When it comes to sourcing interesting, rare coffees, auctions play a huge part. These events can provide a great opportunity for farmers to receive recognition for the coffee they are producing, and be discovered by international buyers like Pact. These competitions offer cash prizes and prices in the following auctions are beyond great…they can be astronomical.
For us, securing coffee at auction is a win-win — we know farmers are being paid great prices, and we are able to showcase the best coffees from the best farms. For the last three years, our head of coffee Will has been head-judge at the Colombia Land of Diversity competition. During the judging phase he identified three lots that were very exciting, that he was able to secure at the following auction. Now, we’re ready to launch them.
It’s more than just cash incentives that make auctions so beneficial for farmers. These events represent a coming together for local communities, and so provide a strong social function. On top of that, there’s a great competitive spirit — the distinction that comes with selling coffee at auction can really bring out the best in some farmers, incentivising them to push those last few percent, resulting in some incredible coffees. Also, it’s about relationship building. These farmers know all about Pact, and how well we are able to showcase their work, as well as other roasteries that work in similar ways around the world.
In Colombia alone, we have built relationships with 13 farmers through these competitions you are sure to find familiar that have lasted years. In last November’s (Land of Diversity) competition, Will’s experience was used to help arrange scoring, and maximise profits for farmers, so the risks are reduced for them. They are able to show us what they can do on a small scale, without too much financial outlay, and knowing that we are going to be tasting their coffee encourages them further to enter.
Over the years, this has become so important in helping us set up new supply chains, and branch out into areas we’ve never been before. A relationship forged at an auction can develop in the future as both we and the farm grow, so there’s a strong mutual benefit. In the past we have been able to find farmers willing to work hard in exchange for a great price, and help them optimise to help increase quality, whether that be through education, advice, or equipment. We are all about creating long lasting relationships, illustrated through the many farms you may recognise from their annual appearances on our menu.
There is, of course, a person we’re missing out here: you. What does Pact participating so actively in coffee auctions mean for our customers? How do you benefit? Well, for one, it keeps us on our toes. Constantly meeting new farmers, tasting new coffees, and exploring new regions means we are able to maintain our high standards and offer you the most special coffees at a price that works for everyone.