Roasting at origin - essentially roasting raw coffee beans at the farm where they are picked - is becoming more commonplace throughout the coffee world, and is something that benefits us all.
For the longest time, coffee roasters in consumer countries have played a key part in the process. After all, they have been the ones roasting the brown magic bean we’ve come to love as part of our morning ritual.
But roasting at origin, fresh off the farm has benefits for just about everyone in the coffee chain and is something that we at Himalayan Coffee Importers are proud to support. Nepal is a young and budding specialty coffee economy - the Himalayan gem has a unique combination of growing conditions that produce a rare coffee.
Throwing these freshly picked beans in a burlap sack for transcontinental transport from Nepal, only to roast them three to four weeks later impacts everyone from our growers all the way to the consumer. So what exactly are the benefits of roasting coffee fresh off the farm?
- It puts more money in the pockets of those growing the coffee
Roasting requires expensive machinery, skilled labor, and an understanding of the science behind the bean. When our growers in Nepal roast the fruits of their labor, they add value to their end product, putting more money in the pockets of the women that pick the beans, and this creates an economic ripple effect.
- It strengthens Nepal’s coffee sector as a whole
Roasting takes time, skill, and hours upon hours of practice. When growers have the ability to roast right off the farm, it creates a knowledge ripple effect where other farmers can learn and ultimately move Nepal’s coffee industry toward independence where rare Himalayan coffees can be perfected by those that produce it.
- Oh, and then there is the whole taste component
The moment coffee cherries are picked off the trees, it’s a race against the clock. Think of it as fresh fruit. The longer you wait to consume it, the more likely it is that the truest flavors fade away. Coffee is exactly the same and roasting at origin can preserve the natural and unique characteristics of each geography. So for our rare Himalayan coffees from Nepal, we choose to roast right off the farm to preserve the special characteristics that make coffee from Nepal such a treasure.
- It cuts out supply chain middle men and shifts power dynamics
The coffee supply chain is in an ongoing effort to cut down the number of transactions to put more money in the pockets of farmers and give you a better cup of coffee. If farmers have roasting capability, they spend less time looking for someone to buy their raw coffee and more time improving the taste of the final product. We trust our growers in Nepal, have seen firsthand how roasting on-site gives them greater control of their coffee, and makes us happy to share true Himalayan coffee with you.
- It strengthens the global coffee sector as a whole
We mentioned earlier that knowledge is power. Roasting at origin by farmers means training them and equipping them not only with machinery but with knowledge. The more ideas floating around means a greater collaboration of trade secrets and ultimately a more inclusive coffee sector. Farmers aren’t simply forced to sell raw beans to the lowest bidder because they can craft the end product that ends up in your cup.
When we chose to work with Plantec Coffee Estate in Nepal, many of these principles influenced our decision to roast at origin. Himalayan coffee is rarity that should be cultivated and roasted by those that know it best.
We’re proud to help move Nepal’s coffee industry toward social and economic inclusiveness - and choosing to roast at origin is not only about giving you a better bean, but about creating a more equitable cup of coffee that is good for all involved.