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From One Community to Another 

You might notice a brown sticker accenting the heart of this particular coffee bag, making this coffee a bit different from the others. One of Joe Van Gogh’s fundamental principles is to get as close to the source as possible. Therefore we are thrilled to embark on our Return to Origin program; an industry disrupter designed to ensure that our producers at origin receive fair pay. The brown sticker indicates that a full 20% of the retail packaged price of this coffee is returned to origin. That is a 200% increase over general coffee industry standards.

This pursuit would not be possible without the purposeful relationships we develop with like-minded folks at different stages of coffee production. Through a strong Direct Trade relationship with Alma Coffee, the first coffee of our RTO program is a new seasonal favorite, Don Victor Honduras.

The proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” can be used to describe Don Victor Honduras. Don Victor was cultivated by a tight-knit community interlinked through coffee producer, Victor Lopez, and importer, Alma Coffee. This coffee was grown just outside of Corquín, Copan, where the roads meander into the luscious slopes of Victor Lopez’s family farm.  The beans were transported to Alma Coffee’s adjacent family farm, Finca Terreritio (Finca T), to be processed.  

The special relationship between Victor Lopez’s family and Finca T is where Joe Van Gogh’s connection to this delicious coffee begins. Alma Coffee was founded by 5th generation coffee farmers and owners of Finca T. Finca T is a site of collaboration, welcoming local farmers to bring their samples for evaluation and helping them access roasters across the U.S. It certainly isn’t every day that a coffee is imported by the same hands who have processed it, that’s a vital reason why we value our partnership with Alma Coffee.

Joe Van Gogh Director of Coffee, Kevin Swenk, was invited to Finca T by Alma Coffee last February during harvest to evaluate some fresh crop Honduran coffees. This is where Kevin experienced Victor Lopez’s delicious, Honey processed coffee. The extensive care that went into this coffee was palpable. Kevin knew immediately that he needed to share this experience with the Joe Van Gogh community.

Kevin was introduced to Victor Lopez and other family members who share a keen interest in coffee production. Victor’s son and next-door neighbor of Finca T, went to university to become an agronomist and hone his knowledge in coffee.  Through Alma Coffee’s efforts, Victor’s family is getting paid 75% more than they would if they processed at a mill outside their close circle. Our Direct Trade relationship with Alma Coffee has helped establish fair pay to the Lopez family. This has enabled them to do what they love and live comfortably, elevating their family network of farms and quality of coffee.

Once a week, Marvin, can be seen walking the fields of Finca T, lending his expertise to maintain the quality of the coffee at every step. Similarly to Marvin’s dedication, Joe Van Gogh strives to maintain the quality of our relationships at every step. Meaningful relationships, like the one we have built with Alma Coffee, are much stronger than the adhesive on the back of that brown sticker you see on your coffee bag. These relationships help make the message on that sticker a reality. Enjoy Don Victor Honduras today, a Direct Trade coffee that guarantees fair pay.