This week sees the second and final installment of our time in Gothenburg “Cracking Certifications” with the Barista League: equipped with a shared foundation and understanding of certifications and their role in the coffee industry from our first installment, we turned our attention to baristas in the second half of “Cracking Certifications” as Steven Moloney (The Barista League) and Rubens Gardelli (Gardelli Specialty Coffees) joined Marcus Scahefer (Rainforest Alliance) and Joanna Alm (Drop Coffee) on the stage: as the consumer-facing link in the coffee chain, what role and responsibility do baristas have in consumer education? More importantly, when we do endeavour to educate consumers, are we truly acting as ambassadors for those whose livelihoods are most impacted by various certifications and trading models?
Coffee Producer Video Submissions from “Cracking Certifications” at The Barista League: Sideline in Gothenburg, in order of appearance:
Carlos Ureña, La Pira De Dota, Costa Rica
(video recorded by Per Nordby of Kafferostare Per Nordby, https://www.pernordby.com/)
Written translation of Carlos Ureña below provided by Roukiat Delrue (IG: @roukiat):
My name is Carlos Ureña and we are in Santa Maria de Dota, in Costa Rica; we are located 1,700 MASL. This farm is named La Pira de Dota. La Pira started in 2002, certified organic at the time and stopped the organic production in 2005.
We started organic production to do something different and simply because of our own conviction. The soil has a lot of rock and very little organic matter – so we wanted to increase the organic matter and at simultaneously work on an organic coffee. Like I said, something different to be able to start. At the time, micromills / microlots did not exist.
Why did we stop with the organic; well, first of all, in cold places, I do not recommend working organic coffee ; because in general terms, plants tend to be slower, much milder than others and hence there is less ‘return’ to the soil, less return of organic matter. That on one side; additionally, at this altitude, we not only produce organic but also quality – and we got paid like any other organic in the country and they were never really willing to recognize quality.
Then in 2006, some people appeared interested in buying microlots, Japanse buyers; they were buying based on quality. Basically, I took that as my opportunity to overcome the ‘tragedy of the organic’ to transition to sell quality instead. That was the situation. I do try to remain nature –friendly, I don’t use chemical pest control, I try to use bio-fertilizers to work, so basically in a way it’s still organic – but not certified. I kept the concept, I kept the lessons, and as I mentioned my own conviction to work in a nature-friendly way.
(What do you expect for the future)
I expect to still improve the soil; I also expect to change some varieties and change them into some that truly adjust to this weather that is so dry and still filled with rocks. I hope to keep working and that in the future my family also keeps working on this so that we can continue this marriage with the coffee buyers – and coffee drinkers!
(and what do you think of certifications)
It depends on which certification! (organic). Certifications tend to be very very demanding, also in economic terms they are very expensive and for us if it’s in the case of organic it’s more expensive, you need more labor, and to pay so much to others I really don’t believe in certifications or not in these.