Many roasters use the term direct trade to describe some or all of the green coffee they purchase for roasting, and there are numerous definitions of direct trade among roasters. At Batdorf & Bronson we use the term Relationship Coffee to describe not only the obvious, that we know the farmer personally and have visited her farm, but also the fact that we negotiate pricing directly with the producer based on their costs plus a fair profit margin. This ensures they will continue to produce the coffee we and our customers love year after year. Which, of course, means a Relationship Coffee is also one we buy from these same producers year after year. We rely on our producing partners to grow the coffee, they rely on us to purchase the coffee.
It could be said that Relationship Coffees are purchased using a traditional farmers market model rather than a futures market model. Traditionally, when you shop at a farmers market the price the farmer is asking, ideally, has little to do with the price that is being charged at the chain grocery store or a commodity market trading futures. The farmer, understanding his costs and needs going forward, puts a price on his goods. When the value you place on that product matches the price the farmer puts on it there is a sale.
In addition to this transparency in price discovery we sometimes pre-finance a producer ahead of the harvest. This gives farmers cash when they need it most and avoids the necessity for high interest loans in origin countries. Examples of relationship coffees that you will find at times among our offerings include, Fair Trade Organic Costa Rica Finca Los Bobos; Organic French Roast, from Finca Los Placeres; Honduras Familia Fernandez; Brazil Fazenda Capetinga; and Fair Trade Organic Nicaragua Isabelia. One of our longest standing Relationship Coffees is Guatemala Finca El Valle and the Gonzales family.
Every year we meet with Cristina Gonzales at her home in Antigua, Guatemala, to discuss crop productivity and quality, review her costs of production, and come to agreement on the final price we will pay for her crop for the coming year. Weve been doing this for fourteen years.
The relationship we have with Cristina and her family is a true partnership, one that were proud to have established and built upon over the years not only because we can count on receiving excellent coffee each year (and the Gonzalas family can count on us buying it), but because the coffee is truly exceptional and sustainably produced.
The Gonzalez familys cycle of care and commitment to their coffee continues with the use of recycled water, composting, and sun drying at their processing mill. Their estate is a model of sustainability and we are proud to be one of only two buyers worldwide of the entire Finca El Valle crop. Some of the greatest stories we tell at Batdorf are about our Relationship Coffees and when you buy a Relationship Coffee from us you become part of the story.