Dear Aldea Family,
As this year comes to a close, sitting down and writing something to all of you is a first for us; hopefully the first of many to come. To begin with, we are sending this to update you on the many developments Aldea has undertaken in 2019. We opened a new café, are acquiring a building to permanently house our roaster, started baking most of our own pastries, and doubled our staff. Needless to say, we could not have done this without all of you. The business consultants of the world might want to call you customers, but we know that is far from the truth. You are close friends and much more like family. You have helped us grow and become better human beings. Thank you for pouring into us. Thank you for making Aldea what it is.
Your energy and support has not only made an impact on us, but the farmers we work with. The past few years have been very tough for small to midsize coffee farmers. A combination of agricultural blights and market forces have devastated crops and driven prices down significantly to less than $1 per pound. Farmers worldwide have had to give up on coffee as a livelihood. In many cases, people have had to leave their homes and towns because of debts that cannot be paid or to look for alternate sources of income. As said best by one of our Honduran staff members and coffee farmers Gilberto Barrientos, “what is the world coming to when you can’t make a living in Honduras as a coffee farmer.”
This December we roasted our 100,000th pound of coffee. As we reflected on this, it brought to light how important our stance on working with farmers is in light of the current situation. We do not alter our prices according to the market rate. We pay farmers a consistent rate every harvest. We pay them for the quality of what they produce. If the quality has not gone down, why would we pay them less? Our contract is not with the commodity market. It is with real people. We understand that money from one yearly coffee harvest supports the livelihood of entire families year round.
We are proud to say that not a single farmer we work with has gone out of business. We are not looking for this to be some sort of “let’s pat ourselves on the back session.” But, it is not lost on us the significance of what happens when we pay attention to the world around us. We wanted to let you know this because it is the core of Aldea. It is why we exist. And, it is our biggest thanks of all. Thank you for drinking coffee with us. Thanks for helping the amount of coffee we can use grow. Through this we have got to know each other. We have created community. And, we have had an impact on the lives of people we might not think about on a day to day basis.
With much love,
Andrew and Jeremy