In our continuing efforts to facilitate direct trade relationships with smallholder farmers and our partners; recently we were asked to expand Axiom’s Mexico operations to the state of Colima where Crop to Cup (a US importer/partner) had been involved in coffee purchasing from smallholders organized through a local cooperative.
Axiom and 13 smallholder coops making up most of the state’s independent coops entered into an agreement). Axiom will assist them in their efforts to increase the value of their crop by bettering the quality of their beans, securing access to critical harvest and export financing and allowing them to become supply-chain actors (no longer spectators) and access the premium coffee markets internationally.
Axiom has been able to build trust within the smallholder coops thus creating the pathway out of poverty for the farmers by: creating demand for their coffee, bringing financial support through Rabobank financing and in turn providing excellent products to the roasters internationally. These partnerships bring the source (rural smallholders) and the end users (brokers/roasters and consumers) together in ways never before possible. This is the essence of Axiom’s vision and mission.
Expansion Continues to Nicaragua
Axiom Nicaragua is now fully established and partnered with 6 coops in various coffee regions (Matagalpa, Junotega, and Boaco). We recently brought Rosario Castellon on board as country director to lead our local initiatives. Rosario brings a wealth of experience and knowledge based on her long established career in cooperative development and more recently as key executive for Root Capital (a financial micro-loan organization.
We began in Houston, Texas and headed west to Seatle, then south to Portland, San Francisco and Santa Cruz where we met new friends and roasters. We cupped 20 micro-lot coffees from smallholder farmers in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, and l showcased the work of our small farmers and creating direct trade relationships with roasters.
Axiom held the final cupping event in Santa Cruz at Verve Coffee Roasters-a large roaster who are planning a trip in February to visit our Cupping Expert- Jorge' De Leon in Guatemala at the Axiom lab and café. Way to spread the word Scott and Jorge' telling the stories of Smallholders in Mexico and Central America and sharing their amazing coffees.
We are excited to announce Scott Dalinger has joined Axiom as our head of sales! Scott brings extensive sales management and international experience to Axiom; having previously served as Region Sales Manager - Latin America for Red Wing Shoes, and later Director of Sales for Occupational Safety & Health, a position based in Bogota Colombia. He is excited to join the dynamic team at Axiom where he can use his language and bi-cultural skills to serve smallholder farmers in Latin America. His energy and dedication in commercializing their premium coffee through the sales of micro-lots in the North America market will transform their lives and communities.
Coffee is a complex product with many flavor variables; it can taste differently depending on the varietal, the year, altitude, the picking method, the processing method and the roasting. Much more than just coffee...
We visited this amazing harvest and drying facility showing how careful harvesting and processing can produce high quality coffee.
Axiom was honored to lead six guys on an adventure from San Diego, California in search of the origin of one of the Mexican micro-lot coffees they purchased through Axiom and now roast at OB-Bean. The trip took us to the mountainous state of Oaxaca located in deep southwest Mexico where coffee is grown. After hours of driving, we arrived in the little mountain town of Putla to meet the leaders of the Co-Op that supplies their coffee. We began our journey up into the fields together and after about a mile of hiking across several rivers, through thick brush, we began to see our first coffee trees. The farmers explained how they picked the coffee cherries one basket at a time and brought them part way down the mountain. I was shocked by the sheer amount of effort it took to harvest and transport the coffee.
Back at this small village the community began to gather and through our interpreter we shared about who we were, and that we had been roasting and selling their coffee in San Diego. We thanked them for their hard work and dedication to quality and then showed them a small bag of their coffee beans we had roasted and brought with us and they told us they had never seen their coffee roasted before. It was such reality check to bring them the final product that was made from the coffee they had worked so hard to harvest and export.
The OB Bean team felt so inspired by actually experiencing the entire process from farm to cup, and realizing the small part they play in helping these farmers provide for their families and communities. Mark Bell the owner of OB Bean and his team were impressed by the incredible work ethic and passion of these farmers to produce high quality coffee beans, as well as their resilience and hope for the future. Mark remarked how appropriate the name of this Co-Op is “Nuevo Esperanza” which is translated, “New Hope.” To learn more click here. file://localhost/www.http/::obbeans.com https://instagram.com/obbeans_/
Stephan Erkelens of Axiom and Isabel Van Bemmelen, the representative from Rabobank Foundation visited Nueva Espernaza village part of Celso Garcia Garcia Coop in Putla de Guerrero/Oaxaca, Mexico.
These smallholders produced extraordinary coffee reaching 85+ grading for quality. This exemplary coffee is a direct result of our work with the village assisting with supply chain quality control, financing partnerships organic certification, washing and drying conditions and now with this visit the prevention of Roya “Rust Fungus” that can wipe out entire crops and farms.
This stimulated a premium coffee roaster from Canada, North America to purchase the coffee and now is pursuing a commitment to continuing the relationship with the village and the smallholders. These success stories are key to the transformation of the indigenous smallholders ability to support their families and thrive in the communities that typically just scrape by season after season.
Congratulations to Nueva Esperanza for your success, we look forward to a long partnership: