The following is the first of a series of Coffee Buying Impact reports written by our Director of Coffee, Jessica Sheridan. Our goal in publishing these reports is to articulate for our employees, partners, and guests the global impact we can have through Farm To Cup coffee sourcing and purchasing.
San Miguel is one of the first producing partners we found as we began to build our Farm to Cup sourcing model. An overview of that partnership will fittingly launch our series of blog posts that reflect on the positive impact of our buying partnerships. When I began working at Stone Creek our relationship with San Miguel Coffees was in its infancy. It’s been incredible to watch our partnerships, including San Miguel Coffees, grow and flourish over the past several years. What started as a visit to their farm in Antigua, Guatemala in 2013 has now turned into a relationship that is just 3 years short of a decade.
San Miguel Coffees is the all-encompassing brand for a group of family-owned farms and processing mills, which include San Sebastian, El Tempixque, and the San Miguel Wet Mill. The San Miguel Mill has relationships with over 50 other small farms in the Antigua valley and beyond, and acts as a receiving station for their coffees. Since our initial visit in 2013, we have worked with them as a fixed price partner on a year to year basis, contracting at least one container of their coffee per year since 2014. The coffee we purchase from their farm, San Sebastian, has continuously been roasted as our year-round staple, Ring of Fire Guatemala. We have also purchased coffee from the various farmers from the Antigua region which deliver their cherry to the San Miguel mill and have used it as our 3 Volcanoes Dark Guatemala offering. We are currently using a light roast profile of San Sebastian as our Ring of Fire and a dark roast profile of San Sebastian as our 3 Volcanoes.
The impact that this relationship has is not limited to one party, and the quantifiable impact is quite profound. San Miguel’s permanent workers, as well as the pickers who harvest coffee cherries, are provided with a safe work environment, stable, timely income and access to an on-site school and clinic. San Miguel employs 67 permanent workers and 300-1,000 pickers seasonally during the coffee harvest. While working on the farm, workers are provided with meals, as well as housing for their families. There are currently 102 students enrolled in their on-site school, which has been operational since 1944. The on-site clinic that San Miguel operates has been open for almost 20 years now, and served 1,152 patients in 2019 alone.
In addition to being socially responsible, San Miguel strives to have a positive environmental impact. Their on-site mill implements sustainability practices which include reconstituting the coffee pulp leftover from processing into fertilizer, as well as cleaning the water that is used for processing in in-ground, natural water treatment pools. At their farm, San Sebastian, they also practice environmental conservation by hosting colonies of bees. These are just a few of the things that San Miguel does that sets them apart from others and make us proud to call them our partner.
Every year we send employees that have been with the company for 5+ years on our Employee Celebration Trip to visit Antigua and San Miguel Coffees. Stay tuned for upcoming events in Milwaukee with our friends from San Miguel when they visit in April. You can also expect a Field Report from this year’s trip from our Tasting and Roasting Technician, Chloe Staub.
#BetterTogether #FarmToCup #SanMiguel #Guatemala