Allegro Coffee

Origin Direct Program

Origin Direct Program

Launched in 2006, our Origin Direct program (formerly Special Reserve Program) highlights an exceptional, limited-release coffee every quarter. We’ve worked to sustain the long-term livelihood of small farmers and grower co-ops for more than 30 years. They’ve simply cared about how they produce great coffee.

We help support these conscientious co-ops by providing $10,000 donations to growers to complete much-needed community based projects in education, health care, agricultural programs and farm development. By working with our farmers, our goal is to identify and support community programs that make a substantive difference in the lives of real people.

After all, they are the reason our coffee is substantially different than the rest.

El Salvador Shangri-La

THE PROJECT
Allegro’s $10,000 donation will be used to provide access to electricity and water to improve living conditions for coffee pickers during harvest season.
While electricity is being brought to the Canton—a group of approximately 100 houses—it is not being brought directly into the farm. Our donation will provide electricity to the four houses on the farm—two of the houses are inhabited on a year-round basis, and the other two houses are used during the harvest season for the coffee pickers (since it is too remote for them to travel back and forth from their homes in the lowlands).
Another portion of our donation will help purchase and install storage tanks for potable water. Currently, water must be trucked in barrels from the mill. The needed water is used for drinking and cooking—especially during harvest when there are larger groups of coffee pickers staying at the farm.

ABOUT THE FARM 
The Larin family has been an Allegro partner for many years. Their two most prized farms, El Tesoro and Shangri-La, are located in the Sonsanate region of Western El Salvador near the quaint town of Juayua.  Access to the farm is from a mountainous dirt road. Views from this road reach as far as the Pacific Ocean, and once you reach the farm you can see as far away as Honduras and Guatemala.
Approximately 120 acres of the farm is cultivated with coffee. The balance of the farms, approximately 200 acres, is untouched highland rainforest that ends at the base of a volcanic crater.  During the rainy season (May - October) the crater fills with water and becomes a shallow lagoon, La Laguna de las Ranas (The Frog Lagoon).  The frogs hatch as the rains start falling, and you can see thousands and thousands of frogs jumping around in the shallow part of the lagoon as you approach. It is truly a beautiful natural sight!

Organic Café La Dueña 2014

PROJECT INFO The recipient, Grounds for Health, is a nonprofit that we have partnered with for the past decade. Grounds for Health’s mission is to create sustainable and effective cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs in coffee-growing communities. Their goal is to decreaseincidence of cervical cancer by empowering communities to take proactive steps in their health and well-being.

ABOUT THE FARM A blend from small-holder women farmers in Oaxaca Mexico and San Ignacio Peru. Normally the women’s beans were mixed with their male counterparts’ in their respective co-ops to make many fine coffee lots. However, we noticed over the years that women’s coffee often outshines the men’s.  That, and the fact that historically female coffee growers received little recognition for their hard work, we decided to ask that beans be separated to make a women's super lot. Café La Dueña is the end result.

Guatemala Huitz Matig

Guatemala Huitz Matig is an Origin Direct coffee and is grown at Finca Huitz Matig.  This is a third-generation family farm in the northwestern Huehuetenango region of Guatemala. The name Huitz Matig means High Mountain in the Mayan Mam dialect. Nestled in the Cuchumatanes mountain region this 157 hectare farm ranges in elevation between 5000-6000 feet. 90 hectares of the total farm area is set aside as a natural forest reserve which protects the farm’s water springs. The farm's wet mill is run off of a small hydroelectric turbine with water from one of their springs. The Altuve family grows a mixture of about 60% Bourbon variety coffee along with some Catura, Pache, and Catimor varieties as well.

 With our $10,000 donation Huitz Matig is going to rebuild a wet mill on the higher elevation slopes of the farm. This will increase the speed (and thus improve overall quality) at which the coffee is processed after picking.

 

 

 

Los Niños 2013

This blend is from Fair Trade certified cooperatives in Latin America. It will be the first Origin Direct coffee with project money going to Coffee Kids. Through Allegro’s partnership with Coffee Kids, we are donating $10,000 to enable 80 families to improve the quality of their land by applying better land management techniques. The end goal is to provide the families with the proper tools to increase their food sovereignty.

