Hosted by InConexus and Royal Coffee Inc. from the 24th to the 28th of August
InConexus is always striving to create significant and measurable value alongside the communities that converge with the business. This is what we call our Shared Value and it is the core of the company.
For us, adding value only to our products or processes doesn’t seem quite enough. Thus, we are constantly developing projects that can be valuable for all the actors involved in the chain of production.
Last week we hosted, next to our partner Royal Coffee, the Mejor de Nariño event: a cupping contest and auction aiming to connect different clients from all over the world with the coffee growers of the Nariño department in Colombia. We believe that transparency in the purchase model is essential to create long-term bonds in order to ensure a positive impact in the communities, and we wanted to create a space where this transparency could be experienced.
These 5 days were revealing for all of the attendees. The InConexus’ team, clients and coffee growers were witnesses of what these kind of initiatives can accomplish. All of the actors mentioned were able to see the story behind coffee –which most of the times is hidden or shortened– and found the value of each one of them within the chain.
On the 24th of August all of the clients started to arrive. They represented companies such as Counter Culture Coffee, Anderson Coffee, Iconik coffee, Backporch coffee roasters, Volta Coffee, Mitsubishi corp., Little owl coffee, Willoughby’s coffee & tea, La Cabra coffee, Mr. Espresso and Caffè Fantastico, which were all amazing partners and judges during the event.
We were super excited for having them with us in the beautiful town of Buesaco in the northeast of Nariño, where our regional hub is located. We selected this location because of the big amount of coffee crops that are grown in those amazing mountains, and because most of the samples we received for the contest were from there. That day we had a great time meeting with everyone and preparing ourselves for the long-working sessions the next few days.
On the 25th of August the real deal started. Our first cupping session took place, and all of the international judges were really into selecting the best 20 coffees out of the 30 prepared for the session (these 30 coffees had been pre-selected by the quality team from InConexus out of 300 samples received in the past months). After enjoying these coffees, we spent the afternoon visiting some farms in the region of Medina Espejo. The aim of these visits was to let the clients meet the coffee growers and to spend some time with them in their homes. The coffee growers felt important and special, which was also an objective: to let them know how important they are for the business and encourage them to keep improving, because the ability to enjoy some amazing coffees around the world, depends on them!
The morning of the 26th our second and third cupping sessions were the main actors. At 14:00h, our judges had selected the best 20 and 10 coffees and had completed all of their notes regarding the characteristics of the coffees, which were vital information for the auction. In the afternoon we had a lunch with the coffee growers of the best 30 cups in the beautiful estate of Flor del Campo. This was an incredible opportunity for both parts: on one hand, the coffee growers had the chance to meet the people that buy their coffees and to talk to them about the final destination of their hard work; on the other hand, the clients were able to see the origin of the coffees they would buy, and not only talk to them but to give them advise about what they could improve in order to make their coffee better and their activity much more productive.
This day was special as well because of the coffee exchange we had. All of the clients brought a bag of coffee from their companies in order to show the coffee growers what they were looking for. Our barista, Steven Martinez next to Katie Carguilo, barista champion in 2012, were in charge of preparing the coffees and of teaching the coffee growers about them. It was a great time to exchange not only coffees but knowledge and love.
On Saturday 27th we made a small tour around Pasto, the capital of Nariño. We believe it is not only important to taste and enjoy coffees but also to learn about the culture and the people behind them. Knowing this is helpful to understand more of the story behind coffee and to see from a different point of view what a coffee is really about. That same day we had our closure event, next to coffee growers, clients and some other allies: we had an incredibly exciting auction. The top 20 coffees were auctioned and sold! Everyone was really excited of being able to buy and sell these coffees.
Then, we had our awards ceremony where we gave prices to our top 10 coffee growers to highlight their effort and dedication in producing high-quality coffees. The main purpose of this ceremony was to encourage coffee growers to keep working with love and passion, while showing them that there is people all around the world who are interested in them because they are valuable. In the words of Bob Fulmer from Royal Cofeee, “this was one of the most exciting days of my life”. A memorable day for everyone indeed.
Finally, on the 28th we had a whole day dedicated to visiting the farms from where the clients had purchased the coffee. Most of the farms in the top 20 were visited, and only the ones that were too far had to be skipped this time. Everyone got the chance to meet the coffee growers and the estate from where their coffee came, which was a revealing experience for everyone attending the event.
Each one of the activities aimed to strengthen our shared value principle by joining all of the parts in the value chain. Everyone is important, from the coffee grower to the client, and we want to make sure that everyone is aware of their role to be always better and better. InConexus will keep working in developing sustainability from the seed to the cup not only in Nariño but in Colombia.