Contact name: Paul Kurtz
Organization Name: Hemisphere Coffee Roasters
Project URL: www.hemispherecoffeeroasters.com
Project: Abonzo Coffee – Helping Thailand Coffee Farmers Help Themselves
Additional information on location of project: Helping people help themselves
Projected Impact: 200
High in the mountains, north of Chiang Rai, Thailand, in the village known as Doi Chaang, there lives a proud and industrious people. For many years now, they have been growing coffee, having abandoned the slash and burn farming practices of long ago. The king introduced coffee agriculture many years ago, but this particular coffee has been slow to find a worldwide following. Many attempts have been made to export this high-grade coffee and to be able to distribute more of the economic value of this coffee directly to the farmer. Many of these attempts have been unsuccessful.
The Ahka Hill tribe is well acquainted with exploitation and failed promises. The majority of the Ahka Hill tribe does not have citizenship. Because of this, they are vulnerable, and they lack opportunities necessary to improve their lives and flourish as people.
Through my work with a mission agency over the years, I became aware of the plight of coffee farmers, which led me to start a Direct Trade importing company to address the complex issues that are related to sustainability and human thriving in coffee producing communities. In 2012, I began communicating with a Thai coffee farmer and a member of the Ahka Hill Tribe, Pat Aaru Yeasawku. During this time I became aware of the many families who had lost their market for their coffee.
In the spring of 2013, I visited Pat in his village. He introduced me to his family and the other farmers who had coffee to sell but had no buyer to purchase it. I cupped it on the spot and was immediately impressed with the sweetness in my throat and the citrusy notes that exploded in the cup. I imported the full lot and have been working to build a loyal following for this exceptional coffee.
Our philosophy is that most times people do not need a handout, but rather, they need a chance. Aid can be addicting and it creates dependency. Alleviating poverty begins with the creation of jobs and a reward for the hard work being done. Direct Trade allows me to relate directly with the farmer, encouraging him or her, treating them as equals, and creating markets for their coffee.
This project is a call to try some exceptional coffee that will benefit a small farming community in northern Thailand…business to business.
What You Can Do to Help
This Direct Trade, high scoring coffee is currently in the process of being shipped to the United States and should land in the middle of July. It will be warehoused in The Annex on the west coast and in Ohio for the eastern states. We need many roasters and individuals to try this coffee, and you will see why I am excited about this offering. Contact your roaster or contact me to get green samples or fresh roasted samples of this coffee. This is not a “handout” for the Thai coffee farmers, but a “hand up” that is enabling them to discover new markets to sell their coffee and realize their hopes and dreams for a better future.