Nicaragua Selva Negra 2013

ABOUT THE FARM Allegro has partnered with Selva Negra Estate in Matagalpa, Nicaragua since the early 1990's. Eddy and Mausi Kuhl were doing 'sustainable' coffee way before certifications became popular and sought-after, because they believed it was the right thing to do both for the environment and the workers on the farm. The size of the farm is 1500 acres with one third reserved as virgin forest, one third used for shade grown coffee and the remaining third for other projects including a rotational grazing system for cattle, organic horticulture, worm composting, cocoa production, and an organic mushroom project which provides an additional food source for workers on the farm. The coffee sections—or plantillos—are above 4000 feet and are planted with a mix of Bourbon and Caturra varieties. After harvesting (Nov-Feb) the coffee cherries are traditionally wet milled and fermented on the farm and then the resulting wet parchment coffee is taken off site to a sunny valley where the Selva Negra dry mill is located to be fully sun dried on cement patios. Thecoffee is then milled and sorted by density, bean size, and color and made ready for shipment to the U.S.

ABOUT THE DONATION The Kuhl's are continually making improvements on the farm to increase their coffee quality and their social and environmental standards. The funds from the Origin Direct donation will be used to purchase a generator which converts methane gas produced during coffee processing into electricity to power the wet mill and kitchens during the coffee harvest season. This not only helps reduce the carbon footprint of the farm, but provides Selva Negra with a stable system to generate renewable energy in the long term.

Peru Cecovasa

THE PROJECT:  Our $10,000 donation will support the Committee for the Development of Women (CODEMU) in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in Peru through training and local programming. The funds will also help support the youth program by providing learning and business tools to young men and women.  These programs give the communities some new ways of expanding their economic stability in what are otherwise poor, agricultural communities.


ABOUT THE FARM: The Central Agricultural Cooperative of the Sandia Valley (CECOVASA) was founded in 1970 by five cooperatives to export directly together and thus obtain better prices and cost sharing. The group now has 5,325 cooperative producers. CECOVASA exports more than 75% of the coffee produced in the Inambari and Tambopata Valleys on the southeastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes. The native groups are comprised of Aymara and Quechua and they have lived and farmed the Sandia Valley for generations. CEPROCEC is a sub-cooperative of CECOVASA. CEPROCEC includes 579 families and is located in Yanatile District, Calca Province in the Department of Cusco. In order to promote and protect women's roles in rural society, CECOVASA established the Committee for the Development of Women (CODEMU), which provides a forum for discussion and training on topics such as first aid, leadership, gender roles and animal husbandry. The committee's goal is to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. More than 775 women participate in CODEMU.

Organic Los Niños Blend

Organic Los Niños Blend is our featured Origin Direct for the holidays. A blend of beans from two stellar Fair Trade co-ops, Mexico's Grapos co-op located in southern state of Chiapas and Nicaragua's Canta Gallo co-op located in northern Las Segovias region. The Grapos co-op is made up of 888 members whose farms create a buffer zone for both the Triunfo and Tacana Volcano Biospheres and is also certified by the Smithsonian Institute as Bird-Friendly. Canta Gallo is a small community with a co-op made up of a total of 111 members, 56 of whom are women, and belongs to the big umbrella coffee union called Prodecoop. The money from this Origin Direct promotion will be given to the Coffee Kids organization which works in both communities.

Organic Colombia Organica

The 125 members of the Organica cooperative (Association de Productores Organicos del Cauca) are located outside the towns of Popayan, Piendamo, Tambo, and Timbio in the mountainous Cauca region of southern Colombia. This group has been organically certified since 2005 and the farms range in size from 1 to 20 hectares. This specific coffee lot comes from the 40 producers located in El Tambo. Over this last year Allegro has helped fund the work of agronomists for this sub-group to look at issues related to organic production capacity, organic pest management, organic compost building, and diseases mitigation practices.

Café UBUNTU

Café UBUNTU comes from great coffee producing countries within the “Great Lakes” region of Africa. Succulent coffee cherries are picked and the beans are roasted to bring out a deep and syrupy cup.

Allegro’s $10,000 donation will be used by CTC International to further their mission to empower communities in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. CTC International is a non-profit organization working diligently to create solutions to needs in five specific areas: education, environment, economy, health and community. Each area directly impacts the community as a whole and each is interrelated to the success of one another.

Organic Honduras 2013

The farms of the 106 members of COCASAM (Cooperativa Cafetalera Sanmarqueña) are located in the mountains outside of San Marcos de Colón, in the south of Honduras. The co-op borders the Botija National Preserve where the farms serve as a buffer zone for its conservation. In these mountains the coffee grows at an elevation range of 1200-1700 meters resulting in a slow bean maturation for a sweeter taste. The cooperative has been certified organic since 2002; as of now 100% of their production is organic.

