HOW WE SOURCE COFFEES
La Bodega was established with one basic mission: To give small roasters access to some of the world’s finest coffees in manageable quantities at reasonable prices, with world-class service from start to finish. As the small-bag sister company of Cafe Imports, La Bodega has a global network of export and producer partners, through whom we are able to offer a wide range of fantastic, sustainable coffees that are the products of longstanding and meaningful relationships.
Our companies’ shared buying model is designed to be farmer-forward and progressive: We focus both buying better coffee and buying coffee better. This means we don’t simply buy the “cream of the crop” from producers, but rather take a more holistic view of what it means to be a true partner to farmers worldwide. Every coffee farm produces coffee of different qualities and characteristics, and we believe that helping those farmers find the right homes for all of those coffees is the best possible scaffold for success.
We have a team of full-time coffee buyers who focus their attentions within specific coffee-growing countries and regions, and who stay in constant communication with our partners in the field. These green-coffee buyers work closely with our sensory analysis department in order to receive, evaluate, and accept samples of green coffee from our partners at several steps along the supply stream. We curate our offerings closely, making sure to have both a range of qualities, traceability levels, and price points available—all thanks to our collaboration with the full-bag business of Cafe Imports.
We hope what you find when you peruse our offerings is a diverse menu of regions, profiles, relationships, and information. Below, you’ll find even more details about our products, programs, and the certifications we carry in our inventory.
These are available all or most of the year, and are selected specifically for their profile, which should be reliable and repeatable. We source coffees that show true “taste of place” for our signature offerings, and make them available as a lower-cost but good-quality option for blending, or for featuring an accessible single-origin on your menu.
Traceability: These are blended from many producers within a country of origin and come with basic traceability.
- Cafe Vida – Costa Rica
- Cristal – Mexico
- Gran Galope – Colombia
- Harimau Tiger – Sumatra
- Kichwa Tembo – Kenya
- Quetzal – Guatemala
- Serra Negra – Brazil
Seasonal offerings that showcase particular growing regions within a coffee-producing country, sourced for both their “taste of place” as well as a generally higher quality level than the Profile Coffees.
Traceability: Regional Select coffees are blended from various producers within a specific region of a country (e.g. Cauca or Huila Colombia) and generally come with a slightly higher degree of traceability information.
WOMEN COFFEE PRODUCERS
We partner with associations of women coffee growers as well as subgroups of women farmers who are members of mixed-gender cooperatives, and source coffee from the women at a premium price. This premium is intended to bridge the gender-based earnings gap that often exists in coffee-producing countries.
Traceability: These coffees are typically blended lots representing multiple women coffee farmers, and will come with traceability comparable to a Regional Select offering
Limited offerings that highlight individual varieties of coffee, specifically ones that are notable, unique, or exquisite in quality.
Traceability: Some of these offerings are blended lots selected from producers who grow the same variety of coffee, typically within a small geographical area; traceability will vary depending on the region and relationship. Single-producer Variety Select lots have full traceability.
The highest quality tier of coffee we offer at La Bodega are microlots, limited-availability but exceptional coffees that embody the care, attention, and passion of the producer.
Traceability: Microlots carry the greatest degree of traceability, with farm- and sometimes farmer-specific information available.
Note: Your business needs to obtain your own certification in order to label your for-sale products as Organic, Fairtrade, or Fair Trade–certified.
Coffee grown on a farm that has been audited and proven to use no synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, synthetic additives, or industrial solvents during growth, harvest, processing, transportation, or storage. La Bodega is an organic-certified handler and sources coffee that is NOP (U.S.), EU, and COR (Canada) organic-certified. La Bodega uses Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) as our certifying body.
FAIRTRADE INTERNATIONAL (FLO) & FAIR TRADE USA
The goal of both Fairtrade International (FLO) and Fair Trade USA is to support producers financially, socially, and ethically through price protection as well as other initiatives established and audited both in the field and in the market. Both certifications utilize a pricing floor that is designed to prevent producers from experiencing financial ruin should the global coffee commodities market drop below a pre-determined level. Fairtrade (FLO) is an international certifying body that operates with the aim of encouraging smallholder producers to collaborate in democratically run cooperatives; Fair Trade USA is a similar but unaffiliated third-party certifier that operates solely in the United States and does not work only with cooperatives. Note that Fairtrade International (FLO) does not recognize Fair Trade USA certifications, but Fair Trade USA does recognize FLO. This is important to consider with regard to your own company’s certification status, if you are interested in using either FLO or FTUSA labeling on your packaging.
Stands for Fairtrade-Organic or Fair Trade–Organic and means that the producer or producer association carries both an FLO/FTUSA and an organic certification. In order to sell these products with the FTO label, your roasting company will also need to have both certification.
This certification applies to a range of products and production that has been proven to display a variety of environmental, social, and financial sustainability and conservation benchmarks. RFA/UTZ auditors require that farmers report on soil and water conservation, pest and waste management, greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, employee conditions and living wage, community relations, and more.