Campos Coffee unveils new sourcing principles

Campos Coffee

Campos Coffee unveils its new sourcing principles, which the roaster believes are a key part of developing a true and transparent culture across the specialty coffee supply chain.

Buying quality specialty coffee is at the heart of what Campos Coffee does. The Sydney-based roaster imports specialty coffees from a wide range of origins around the world. Campos Coffee Head of Coffee Adam Matheson says it aims to purchase 100 per cent of its coffee direct, from individual farmers or cooperatives that many smallholder farmers belong to.

“Purchasing direct means that we are determined to achieve a mutually beneficial form of trade with these producers, one that strengthens relationships through discussion and information sharing,” says Adam.

“We have endeavoured to build and cultivate such direct relationships with farmers and producers since we began purchasing direct in 2010, and are gratified to have many of those relationships continuing to this day.”

Campos Coffee’s purchasing philosophy is driven by five core principles: sustainability, quality, long-term relationships, traceability, and transparency.

“We believe that coffee only tastes good when each of these principles is met, and we are proud to consider each of them carefully with every purchase we make,” Adam says.

To drive economic sustainability, Adam says Campos Coffee’s role as a coffee buyer is to help more producers move up the quality spectrum and in turn, increase the price they are paid for their coffee.

“By paying a fair price for quality coffees and by committing to contracts that extend beyond the current harvest season, we believe farmers can reach a level of economic sustainability that not only provides them with a sufficient income but allows them to invest in methods that will improve their quality in the future, and for future generations,” he says.

Campos Coffee advocates for environmental sustainability through green bean exporter Caravela. This is one of its key partners for purchases from Colombia, Peru, and Central America, which has spent more than 20 years working with smallholder farmers throughout Central and South America. Caravela’s Grower Education Program (PECA) for farmers and their children has a mission to engage the next generation of coffee farmers. This is achieved through an analytical and science- based approach to maintaining profitable farm operations, with a focus on quality and sustainability.

“In 2022, Campos Coffee purchased over 41 containers of coffee from Caravela, which equates to over US$180,000 (about AUD$260,000) that went directly to the PECA program,” Adam says.

“We are also mindful of our effect on the environment and seek to lessen our impact. Our Supplier Code of Conduct emphasises pollution prevention, waste minimisation, and environmental impact management.”

To further promote its purchasing philosophy, Adam describes Campos Coffee’s focus on quality as “unyielding”.

“We hold several daily cupping sessions of our roast batches, and we record thorough analysis in these sessions that is used to continually improve roast quality. We also frequently check the physical attributes of the green beans we purchase to ensure they are stored in prime conditions and are used within their peak quality window,” he says.

“In doing this, not only are we able to provide our customers with the perfect cup of coffee every time, but we are also ensuring the efforts of producers to reach their quality goals are followed through on our end in roasting and brewing.”

Campos Coffee is proud of its long- lasting producer partnerships. More than 60 per cent of its coffee is purchased through relationships it has held for more than seven years. Campos Coffee Green Bean Buyer Lloyd Thom recently visited the El Jordan specialty producer group in Tolima, Colombia in July 2023, a group it has partnered with for more than 10 years.

“This was my first trip back to origin since November 2019. For me, it was equal parts surreal and familiar. It felt like coming home. It was really important for me to visit this group as they’re a quintessential example of each of our principles in action,” Lloyd says.

“Prior to 2019, we were conducting four to five trips to origin a year. I was so excited to bring the team back on another origin trip and show them not only the sheer remoteness, but the impossibility and miracle of the journey that coffee goes on.”

Lloyd says the team spends a lot of time on the ground at origin, in some of the most remote places in the world.

“We look at the latest harvest, we roast, we taste, and we work with our partners to find new ways to deliver a better crop than the one before. For us, this is the ultimate win-win. With better crops, our producers receive higher prices, which means greater investment in their communities. We know that impact doesn’t come from paying a good price once. It comes from long-term commitment, consistency, and volume growth over time,” he says.

“We continue to search for new partners in new origins that we can build long-lasting relationships with.”

Campos Coffee values transparency in all relationships, and strives to be honest with both suppliers and customers.

“We are keen to be involved in ensuring producers are paid fairly for their coffee and choose to be active in helping shape a better, more sustainable future for coffee producers, of which we feel transparency plays a key part,” Lloyd says.

It’s important for Campos Coffee to know where its coffee purchases have come from, who spent their time cultivating and processing those coffees, and which communities were involved and impacted.

“We have adhered to this purchasing philosophy since 2010, and we are delighted to have reached a level where over 99 per cent of our coffee purchases come through the direct relationships we have cultivated in that time,” says Adam.

“We believe that purchasing through direct relationships not only stimulates quality but also improves the livelihoods of farmers and producers.”

Lloyd is proud to consider each of Campos Coffee’s sourcing principles in every transaction and relationship he encounters.

“We consider [the sourcing principles] our guiding light and a measure of accountability to hold ourselves to. We think it’s critical for our success and a good example to set. There’s a mutual benefit to all parties involved when we have these principles at the centre of our decision making,” he says.

“It’s a good reflection of what we’re doing and holds us at a high standard that we can aspire to achieve in how we conduct business going forward.”

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This article appears in the October 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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