The Allegro sourcing team organized a cupping competition with members of the co-op. The top lots from this competition combine to make this featured selection. Along with the distinction of having the highest cupping scores, each winning farmer receives a portion of our $10,000 donation to reinvest in their farms, ensuring their continued ability to produce high quality coffee. 

 

Nicaragua El Jaguar

El Jaguar is located atop the Isabelia Mountain Range in the finest coffee growing region of Nicaragua. The farm sits in a tropical cloud forest that is home to rare orchids, more than 280 species of birds and the elusive sloth. George and Jean Yves Duriaux—the father and son growers—use traditional milling and hand-sorting techniques to produce a truly artisan coffee, while maintaining sustainable practices that support the lush and diverse plant and animal populations that are part of the farm.

Allegro’s $10,000 donation will be used by the farm to purchase an eco-friendly coffee pulper. This machine efficiently separates the coffee bean from the skin or “husk” so that the husk can be used later as compost around the farm. 

Organic Peru Codemu Women's Group

Special Reserve coffees represent the best in farm, flavor and shared fate. We work with the growers to identify a coffee that best represents their region and a project that will benefit their coffee growing community. We roast that coffee to perfection and also donate $10,000 to the project.

Our Organic Peru Codemu Women's Group coffee is grown by the CODEMU women’s group of the Aprocassi co-op. CODEMU (Comité de Mujeres de Aprocassi) was formed in 2009 and currently has 72 members. They are committed to improving the lives of the women members of the Aprocassi Cooperative. These women also roast part of their coffee for local sale under the name Santuario—which means Sanctuary—in reference to the nearby Tabacones Namballe Reserve. 

Allegro Coffee Company's $10,000 donation will be used by CODEMU to fund a project focused on nutrition and food security for the families of the cooperative. CODEMU, in partnership with Aprocassi, will use the funds to implement a small store, dubbed the Minikart which is roughly 15 meters by 5 meters. The Minikart will provide an accessible supply of provisions and nutritional food to the women of CODEMU at a discount of roughly 10% below the prices they could get at markets located much farther away. Having a dependable, year-round supply of quality products is essential for co-op members who experience annual cycles of decreased income and low access to food during the thin months, las vacas flacas, from January to April.

 

Organic Colombia Café Organica

Special Reserve coffees represent the best in farm, flavor and shared fate. We work with the growers to identify a coffee that best represents their region and a project that will benefit their coffee growing community. We roast that coffee to perfection and also donate $10,000 to the project.

Our Organic Colombia Café Organica is grown by the 110 members of the Association de Productores Organicos del Cauca cooperative—located outside the towns of Popayan, Piendamo, Tambo, and Timbio in the mountainous and fertile Cauca region of southern Colombia. Allegro's $10,000 donation will be used by the cooperative to fund agronomists to help increase yields, train and educate their growers, improve their drying patios, and strengthen their administrative, commercial and entrepreneurial capacities.

Los Niños Blend

Coffee Kids' mission is to work with coffee-farming families to improve their lives and livelihoods. To this end, their staff works with local organizations in Latin America to create programs in education, health awareness, microcredit and food security in coffee-farming communities. These efforts allow coffee farmers to reduce their dependence on the volatile coffee market and confront the most pressing community needs.

Coffee Kids partners with local organizations in coffee regions that work directly with coffee communities. Their partners provide technical resources, training, and follow-through to communities to implement grass-roots projects. They provide the resources that enable partners and their communities to put their vision into action. Coffee Kids facilitates idea-sharing exchanges between project participants and other organizations to find solutions to common problems. All projects are designed by community members and based on their needs and priorities.

 

Organic Ethiopian Adado

This coffee is grown in the high elevation region of Yirgacheffe, in the remote Adado community. An organically certified co-op, Adado has nearly 3000 members who maintain back yard-sized gardens of coffee that, altogether, total 2105 hectares. Traditionally, beans exported as Yirgacheffe are fully wet processed, a method that leads to clean, lighter-bodied flavor. The result is a coffee with increased intensity: a unique fusion of light citrus notes, crisp acidity, and flavors of mixed stone fruits like apricot, plum and cherry. 

Peru Frontera Cooperative

Formed in the 1960s, the Frontera de San Ignacio cooperative is one of the oldest and most unified coffee co-ops in northern Peru, With a long commitment to provide sustainable livelihood to its members, the Frontera co-op has stayed true to its goal of improving the quality of life for its farming partners and their families.

The 340 member farms of the Frontera co-op average 3 hectares in size, and employ eco-friendly agricultural practices in their coffee growing—the cooperative is both organic and fair trade certifiied. 

