share of the proceeds from coffee sales.
“Friend2Farmer® is also about empowering coffee farmers and farming communities to produce an awesome crop to sustain themselves,” he added. “The farmers and their workers plant, cultivate, harvest and process the coffee. Crimson Cup then hand-roasts their coffee in small batches, which protects the integrity of the bean and the farmers’ hard work. We then introduce their coffee to consumers who can appreciate the dedication that these farmers have put forth.”
Crimson Cup has set criteria for sourcing coffees distributed through the Friend2Farmer® program. Key principles include:
- The purchase of the coffee must support the coffee growing community;
- The relationship with the farmer must be a mutual, long-term commitment to better the production of coffee and the community;
- There must be complete transparency with purchases of coffee; and
- There must be ongoing proof that funds from purchasing coffee are helping to transform the community.
In developing the Friend2Farmer® program, Ubert worked with Stephan Erkelens of AXIOM Coffee Ventures to forge connections with farmers. Erkelens, who traces his coffee roots to the 1930’s and his grandfather’s Guatemalan coffee business, has worked in all sectors of the industry for more than 20 years.
“Working with Stephan and the folks at AXIOM, we’re helping farmers improve coffee quality and increase crop yield by introducing sustainable growing practices,” Ubert said. “This is another step toward increasing their income and helping to lift them out of poverty.”
Friend2Farmer® coffees can be purchased online from the Crimson Cup website. They also are available at the company’s own Crimson Cup Coffee House in the Columbus suburb of Clintonville and at select independent coffee houses, restaurants, grocers, colleges and universities and food service operations that sell Crimson Cup beverages.
About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
Since 1991, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has hand-roasted specialty coffee in Columbus, Ohio and taught independent business owners how to be successful through its coffee shop franchise alternative program. Sustainably sourced Crimson Cup coffee is available through a network of more than 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations across 28 states, as well as the company’s own Crimson Cup Coffee House in the Columbus suburb of Clintonville. For more information, visit crimsoncup.com.