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Meet Henrik Haavisto, Founder of Populus

You’ve been Brammibal’s coffee partner since the beginning; what should people know about Populus coffee?

From our years of experience, we concluded that for us the best way to work with coffee sustainably is by getting to know our partners personally.

This means a direct relationship with the producer or a local coffee project working with and for smallholder coffee farmers. Sustainability and quality can be achieved by understanding possibilities, potential and long-term goals. We strive to learn more about the realities under which our partners work and collaborate accordingly. This goes for producers and our customers brewing and enjoying the final product. Our long-term goal is to improve quality throughout the supply chain.

As our partner, Brammibal’s has had an important role in supporting many producers. This kind of longevity and understanding of the product is rare, and I greatly respect Jess and Bram because of it. And so do our coffee-producing partners.

What are the difficulties of mainstream coffee?

I wish that more people would start looking at coffee as the high-value product that it truly is. Nowadays, it’s easy to demand information about what you consume, by whom it was made, and under what conditions it was produced.

The coffee industry and the supply chain were built by „The West.“ The industry as a whole, at its core, is colonialized and has been for centuries. Coffee as a product has been introduced everywhere in the world, except in Ethiopia or South Sudan, where coffee originates from.

Climate change has a big effect on coffee, too. Coffee land, where you can produce coffee, is diminishing, and although it’s getting harder to grow coffee, coffee prices remain meager. In the „West,“ coffee remains a low-valued commodity. People are not willing to pay the price coffee should cost, which is, of course, increasingly unsustainable. In reality, coffee is a luxury product and becoming more so daily.

The way the industry operates needs to be more transparent. What’s worse, many big coffee roasters are trying to take advantage of the Third Wave Mindset and brand themselves accordingly. That’s just greenwashing.

Beneficio Bella Vista

Beneficio Bella Vista is the very first specialty coffee producer we ever visited in origin.Bella Vista is widely known in Antigua and beyond. Started by Luis Pedro’s grandfather, the beneficio owns and manages many farms, and works together with producers in the area.Luis Pedro Zelaya and Melanie Moreira run the Beneficio with a clear focus on sustainability and high quality.

Nizamu Abamecha

-We met Nizamu on our trip to Ethiopia early 2020. The goal of the trip was to find long-term coffee partners with full transparency and traceability. Nizamu, former chairman of the famos Duromina Cooperative, comes from a long line of coffee farmers. After the laws in Ethiopia allowed it, he started working as an independent coffee producer and currently he is planning to start also his own washing station.

Moreno Family

-This family of coffee farmers are some of our oldest relationships dating back to the days before Populus existed. Witnessing their collaboration with the Beneficio San Vicente dry mill showed us that working with coffee can act as a tool for positive change.Moreno family lives and grows coffee in the town of El Cedral on the unique highlands around lake Yojoa. Cool temperatures and often cloudy skies result in slow coffee cherry maturation and incredibly complex and distinct cup profiles. Their original farm El Filo (the knife’s edges) falls on both sides of a steep hill creating a multitude of micro climates that experience a different amount of sunlight, wind and even rain depending on the day and weather.

Community Coffee Rwanda

-Community Coffee Rwanda (CCR) was our first Direct Trade partner. Operated by Eric Wright CCR is a project aiming to bring out outstanding coffee from Rwanda. They operate two washing stations in Karongi and Ngororero district which are not well known for producing exportable coffee. Eric’s aim is to empower the communities close to his stations to focus more on the cultivation and quality leading to higher wages and farm profitability. At the moment CCR works with around 800 smallholder producers who deliver their often unsorted coffee cherries to the washing stations.

Long Miles Coffee Project

-Long Miles Coffee Project is an amazing farmer-focused initiative found by an American family – The Carlsons. We have wanted to work with LMCP even before we started and are proud to represent their coffees year after year. The work they have done has really paid off and the quality of their coffees has helped to put Burundi on the specialty coffee map.

What do you like about your partnership with Brammibal’s?|
For me, Brammibal’s is an ideal partner. Meeting people with such high morals and strong values in the hospitality industry is uncommon. They also use their growth to improve their positive impact. They understand the value of coffee beans and have never tried to negotiate the price. They care about quality and good working conditions. I’ve been super happy to work with them since the start.

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