The rugged, lush Gayo region of Sumatra, named for the ethnic group which lives there, produces some of the finest coffee in Indonesia. It has also been wracked by conflict and natural disasters.
The Permata Gayo coop began as a means to foster organic coffee-growing, which would in turn raise income in an area where coffee dominates the entire economy.
Founded in 2006 with only fifty members, its numbers have skyrocketed, with a membership of over 1,400 currently.
This rapid growth is clearly a testament to its success.
Over the years, Cooperative Coffees has seen Permata Gayo through some growing pains, adjusting the Fair Trade model to fit local custom and power structures.
Always the goal is to ensure that farmers and their communities reap the benefits of their careful attention to the quality and consistency of their coffee.
In this rainy tropical climate, farmers prune their coffee trees to open the center to sunshine and air, to inhibit attack by fungus and molds. Yet even with so much rain, clean, potable water is a precious comodity, threatened by mega-farming of crops such as palm for palm oil.
Permata Gayo is dedicated to sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural techniques.
In the fall of 2015, members of Permata Gayo took time out of their busy harvest season to participate in a quality control workshop sponsored by Cooperative Coffees. Joe Lozano of Third Coast Coffee assisted with cuppings of coffee samples, to assess the beans' taste, aroma and body. Sample roastings and cuppings provide them with a keen awareness of the results of their efforts.
Permata Gayo farmers are proud that customers throughout the world appreciate the sweet, earthy flavors and full body of their coffee.
Added in 2015 to the Third Coast selection when it first became available in America, this coffee is grown by the farmers of the Bolaven Pateau in southern Laos.
The Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers Cooperative, or CPC, was created in 2007 to gain better market access for small scale producers who, previously, had been very dependent on local traders and low prices.
Supported initially by the French Agency for Development,
CPC has expanded its fair trade partners to now include our import collective, Cooperative Coffees.
The Fair Trade Premium has funded a clinic in the Bolaven Plateau and housing for its doctors. CPC is also building an eco-tourism program, where guests may stay in a charming lodge in this beautiful region of southern Laos, meet the farmers and directly participate in the coffee farming culture.
The coffee from Bolaven CPC has a surprisingly heavy body, almost silky and creamy on the tongue.
Its flavor is long-lasting and delicious.