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The Future of Specialty Coffee & Chocolate Starts Here, Part 3 of 3

Written in collaboration with Honeymoon Chocolates

Welcome back to the 3rd and final part of this collaborative blog series, as Honeymoon Chocolates and Kaldi’s Coffee get together again to talk about the future of specialty coffee and chocolate. 

See Part 1: Where Do Coffee & Chocolate Come From?

See Part 2: How are Coffee and Chocolate Made?

Coffee Latte Art

COMBATTING CHALLENGES, HANDS-ON

Most people would agree these two delicious products of the world’s tropical regions are fantastic on their own, but coffee and chocolate also pair together like few others. However, both chocolate and coffee face enormous challenges, among them climate change, human exploitation, and deforestation. How are we combating these?

First and foremost, both Honeymoon Chocolates and Kaldi’s Coffee believe in connecting with the people who create our coffee and cacao. Human hands cultivate, pick, and pulp the fruits of cacao and coffee trees. Human hands carefully ferment and dry and pack the coffee beans and cacao beans for shipment to us here in St. Louis. The hands that perform these extraordinary labors deserve fair compensation and access to education, medicine, and more.

Picking Coffee Cherries at Origin

"...both Honeymoon Chocolates and Kaldi’s Coffee believe in connecting with the people who create our coffee and cacao."

The Honeymoon Chocolates brand is based on crafting chocolate from farmers around the world. With every bag of cacao beans they buy from sustainable family farmers, they push back against the competition for land and workers from palm oil profiteering, drug crops, and slave labor. The more cacao they buy, the better likelihood that farmers in each region will continue to farm and improve their cacao crop. A great reason to buy specialty chocolate!

Like chocolate, so too with specialty coffee. Coffee, especially Arabica, is threatened by climate change, competition from drug crops, water scarcity, and in some regions, violence. Coffee is a bit of a dichotomy - it is enjoyed billions of times every day, but it is incredibly sensitive to temperature and climate. Kaldi’s Coffee strives to solidify specialty coffee’s role in providing a stable agricultural bedrock upon which communities can be built and improved. Fair trade prices and direct supplier relationships are just some of the ways we try to do our part - see more about this on our Sustainability Mission page.

Specialty chocolate and specialty coffee doesn’t just mean excellence. Honeymoon Chocolates and Kaldi’s Coffee believe that specialty coffee and chocolate means knowing your growers and processors, and working hand in hand with them to improve the entire system for everyone.

CULTIVATING GROWTH

Coffee farms are just like any other business in one way: they need predictability wherever they can get it.

Kaldi’s Coffee has helped strengthen specialty coffee growers by committing to container lots of coffee from some of our closest relationship producers. This enables them to grow, hire, and scale with added confidence, improve their operations, and better support their workers. The reliability of container lot sales is crucial to a small specialty farm’s planning and future, and affects scores of local workers in their communities. 

We’ve been sourcing our Colombia Monserrate relationship coffee for over a decade like this, purchasing over 20,000 lbs of green coffee at a time. We’ve also purchased several containers - each holding nearly 200 bags of green coffee, or about 25,000 lbs - in recent years from our friends at Gold Mountain Coffee in Nicaragua. That’s a lot of coffee, and a lot of predictability and growth flowing straight from our Roastery in St. Louis to the farmers of the growers’ co-op. 

The Colombia Monserrate Community
The Colombia Monserrate Community

Admittedly, not every coffee can be brought in exactly like that. But even when working with our importers, we prioritize farms and co-ops that are committed to quality and sustainability throughout the growing process - and each time we do this, we are adding to the growth of those farms and co-ops, from Kenya to Honduras. Their passionate cultivation of specialty coffee makes it possible for us to roast and serve specialty coffee drinks - which in turn enables them to keep cultivating, and improving, their specialty coffee farms.

Honeymoon Chocolates works with farmers in Haiti, Peru, Colombia, and other places but their flagship bean is the Peruvian Ucayali River bean. It features bright and fruity notes and pairs well with Raw Wildflower Honey. The Ucayali River Peruvian bean is from a central fermentory outside the city of Pucallpa. The region has historically been affected by narco-trafficking; cocaine is the cash crop of choice. But the Ucayali River Cacao fermentory works with USAID and Alianza Peru to give local farmers access to an alternate market than cocaine.

Therefore, by purchasing a Ucayali bar, you are supporting not only the St. Louis economy but also supporting the flow of income to Peruvian farmers looking to find an alternative crop beyond cocaine.

Peru Chocolate Bar from Honeymoon Chocolates, St. Louis MO

Of the 45,000 Peruvian cacao farms, the average farm is less than 2 hectares in size. Maintaining natural wilderness in Peru and other countries is a key focus for farmers. By cultivating mixed farms where cacao is grown among other fruit trees and native wild growth, the cacao business becomes a cornerstone of biodiversity. Less forest is burned to clear room for “pure” farmland, and farmers also gain access to supplementary crops for income.

Bags of cacao at origin

By promoting diverse use of the land and other methods like organic composting and fertilizers and reduced pesticides, cacao farmers are able to protect their livelihood and their land for the long-term. This also contributes to the worldwide goals of carbon sequestering and reduced nitrogen runoff.

LOOKING FORWARD

Both Kaldi’s Coffee and Honeymoon Chocolates believe that the cultivation of coffee and chocolate can continue, that human agriculture and industry can evolve and adapt. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re committed to ensuring that these foods don’t just survive, but flourish, so that all our descendants can enjoy them just like we do.

We believe passionately in the power of coffee, and other specialty crops like chocolate from our friends at Honeymoon, to unify. And, of course, to always be delicious together. 

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Shop chocolate on Honeymoon Chocolates website.

Shop coffee blends on our website.

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READ NEXT:

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Why Do We Brew With the Chemex and Kalita Wave Blog Picture

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