Coffee relationships, and observations on one we respect very much: Steve Ford, Ritual Coffee Roasters

Call it Direct Trade, coffee sourcing, or what you will; we'll call it one of the best examples and applaud their approach.

This passed harvest, Ritual Coffee Roasters (San Francisco, CA) featured coffee from a farm named Finca El Naranjo, owned by two sisters, (Amada Milla & Maria Aida), in the Apaneca region of Ahuachapan, El Salvador, wet/dry milled and stored here at Beneficio El Manzano. 

Finca El Naranjo is just one of several coffees and producers from El Salvador featured by Ritual; but as a buyer and roaster, it is clear that they take their relationships with those and all coffee producers very seriously. 

Roasting more than 90% of their coffee from producers they work directly with, distinguishes them from most roasters around the world; and thereby requires a level of commitment to the farmers at origin that far exceeds the ordinary.

One that shows consistent investment and insight into the growing and milling practices of the operations whose hands their coffee passes through.

one that promises to return the next year, and repeatedly throughout, to walk the farms and mills, to see them in operation and ask questions about efficiency and quality,

one that follows the news and happenings of the farm and country as a whole,

one that provides opportunities for other members of their staff to visit El Salvador, to better understand and appreciate where their coffee comes from,

one that sends the finished, roasted product back to the producers so they can experience the showcased results of their work,

and one that invites the producers to their own San Francisco, to visit their roastery and cafes, cup with baristas, and enjoy the best Asian food in the city.

Although only for a few hours, we were excited for another opportunity to sit with Steve yesterday at the mill, on his third visit to El Manzano this year; visiting with the producers of Finca El Naranjo, and enjoying coffee, while hearing them discuss their hopes for the farm and future relationship with Ritual.We also had the chance to exchange stories on happenings in San Francisco and El Salvador, new possibilities for them, experiments and discoveries for us. 

By evening fog and light rainfall, it was time to depart, however, we look forward to seeing Steve again in December, and wish him the best on his continued travels through Central America.