More Nica coffee in Rochester

Union Place Coffee is excited to be one of a handful of US roasters to get this beautiful coffee and have the opportunity to offer it to the Rochester market.

The Manual Lopez Coffee Cooperative was founded in El Sauce in the early 1990s. Its goal was to create an organization that could pool resources together to find technical support for the original 18 small- plot farmers that founded the cooperative. A longer-term goal was to help the farmers find better export markets for their coffee than they could if they worked individually. In 2013, with the help of Enlace, the farmers from the Manuel Lopez Cooperative were able to export their coffee directly to the US.

About half of the cooperative members are life-long coffee farmers who learned their trade as it was passed down from grandfather-to-father-to-son. It’s a trade they have known since they were children. The other half is comprised of newer farmers who have joined in recent years. The expansion is successful because the experienced members are willing to share with and teach the aspiring members. “If someone does not have seeds to plant, a family will give them seeds,” says Ruben Martinez Pichardo. “Later, that farmer will bring seeds back. The idea is that everyone can harvest.” It’s this cooperative spirit that has allowed for the cooperative to flourish.

“Now I can afford to send my son the public university so he can further is studies and get a better job in his future. He’s studying English.” — life-long co-op member Emiliano Martinez Reyes

The new price the farmers are paid averages between 30-50% more than they were receiving previously. The increased income from coffee now allows for the families to make investments in basic necessities, like healthcare, education, and housing improvement.


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