El Fénix Wet-Mill Kickstarter

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign for the month of December to fund a community wet-mill at El Fénix, the farm we own and operate in Calarcá, Colombia. With best practices being used at the mill for processing the cherry, the high quality green beans produced will be able to be sold into the specialty market for prices that farmers otherwise could not have accessed easily.

Trev visited the farm as a part of his first ever origin trip last month and was able to witness first hand the work that is taking place. Geisha and Pink Bourbon seedlings, among other rare and interesting varieties, are currently being cultivated. Don’t worry we will definitely let you know when they are in harvest! Trev also got to visit the planned site for the new wet-mill, and apparently the view is incredible. As one of the rewards for the Kickstarter you are able to stay on the farm and see it for yourself!

El Fénix will also act as a testing ground for new methods of growing and processing coffee. These methods will be implemented at the new wet-mill and shared with neighbouring farmers who are selling their cherry to the mill, the aim being to help farmers up the quality of their cherry and receive higher premiums when the green coffee is sold.

To find out a bit more about the way our quality premiums are structured and the background for the pricing model check out our blog about the Helena Project and Matt’s Re;Verb Tokyo chat and the Raw Material site. These blogs give some great insight in to Raw Material’s structure and philosophy so definitely worth checking out.







How Fixed Quality Premiums Help Farmers

After selling their cherry to the wet-mill for a price already above what they would have received selling parchment into the commodity market, farmers will then receive a second payment based on the quality of the resulting green when it is exported. We saw incentives like this being very effective as part of the Helena Transformation Project and we definitely feel there is a lot of value to be added by adjusting the model to fit the community at Calarcá.

Fixed prices will help farmers predict their year’s income and make that cost of production vs expected price equation work. Experienced professionals who staff the mill will process the cherry exclusively for the specialty market. Feedback loops from buyers will also be essential in the pursuit of tastier coffee. So, if you end up getting your hands on some of the green or roasted coffee as reward for contributing to the Kickstarter, we would love to hear from you what you think! 

As well as having the means to process the cherry, the wet mill will be kitted out with sample roasting and brewing equipment. Farmers selling to the mill will be invited to come and learn about roasting and brewing, and in some cases will be tasting their coffee for the first time. Cupping their coffee next to others in the region will spark conversation about what everyone is doing differently, and illustrate how the stages of growing, picking, and processing influence the final flavour in the cup. Further understanding of how to attain a certain quality or flavour characteristic will ultimately result in higher premiums for farmers paid over and above the fixed first payment as they refine practices at a farm level.

We’re super excited to get this Kickstarter underway and appreciate any support you can give. Rewards for contributions range from a coffee tree planted in your name (or for a friend for Xmas!) to a trip for two to visit the farm and see the surrounding area of Quindio. You can also just buy some roasted coffee, which we know you need anyway! 

This is a great opportunity to be involved with a project that aims to make a meaningful difference to the surrounding community long term, as well as developing some insanely tasty coffees. The funding closes on the 31st of December so make sure you get in there. Here’s the link again just to be safe!

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