What is the impact behind Together Coffee?
Around 125 million people worldwide depend on coffee for their livelihoods. It is the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural product and is mainly produced by smallholder farmers. Nearly 75% of the world’s coffee farmers are women. Many of them however are unable to earn a reliable living from the coffee they produce. (Fairtrade.org)
We’ve long believed that the most “bang for our impact buck” lies within the textile manufacturing and agricultural industries as these are the industries on which many of the world’s most vulnerable people depend. And you probably guessed it, but we believe that a high-quality, great-tasting, beautiful cup of coffee should have a beautiful story behind it. And that’s what we’re setting out to do with Together Coffee.
Our Ugandan roast is dark and nutty. Our Ethiopian roast is bright, juicy floral with notes of citrus, blueberries and brown sugar. And it’s one step above fair trade--it’s direct trade. Which means we are working directly with the farmers to cultivate on-going relationships where our coffee community thrives.
Every bag of coffee you buy will directly contribute to supporting a smallholder farmer who earned a fair price for their work. And like every Sseko product, every bag of coffee you purchase is contributing to providing a scholarship for a female scholar in Uganda or Ethiopia. Just like other Sseko products, for every $100,000 in Together Coffee sold, we’ll fund one university scholarship for a bright, dedicated woman who will become a leader in her community.
About our Production + Impact Partners:
Every time Sseko launches a new product line, it takes us several months or even years to decide who our long-term production and impact partners will be. This is because before investing significant resources into relationships, content and infrastructure, we need to test our market as well as make sure our partnership is a great fit for both parties. We are working with roasters and importers who have significant investment, knowledge and commitment to fair-trade practices as this was our top priority in choosing sourcing partners. We were able to find a roasting partner who has a beautiful, long-term direct relationship with the Ethiopian suppliers where our coffee comes from.
Our Ethiopian roast comes from Bombe village which is nestled high in the mountains of the Bensa District. Our Ethiopia blend is considered "Direct Trade" because, through our roaster, we are working directly with the farmers. Because of this direct relationship, our roaster is able to offer a higher price to the farmers for our coffee and have a long term commitment and relationship with them. Every year they are on the ground with our Ethiopian partners and are able to invest in their needs as a community in a direct way and build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.
The coffee industry in Uganda is less developed than Ethiopia and certified importers of Ugandan beans are much more rare. We chose to work with an importer who is working with a co-op that serves 997 smallholder farmers in the Kapchora District of the Mt. Elgon region in Uganda. Our importing partner is not only committed to fair pricing and long-term commitment to the farmers but also to our planet. (The Ugandan coffee beans from our current blend are actually carbon neutral!)
As our coffee market continues to grow, so will our investment in long-term communities and relationships. We will work towards Direct Trade relationships as that will offer us the highest levels of transparency and partnership. Of course we have BIG DREAMS about what our Ugandan coffee community will look like someday but right now we are relying on established partners who have a track record of integrity, expertise and a commitment to fair-trade and dignity within the supply chain. The coffee industry is complex and as with every new endeavor we embark on, we are committed to growing and evolving as we learn how we can be the best long-term partners possibile to our production partners.
We are really excited to build these partnerships alongside you over the coming years. Thank you for being a part of the first chapter of the Together Coffee story.