Producer & Company Update #1by Khomanta
Some of you have noticed that we’ve been out of stock for almost two months—and we have some explaining to do!
Our original business plan was to support the people at origin as much as possible which included roasters and other small businesses. Unfortunately, as one of our many roadblocks getting this company off the ground, it wasn’t financially feasible. Import/export costs were way above the originally quotes which would put us well into negative profit margins resulting in no profit sharing for our producers or other benefits!
So long story short, over the last month and a half we’ve been busy getting the coffee we stored in Peru imported to the US and dialing in the roasts on our new roaster. And, we’re back in stock—with a new offering as well from the Zamoras!
Defining relationship coffee
Our goal at Khomanta is to be at the front of the relationship coffee movement. Relationship to us means family and friends—something going beyond the business. In one of our visits with Jorge he told us “If it doesn’t work out I hope that we can still be close and keep in contact”. Not exactly a confidence booster on the business side, but we knew we were on the right path.
Communication is key to any relationship so we keep in constant communication with the Zamoras and Guerreros. We talk by phone and whatsapp multiple times each month chit-chatting about the future, what’s going on in the producer’s lives, their families, and feedback people are providing about the coffee—something that brings a lot of joy for them to hear. For Haydee’s birthday (co-owner of Khomanta) she even got a call from Kiara (Jorge’s little girl) wishing her a happy birthday—it made her tear up a bit!
We believe we are one of the only companies that have and seek out this sort of relationship with producers and can’t wait to see what lies in store for us all in the future.
On our first visit to the producers we were told by our guide that producers have big dreams and plans for their farms that rarely come close to fruition. We are ecstatic to say that Jeane and Jorge have stuck to their dreams about the future of their farms.
When we first met Jeane and Jorge (separately of course) they each told us about the plans for their “finca modelo”, or a modern farm—think mountain-side terraces, organized and planned sections of the farm, weed management, etc. We were excited for them and even more excited as the months went by and we continued to see for ourselves and receive updates on the progress each of them are making on their farms.
December was the month to start germinating coffee seeds. Both families sent us photos of them preparing their plants for the next step where they will spend the next several months.
We offer a number of benefits to our producers and we’re excited to announce that we’ve provided our first 0% interest loans. We’re all around happy with the payment arrangements as they impose little to no impact on the producers. Our loans are paid back first through profit sharing which means every quarter when we would normally transfer money to the producers it instead goes directly to the loan. If the loan cannot be paid off 100% by profit sharing then the producers can choose to pay the loan back through coffee or cash.
On our last talk with Jorge and Jeane we were able to tell both of them a little over 9% of each of their loans had been paid back by profit sharing without them even realizing it!
Innovating for our producers
Before we left Peru we created a prototype data logging book for our producers. This book helps keep track of various data points for harvesting, fermenting, and drying coffee. With this book our producers can reference past data to recreate successful models or tweak as needed to continue improving. We hope to make this book available to the public once it has been given a proper test run this coming harvest.
To supplement this book we’ve been working on a fermentation controller that will provide crucial data to our producers to better manage fermentation from start to finish—arguable the most important part of the whole process. Come next harvest our producers will be able to take these devices for a test run and log the results in their books for future fermentation.