ORIGIN STORIES: RESILIENCE DURING THE PANDEMIC
Words by 49th Green Coffee Buyer, David Pohl
MEET: Benjamin Paz
Specialty Coffee Manager at Beneficio San Vicent (BSV)
This relationship has flourished for over 10 years, with visits each year to the spectacular Santa Barbara region a couple of hours from San Pedro Sula, to engage with the Benjamin and other producer/partners
This year we have developed a new way of sourcing coffee that continues to strengthen our commitment to our partners in Honduras.
Well, this is anything but a normal year as we face a historic global pandemic that has put coffee farming communities around the world, including in Honduras, at tremendous risk both in terms of public health and economically, not to mention grounding all international travel, making our hands-on, face to face approach to sourcing coffee impossible. Luckily, through the miracle of WhatsApp, Zoom and other technologies, along with the tremendous goodwill and partnership we have built with BSV over more than a decade, we have weathered the disruption well, have developed a new way of sourcing coffee that continues to strengthen our commitment to our partners in Honduras, and as a result, we will have new crop coffees shipping to Vancouver in the coming months.
"The Long term investments 49th has made in BSV and vice versa, really pays off when the going gets tough - we are there for each other and are willing to go the extra mile. This is what specialty coffee is all about, this is the definition of sustainability." - David Pohl, Green Coffee Buyer
This has been a challenging year for BSV, as customers around the world adjust their green coffee needs during the pandemic and resulting economic downturn. But BSV had made it clear that they are in this for the long haul, and that through partnerships such as that with 49th, we will all come out of this stronger. I couldn't agree more or feel more passionately about this sentiment. On the other hand, this is a tumultuous year for 49th Parallel, as it is for many coffee roasting business, and we have had to carefully assess our needs from all origin, including Honduras, in response to the volatile economic situation. Throughout this process,, we have made it clear that we deeply value our relationship with BSV and understand that our sourcing has a direct impact on the livelihoods of the producers we are proud to call our friends and partners. We have therefore recommitted to all of our core producers for the 2020 harvest, buying virtually all of the coffee that they have delivered to BSV. Some of these BSV lots are available now such as auction winning La Arianita from out partner Kevin Pineda and many more in the coming months.
While the pandemic will eventually pass, and we will get back to traveling regularly to visit our great friends in Honduras, I am grateful in the meantime for the technology we have at our disposal that has allowed me to get to know Benjamin, BSV and some of our producer partners in a meaningful way. I have also been struck by the fact that the long term investments 49th has made in BSV and vice versa, really pays off when the going gets tough - we are there for each other and are willing to go the extra mile to show our support. This is what specialty coffee is all about, this is the definition of sustainability and this is at the heart of the 49th soucing philosophy.
Thank you Benjamin Paz & your team at BSV for your perseverance and teamwork through this difficult time.