Our amazing partners from The Farmers Project are working at finding ways for local Costa Rican farmers to get paid a living wage by selling their coffee at fair prices and to grow coffee through sustainable agriculture practices. Through this partnership, we have had the privilege of meeting some amazing coffee farmers. Have you ever had an employee or friend go above and beyond your expectations?
Marco Ovideo and Maricela Oviedo are coffee farmers from Costa Rica that we have had the pleasure of getting to know and build a deep relationship. “Sirof”, is the name of the farm that is owned by Marco and Maricela and is one of the five coffee farms that is part of The Farmers Project. Their farm is 20-hectares in size and reaches an altitude of about 1350 meters above sea level.
Marco and Maricela have three kids, all of which go to school and help on the farm. They have one daughter and two younger sons who are twins. They work incredibly hard to provide for their family and work towards giving them a better life. Their two sons help on the farm while the daughter is in school. Their daughter dreams of becoming a doctor, so Marco and Maricela work tirelessly to make enough money to afford to put their daughter through Medicine School.
Coffee farmers often get paid below the cost of production putting them in endless cycles of debt. One way Marco has been able to substitute their money is by growing avocado plants. Avocado plants thrive in the climate that Costa Rican has to offer and having both plants spread out across the land and growing simultaneously adds a multitude of nutrients to the soil. Coffee plants thrive off the added nutrients and result in stronger and healthier plants.
Facing the terrifying truth of potentially losing their farm, the Ovideos knew they had to make some changes for their farm to survive. The Ovideos decided to build a micro-mill to gain more control over the processing and production chain. Which also resulted in more control over the quality of their coffee beans. Producing high-quality coffee is of the utmost importance to both Marco and Maricela as their livelihood depends on it. They wanted to know exactly what quality of coffee they were producing, so Marco decided to build his roaster from scratch. Building a coffee roaster from scratch is almost unheard of among other coffee farmers, but Marco wanted to know what his coffee tasted like and ensure high-quality coffee beans.
In the coffee industry, coffee beans go through a “grading process” which is used to determine the quality of the coffee. This process is used to compare coffee samples from different companies and help coffee producers and buyers determine the coffee quality. A cupping process is completed where all the samples are roasted and tasted. Commercial coffee scores in the 60 to 80 range, whereas specialty coffee scores in the 80 to 100 range. At Road Coffee, we don’t buy coffee that scores less than an 84. Marco took it upon himself to perform a cupping ceremony so he knew how his coffee tasted and found ways to improve. Quality is a big focus at the Ovideo farm, and they have incredible coffees ranking in the high 80’s and low 90’s. Being something that is also important to us at Road, we take special care in making sure that we roast our coffee to perfection.
Building relationships and high-quality coffee is something we place a high value on at Road Coffee. Fostering deep connections and partnerships like The Farmers Project has led us to meet some amazing farmers in the industry. Meeting Marco and Maricela and witnessing how hard they work, reminds us why we do what we do. These farmers work incredibly hard every single day. We are proud to partner with Marco and his family to bring you the best coffee!
Author: Natasha Layton