Temple Direct 2013

What make Temple Coffee sourcing different? Well, for one we are initiating a few new, ground-breaking, coffee industry firsts, sourcing projects or as I like to call them, “Missions” for 2013. Here’s a short tidbit about our Brazil project that has been in the works since July, 2012. We are now just starting to taste the fruits of our planning…

In Brazil, many of the farms and producers are large, cigar smoking, single malt scotch drinking, old-boys cub business men. Coffee is largely produced on massive estates, sun farmed, row-planted, mechanically strip picked, mechanically dried, and brought to you by your favorite grocery store brand as 100% Arabica. I am not trying to paint a bad picture here, mechanization is not a bad thing, and I have cupped many coffees that were mechanically dried carefully to produce a great cup. I have also been known, on occasion to be one of those cigar smoking, single malt scotch drinking, guys on my best weekends. All puns aside, there is a demand for that type of product, and us Specialty Coffee guys, or rather coffee-revolutionists/3rd wavers/people who care, wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the masses enjoying market grade coffees, and slowly transitioning into Premium and Specialty Coffees.

Now, what makes Temple’s sourcing different? Well… we like many great roasters attempt to offer a Brazil 365 days a year, and rely on it heavily for blending and espresso. The tricky part, is to support the small farmers who enjoy the fresh mountain air to cigars, and clean water to scotch, get great coffees of different quality levels, and support that farmers community, family, and ecological surroundings. Now, this may seem easy, or fairly easy, but not so. Most small producers do not harvest nearly enough coffee to support even us, as a micro-roaster for our yearly needs, and, even if they do, typically not 100% of their crop is up to our personal standards or needs. In order to resolve this situation, we are working with 5 smaller farmers, in different regions of Brazil in order to fulfill our needs for 2013. The outline for the project is:

  • 1 full shipping container (Yep… a lot of coffee…)
  • 5 Producers
  • Bulk-type 85-87 point coffee from each producer
  • 10 bags of Micro-Lot type, 90+ point coffee from each producer
  • Pricing for the bulk lots are more than double FairTrade price
  • Pricing for the Micro-Lots are about 4 times FairTrade price

Here’s the explanation… by selecting producers whom are already producing nice coffees, around 86-88pt coffees, we can have them process each picking or lot separately. Variation between lots can vary dramatically due to ripeness of the cherries, harvest time, weather, etc. By keeping each lot separate, we get to cup a range of coffees, typically from 82-92 points. Normally, these coffees are blended together by someone in the supply chain. By keeping them separate, we decrease the “overall” score of the coffee by skimming the top 1% (our micro-lots), and blending the rest to sell for a lesser price to market. This is where most companies stop, leaving the producer with a slightly degraded product to sell to the masses. We have not.

We are also committed to purchase the rest of the producers’ coffee after skimming the cream for our micro-lots. After taking the best, we blend our 5 different producers bulk coffee together. Since it is from different micro-regions that carry distinct terroir, blending of these coffees results in an amazingly complex coffee, perfect for our Dharma espresso and House blend that is fully traceable, sustainable, and direct, from our 5 producer friends who got paid very well for their efforts.

Hope this brings you some insight into what make us different. Stay tuned for updates on this project, as well as next week when I will post about our Africa Project and then our Central America Project.


-Eton Tsuno
Green Coffee Buyer