Organic Honduras San Marcos

On one of our travels down to San Marcos de Colon in Honduras to COCASAM—a 63 member cooperative—we helped organize a cupping competition between all of the growers to find the top coffees for our Special Reserve. Our original thought was to choose the top 10 coffees, but these growers were so incredible we actually came away with coffees from 16 amazing farms. Organizing a competition at origin like this is an Allegro first and we are so excited to share the winning coffees with you and have you meet the people there. These farmers are the true rock stars of specialty coffee! See if you can taste a difference between their coffees!

The farmer’s microlot number is printed near the barcode on the back of each 12 oz. bag.

LOT #27 Ramon Victor Ordoñez
Ramon Victor Ordoñez, a current member of the directive board of producers of COCASAM, is planning a transition to organic manure fertilization throughout his farm, and is working on replacing coffee trees that have been lost in the last decade.

LOT #12 Luis Ramón Tercero
Luis Ramón Tercero comes from a family with a rich history of coffee growing expertise. With his brother Jose Andrés and son Juan Carlos, he also produces tomatoes and tilapia and manages a vermicompost program. Don Luis also runs a small wet mill that provides services to other smaller coffee producers for a friendly, low price. He’s recently acquired a depulper machine, which will help increase his production.

LOT #56 Cesar Eleazar Betancourt
Cesar Eleazar Betancourt is new to the coffee business; he inherited his land from his family in 2003. Though the total extension of his farm is about 210 hectares, 190 of those consist of protected forest. Cesar will replant 7 new hectares of bourbon and buy approximately 7000 new coffee trees. Though he’s not pruned his crop in the past, he’s seen the positive results the practice has brought to many other producers, and plans to do his first selective prune after harvest.

LOT #29 Pedro Ramón Tercero
Only 8.4 of the beautiful 210 hectares owned by Pedro Ramón Tercero are currently dedicated to coffee—the majority of his land is made up of a mix of protected reserve and pasture land rented to cattle owners for extra income. However, he intends to increase his farm in size and production by nearly 50% in the near future, through the planting of 9000 new coffee trees on 3 hectares of newly dedicated land.

LOT #32 José Aristides Maradiaga
Jose Arstides Maradiaga recently suffered a brain hemorrhage, which sadly left him without the ability to speak and think clearly. Because of this, his eldest son José Luís Maradiaga (pictured) has taken over the farm’s management. Balancing the needs of his father’s health with the continued development and growth of his microlot coffee farm is a challenge for Jose. Nonetheless, he is determined to begin a pruning cycle on his farm, as well as expand its production by preparing an unused portion of the farmland for the planting of new coffee trees.

LOT #16 Jose Andrés Tercero
Jose Andrés Tercero owns one of the most beautiful farms of the region, comprised of 182 hectares, only 9 of which are dedicated to coffee. (The remainder of his land is part of a protected forest reserve.) This year, Jose is dedicated to the application of organic manure farm wide, as well as the inception of a five-year pruning cycle. He is also hoping to expand his farm through the acquisition of a neighboring lot, where he would like to plant bourbon.

LOT #31 Michelle Corrales Guevara
Michelle Corrales Guevara currently lives in the U.S., and depends on his uncle, Ricardo Corrales, to make his farm’s day-to-day operational decisions. Ricardo is very excited about transitioning a part of the farm from conventional to organic, and is working on sourcing and buying organic compost to fertilize most of the farm.

LOT #41 Angel Enrique Sandoval
Angel Enrique Sandoval plans to buy new trees to replant areas of his farm that have been lost in years past; he also hopes to renovate his old plantation by initiating a new three-year pruning cycle. The experience of bringing his special microlot to Allegro Coffee Company has heightened Angel’s awareness of the value of his coffee. He’s dedicated to devoting more time and energy to improving its quality, and is currently working to buy more land to increase his farm size and production.

LOT #50 Marco Antonio Ponce
Marco Antonio Ponce is starting a tissue management program that will include the strategic pruning and replanting of some areas of his farm. Marco also recently reclaimed 2 hectares of nearby abandoned land and prepared it with 5000 new plants to increase his coffee production. He’s currently building a wire fence around the perimeter of his property that will help secure his coffee during harvest season.

LOT #52 Juan Carlos Tercero
Juan Carlos Tercero has been growing coffee all of his life; it was only when he was given a small piece of land by his father (also a coffee grower), that he has known the first-hand challenges and rewards of owner/farmer/grower. With his father and uncle, Juan Carlos manages a cattle herd, raises tilapia, produces tomatos, and has a vermicompost program. On his own microlot coffee farm, he is planning to initiate a three-year pruning cycle.

