Relationships and Sourcing
Our sourcing program is a combination of intensive travel, careful trust-building, agronomic expertise and painstaking “cup” qualification.
With perhaps the most variegated coffee-producing regions in the world, Colombia has no shortage of diversity when it comes to terroir. Near the border of Ecuador, the Andean Massif forks into three high-altitude cordilleras that run all the way to the Caribbean Coast. Their volcanic soils are rich in minerals essential for the cultivation of excellent and often exotic coffees, allowing the finest heirloom and hybrid arabica varietals to flourish.
To evaluate potential coffees, we use the internationally recognized “Q Coffee System.” Developed by the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), this system is designed to rate coffees on ten unique but interdependent points, ranging from fragrance and acidity to sweetness and body.
Once a given coffee is singled out for use with Azahar, we begin to cultivate a lasting symbiotic relationship with its grower. By re-visiting the farms we source from with our head agronomist, staging participative cuppings “at origin” and providing year-round feedback from our roasting works' lab, we are able to ensure the ongoing excellence of our offerings.
Rather than following commodity market standards, we award price premiums directly related to the quality of coffee in the cup. This composite effort creates a culture of continuous improvement and competition in our growers’ operations, letting us push the limits of flavor and aroma.
Permanently working at the source is the key to maintaining these relationships, as it does away with the need for intermediaries that interrupt the quality of the supply chain and cut into farmers’ margins. In the process, we continue to uncover some of Colombia’s rarest coffees.
The offerings in each Azahar package are thus representations of the long, hard work of each farmer, as well as the relationships we’ve fostered together. In an industry that is constantly facing economic, environmental and systemic challenges, we are endlessly striving to improve our processes and are always taking greater steps to add more value at the source, putting a premium on relationships and quality above all else.