“Carefully sourced, skillfully roasted & freshly delivered” are three phrases we use to describe our business. For this blog I want to look into this statement and discuss what it means to us, a small coffee roastery in Northern Ireland.
Ethics are important to us at Belfast Coffee Roasters. We want to deliver quality coffee to our customers but only at a fair price. When we buy raw coffee, we think it’s important that everyone involved in growing, harvesting, and distributing is paid in an honest and open way. For this to happen we need a transparent relationship with our supply chain.
‘Carefully sourced’ is a term we hold ourselves to. It means we don’t want to rip-off coffee farmers in a race to the bottom, roasting cheap beans at the expense of the people who produced them.
When our coffee roastery in Northern Ireland buy raw beans from a farm in say Brazil, we lock-in and secure an agreed supply over 12 months through a wholesaler. As we draw down a quantity, we pay the wholesaler. Typically, in the coffee industry, it’s not uncommon for the farmer or producer to have to wait months for payment.
We weren’t comfortable with this relationship as we had no sight of the price a farmer was getting paid or how long they had to wait for payment.
After spending a bit of time looking at different wholesalers we joined the Algrano coffee community in 2019. Algrano put us directly in touch with specialty coffee farmers around the world. Openness and fairness underpin everything they stand for and it’s something we hold close to our hearts also.
Using Algrano’s platform, both coffee roasters and coffee farmers have exactly the same access to the price breakdown of the beans in your cup.
On average, a producer who sells through Algrano receives 65% of the price a roaster pays them. The rest goes towards haulage and shipping, insurance, exporting and the Algrano service fee. Farmers know exactly how much a roaster is paying for their beans and they can clearly see the breakdown of fees along the way.
The farmer receives full payment immediately, as soon as we sign this contract and we can message the farmer through Algrano’s platform to make sure they are happy.
To us, this level of transparency is second to none. For our customers we hope it makes the beans coming out of Belfast Coffee Roasters taste that extra bit sweeter knowing that everyone who's contributed along the way is recognised fairly and recompensed.
You can read more about Algrano here: https://www.algrano.com/en
And just for our fellow coffee nerds... If you want to hear more about Algrano's work there's a 30-minute podcast here which we quite liked.