Colombian coffee producers visit Sheffield to see their product being served in university cafes
Coffee producers from Colombia have travelled to Sheffield to see their product being served in one of the city’s university campus’.
The University of Sheffield welcomed CENCOIC co-operative representatives Juan Carlos and Elisabeth Sandoval earlier this month.
Their visit provided a chance for growers, roasters and baristas to get together in one room, and share the story of coffee - from bean to cup.
As part of Juan and Elizabeth’s trip, they toured coffee shops at the university and visited the Roastology roastery, at Vantage Park in Darnall, where their beans are processed into a special blend created especially for the university's coffee shops.
Roastology has a direct trade agreement with CENCOIC and began supplying cafes at The University of Sheffield in July 2017.
Peter Anstess, Head of Retail at the University, said it had been a privilege to meet Juan and Elizabeth.
“We are really proud to be working with Roastology, to not only serve our students and staff coffee of the best quality, but to support ethical and sustainable practices in the industry.
“It was a privilege to welcome members of the co-operative to our university. It was an emotional experience for both our visitors and ourselves to be able to join our growers, roasters and baristas all in one room.”
CENCOIC is a co-operative comprised of indigenous communities in the Cauca region of Colombia which produces Arabica coffee. The company is leader in the trade of coffee in Colombia.
Roastology’s links with Colombia goes back nearly 16 years, dating back to when its parent company Cafeology began sourcing coffee from the region.
Cafeology has also been featured in the 2019 Parliamentary Review using the roasters as an example of best business practice.
Bryan Unkles, Director of Cafeology, said that he was pleased to be able to source speciality coffee.
“As a local, independently owned business we are delighted to be working with the University of Sheffield and excited as we look to develop greater links with the CENCOIC cooperative.
“The partnership with the university has enabled us to provide an exclusive supply agreement by directly sourcing, fully traceable specialty coffee.”
The University of Sheffield has 15 cafes and coffee shops on campus, and all of them sell the
ENCOIC co-operative coffee, a special blend unique to the university.
While the university has been able to leverage its procurement to support local suppliers in Sheffield, it has similarly been able to leverage its research power to support producers in Colombia.
In May 2018, researchers from the departments of Social Science and Animal and Plant Sciences joined Peter and Bryan on a visit to Cauca to meet the producers and gain a deeper understanding of the supply chain.
By speaking to our producers, they were able to hear and understand problems and issues they faced first hand.
Since the trip, they have been working on numerous research projects to support the wellbeing of indigenous farmers, including examining harvesting natural gas generated by decomposing coffee bean husks to create a sustainable cooking gas, along with solutions to crop diseases such as leaf rust.
The faculty of Social Sciences, working with The Pontifical Xavierian University, are also conducting participatory action research in the Cauca region, looking at strategies for reconciliation in the Colombian peace process.
By streamlining its supply chain and using its research strengths, the University of Sheffield is on a mission to provide its staff and students with the UK’s most sustainable cup of coffee.
From sourcing milk from local supplier Our Cow Molly to sourcing coffee over 5000 miles away.
The University of Sheffield’s attitude to a cup of coffee shows how something as insignificant as a daily cup of coffee can be a catalyst for change when organisations with a large buying power take an interest in their supply chains.
When others are resigned to the influence of the large distributors and supermarkets and the forces of globalisation behind them, the University of Sheffield has shown that demanding a more sustainable supply chain is possible and achievable through using research to improve these supply chains, the processes involved, and the lives of the people behind them.
Please go online and visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/sustainability to find out more about the university’s commitment to sustainability in a variety of areas.