La Finca works in partnership with several organizations around the world that are making a positive impact in the coffee world. Today, we would love to introduce you to Osito Coffee.
Recently our founder Lee met Kyle Bellinger, owner of Osito Coffee in March of 2020 while sourcing coffee in Mexico. Osito Coffee is a U.S.-based coffee importer serving the United States, United Kingdom, and Colombia. Many of the great coffees that you have experienced at La Finca were sourced through Osito Coffee.
Osito Coffee was started in 2018. Osito was a result of some important decisions (a career in coffee or studying music), changes in business directions, and meeting future partners.
Kyle worked as a barista during college. Upon graduating, Kyle decided to pursue a career in coffee. This was the start of Kyle’s venture into coffee roasting, owning a coffee business, and eventually a coffee farm in Colombia.
While sourcing for coffee on behalf of the roasting company he worked at, Kyle met Jose, a Colombian coffee farmer. The two formed a working relationship, and Kyle began buying from Jose. Eventually, Jose’s brother decided to sell his share of the family farm. Jose offered his brother’s share to Kyle and the two went into business together.
According to Kyle, Osito strives to be popular with coffee farmers. The farmers’ well-being is key to determining the success of Osito as a company. Their vision is to meet farmers’ needs, which includes: fair compensation, timely payments, and improved living standards (health, education & general well-being). In addition, Osito strives to be supportive of those working in the coffee supply chain as a whole.
La Finca is thankful for Kyle as a business partner and friend. We love the work he is doing throughout Central and South America and Africa. In addition, we have enjoyed the great coffees that we have been able to source from Osito. We encourage you to follow the link to see a short video about the work Osito is doing. https://ositocoffee.com
Lastly, La Finca is partnering with Osito in their current project to support Colombian farmers. Below you will find some information about how Colombian farmers have been recently impacted and how Osito is helping. If you are interested in partner with us we have several ways for you to contribute.
- With the purchase of a bag of Colombian coffee, La Finca will contribute $5 for each bag sold now until November 1st.
- You will also have the option to round up your purchase at La Finca and the funds will be sent to this project.
- Furthermore you can make a tax-deductible gift to Hope Fan, a 501c3 organization that works with La Finca on projects that are changing our local community and around the world.
Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent struggles related to the Paro Nacional or national strike, many Colombians have basic needs going unmet or worse; their very lives are in danger from violence committed by various bad actors.
We’ve been asked many times by clients, coffee roasters, and people who simply care about Colombia, “How can we help?”
In our network of coffee farmers, we’ve seen folks struggle with cash flow. With a delayed harvest and limited access to town centers because of the widespread roadblocks, farmers still have to lay out money to maintain their farms and families, with little money coming in at this time.
Osito is doing its best to begin pre-financing programs with some of our core relationships based on actual need, but there are other ways that coffee roasters can support the people from whom we are all buying coffee.
Osito is asking our network of coffee buyers and roasters to donate a total of $4,000. For each dollar raised, Osito Colombia will contribute a dollar of its own money for a total of $8,000.
How will this money be used?
– First, part of the money will be used to supply every one of our ~150 producer partners with a sufficient supply of hermetic bags for the storage of parchment coffee for the entirety of the 2021/22 harvest. While Grain Pro and Ecotact become throw-away items for coffee roasters, they are a huge cost for the average Colombian farmer. Many opt instead to use lower quality bagging which does not adequately preserve the quality of coffee they worked so hard to achieve and for which they should receive a premium.
On the surface, this may not sound like a lot but it is otherwise a meaningful cost to producers that, if not spent, could cost them money on the back end.
– Second, the rest of the money will be used to gift one farmer, from each of the major associations with whom we work, with a brand new drying facility. For many farmers, drying beds that require regular maintenance and occasional replacement are a MASSIVE cost that regrettably eats into their profits from the year. Once again, if they choose to NOT pay the money upfront for this maintenance, it will likely end up costing them money eventually.
We hope to raise this money to allay some of the regular costs that farmers deal with but in a way that also helps preserve a long-term healthier income stream.
We care deeply for our partners. They are not just associates, they are often friends and sometimes even family. We recognize that the last year and a half has brought unprecedented challenges on top of the fact that coffee farming is never easy, even in a good year. We hope that our network of people in coffee-consuming countries will rally around these farmers to relieve some of the stresses associated with their regular costs. This is not a “silver bullet”, this does not fix the issues that plague all supply chains. This DOES, put a dent in at least some of the costs that make life harder for coffee producers in Colombia.