Meet the Mandates
Share the Love
Love the Bean
Coffee is a commodity that inspires scientists and artists alike! Whether you are captivated by Brix levels or crushing on the queen or king of latte art, coffee welcomes one and all.
For us, we are in hot pursuit of waste reduction and quality improvement technologies at the farm level. We were the first farm in China to introduce laser color sorters at the wet mill. We partnered with Australian company Huskee to pioneer the revolutionary HuskeeCup (see image below). We work directly with scientist Matt Bentley at the University of Colorado to develop new bio-char fertilizers (made from organic coffee waste). We’re experimenting with nascent fermentation practices under the guidance of the legendary Lucia Solis. We’ve even commissioned renowned artists such as Bryon Lippincott and Kiasmin to interpret and represent our coffee in photography and on canvas.
Basically, our mandates authorize and empower us to do everything we can to produce the best possible coffee given our terroir and cultivars. When we say, “Love the Bean,” we don’t just mean that we love drinking amazing coffee – it’s so much more than that – it’s engaging in the coffee production process in such a way that honors the environment, respects the community and relentlessly pursues improvement!
The “sharp end” of the industry
You know how the sharp edge of a knife blade is really thin? That’s what profit margins are like at the production end of the industry. In fact, sometimes the margins are so sharp, you can’t even see them. Hey, let’s do some mathematics together.
In 2018, a Yunnan coffee picker earned $0.40 per kilogram. A cup of coffee from your local cafe uses 20 grams of coffee and costs $3.50 per cup. So, at a per kilo rate, the cafe is receiving $175.00 per kilogram. Now before we freak out about the disparity between $0.40 and $175.00, we must remember that at the production side one kilo of coffee cherry becomes less than 500 grams of roasted coffee due to moisture loss and production waste. Also, at the cafe side, we should also factor in costs such as milk and takeaway cups. While the gap is not as big as it first seems, nevertheless, there is still a significant disparity between available profit margins at the “sharp end” and the other end.
Between the coffee picker and the coffee drinker, there are a lot of ‘middlemen.’ Here is a list of entities that each consume profit margin as the bean journeys from farm to cup. Picker > Farmer > Dry Mill > Exporter > Importer > Roaster > Retailer. Yunnan Coffee Traders resides smack bang in the middle of the supply chain. This gives us a great opportunity to understand and influence what is happening on both sides. We take this opportunity pretty seriously. Naturally, we want to flourish in our own business, but not at the detriment of others in our industry.
If you’re interested in our other mandates, read on. For us, mandates are simple tag-lines that promote integrity, accountability and responsibility as we strive to succeed in our business.
Polish the links
As a company that grows, processes and exports coffee, we have access to quite a few links in the supply chain. Not only are we committed to quality at the farm level, but at every link in which we participate
In practice, this means we collect & analyse data, employ bilingual managers, engage legal expertise, obtain valid invoices for insurance and freight, use contracts based on international standards (e.g., ICO) and personally supervise loading sites. Our desire is to inspire excellence (polish the links) at each stage of the coffee supply chain, even after it leaves our hands!
Engage the community
Yunnan province is an incredibly rich expanse of language, culture and food. While tea is still the dominant crop, coffee has been grown here for more than three decades. As much as we desire to see our expertise in specialty coffee improve local farming practices, we are also here to learn. We’ve learned new agricultural techniques, spoken new languages, tasted new foods (bamboo rat, anyone?), and made new friends.
Engaging the community means doing life together as we strive to bring the best of Yunnan coffee to the global specialty market. We welcome you to visit our Instagram feed (@YunnanCoffeeTraders) for some examples of community engagement in action!
There are over 200 ethno-linguistically distinct people groups in Yunnan province, China.
Enjoy the Journey
This guy called Warren Buffet once said he only did business with, “people whom I like, trust, and admire.” If you don’t know who he is…he’s worth looking up. We’ve tried to follow his advice – he was definitely onto something!
There are so many cool people in the coffee community. We committed early on in our business to working with partners and clients who were super passionate about three things: coffee, community and the planet! We want to be an inspiration but we also need to be inspired. While there’s a mountain of opportunities in every direction, there’s nothing like doing business (and life) in an environment of mutual respect and inspiration!
We regularly host guests from all over the world down on the farms – why not come for a visit?
(Unless you’re a Robusta drinker … just kidding!)