New England’s Premiere Coffee Roaster Travels to Brazil in Aid of Small Coffee Farm
Hadley, MA 10/26/2011 08:16 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)
Rao’s Coffee Roasting Company owner Jeffrey Waskiewicz knows farming. From the time he was just a boy in Kindergarten, he spent most of his afternoons at his Grandfather’s side in the fields of J & J Farms in Amherst, MA learning about the soil, crops, and experience that developed into a respect for the earth that can only come from living the life of a farmer.
While J & J Farms still thrives as a family business, Jeff decided many years ago to make a lateral move into the world of relationship coffee, where his love of the bean melded perfectly with his deep rooted understanding of the mindset and lives of the farmers who would make up his supply chain. He purchased Rao’s Coffee Roasting Company in 2000, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Recently, Jeff embarked from Rao’s Coffee Roasting Company’s headquarters in Hadley, MA to an area of Brazil he calls the “Lost Coffee Land of Guaramirganga”, a region that, although little known in mainstream coffee circles, once produced some of Brazil’s finest coffee. “After 20 years of decline, this region, and the farm that I visited, is truly at a crossroads,” said Jeff, “I know the quality of the coffee that can come off the farms here, and see no reason why we can’t help to make that happen again. This trip was just the beginning, we’re definitely in it for the long haul.” he said.
While in Guaramirganga, Jeff worked closely with a family farmer known as “Mr. Catch”. “Like many farmers in developing nations, Mr. Catch has great knowledge of the region, climate, and his crops, but doesn’t have the opportunity or resources to continue to develop his knowledge on the more technical side. This is where I feel we can come in and make a significant difference not only on his small farm, but in the region as well.” He said.
Jeff will travel to small coffee farms in Honduras next, where he will meet farmers, evaluate crops, and develop more relationships with the finest but often overlooked coffee farms in the country. “We’ve built our business on finding great farmers and then working very closely with them. We share knowledge, experience, and the common goal of putting the world’s finest coffee in our cups” said Jeff. “After decades of running on these principles, it’s heartening to see that this business model is actually becoming one that is getting some recognition in the mainstream. The seed to cup story is really starting to resonate with the public.”
Guaramirganga is a small town in the Northeastern state of Ceara with a population of just 5,900. It is located in a mountainous region approximately 35 miles from the coast at an altitude of 3,000 feet. The area is known for its lush landscape, rich soil, and temperate climate.
Rao’s Coffee Roasting Company is one of the country’s premiere roasters of direct trade coffee. Based in Hadley Massachusetts, the company is the largest provider of direct trade coffee to Greater Boston Restaurants and Cafes, and is developing a presence in New England supermarkets. The company also maintains a permanent showroom at The Dallas Trade Mart, and distributes its own line of gourmet and gift items under the Milana brand name.
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