LOT #40 Eugenia Valladares
Eugenia Valladares has been working with coffee for the past decade. She is a very enthusiastic woman, and an active member of the directive board of the local co-op. Eugenia is devoted to upgrading her small, rustic wet mill and building a better home for her new depulper machine—one with a stand made of bricks and cement, and a zinc roof to protect it from rain. Eugenia will also prune her coffee plantation over a period of three years at the end of next harvest.

LOT #21 Pablo René Rodriguez
Pablo Rene Rodriguez produces coffee on only 3 of his 7-hectares; the rest of the land is currently not used for farming. However, he hopes to change that very soon, and is preparing to plant over 10,000 new coffee trees on the 4 unused hectares. He is also planning to replace shade trees that were lost in 1998, during hurricane Mitch.

LOT #6 Juana Ramona Guillen
Though Juana Ramona Guillen has been involved with coffee all of her life, she has a new interest in pruning methods, which she learned through sessions with the local co-op. She is now devoted to the initiation of a three-year pruning cycle on her own microlot farm.

LOT #18 Daniel Antonio Ordoñez
Daniel Antonio Ordones has been producing coffee for the past 35 years, though he recently reduced his farm’s size by a third when he passed part of it to his three sons. His dedication to farming includes a personal garden, where he grows vegetables for his own family’s consumption. He also runs a small cattle farm. Daniel’s plans for his microlot coffee include focused pruning and shade management over the next five years; as well as a farm-wide transition to organic fertilization.

Organic Nicaragua Canto Gallo

Famous for the excellent quality of the coffee it produces, the Canta Gallo organic cooperative was founded in 1983. The individual farms are very small, with an average size 2 manzanas (1.4 hectares or 3.5 acres). With a remarkably balanced makeup (of 111 members, 56 are women and 55 are men), the cooperative also provides the main income for the surrounding community of about 850 people.

Organic Ecuador Espindola 2009

Espindola is produced by the 311 members of the Procafeq cooperative, one of the five associations that make up Ecuador’s small southern coffee federation. The coffee plots are a blend of Typica, Bourbon, and Caturra varietals handpicked and wet milled on each farm, although one group of 15 families collectively mills their coffee cherry at a centralized mill. After milling, the beans are fully sun dried and rested before being sent to the Federation’s new dry mill in Catamaya for hulling, sorting, and quality evaluation.

Organic Guatemala Finca La Quebrada

Finca La Quebrada is a beautiful organic farm located in the Fraijanes region of Guatemala. Catuai variety Arabica is grown at elevations between 4800 and 5200 feet. Nearly 75% of the farm is a forest of over 20 documented types of indigenous and fruit trees. The coffee is grown under 39 hectares of nourishing and protective shade provided by the extensive canopy. 111 hectares are set aside as a forest preserve. The farm utilizes manure and worm compost for its organic fertilizer in its coffee plots and nursery. 

Organic Guatemala La Magnolia

Finca La Magnolia sits on a verdant mountainside on the border between the departments of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango in the rugged mountains of western Guatemala. The farm looks out to the 9000ft Lacandón Volcano, which occasionally blows ash out across the coffee trees, contributing healthy nutrients to soil. 

The owner, Sr. Julio Gonzales Gamarra, grows 90% Bourbon and 10% Caturra variety coffee trees under a managed-canopy of Inga shade trees. Rich red worm compost created from cow manure is mixed with the dried cherry pulp and used as the organic fertilizer for the coffee plants which are grown on about 45 hectares. 

The farm produces around 400 bags of coffee a year of which Allegro is the exclusive buyer. La Magnolia is certified organic by OCIA and is transitioning to Rainforest Alliance certification as well.

Ethiopian Sidamo Titira

The Titira cooperative is located just south of the Great Rift Valley in the region of Sidamo. The high elevation of the Sidamo region and specifically of the Titira community contributes to the intense aromatic characteristics of the coffee.

Organic Ecuador Espindola 2008

Espindola is produced by the 311 members of the Procafeq cooperative, one of the five associations that make up Ecuador’s small southern coffee federation. The coffee plots are a blend of Typica, Bourbon, and Caturra varietals handpicked and wet milled on each farm, although one group of 15 families collectively mills their coffee cherry at a centralized mill. After milling, the beans are fully sun dried and rested before being sent to the Federation’s new dry mill in Catamaya for hulling, sorting, and quality evaluation.