Heart and Graft are Manchester coffee roasters. Their product is synonymous with great coffee and is served up across the city at places like Grindsmith, Trove, Ezra & Gil, Trof, Gorilla and Coffee Fix to name but a few.
Never ones to rest on their laurels, they’ve taken the unusual decision to work with producers from one of the less trendy coffee growing areas. But fear not because owners James Guard and Sean Fowler can’t praise it enough.
The Nolasco family from La Paz, Honduras are part of COMSA (Cafe Organico Marcala), a co-operative founded in December of 2001 to create new and alternative development opportunities for small-scale coffee farmers in the region. Their ethos is to take care of the planet by producing coffee without fertiliser or chemicals, and although their farm is very small – just 21 square metres – the region actually produced one of the most expensive and sought after coffee lots at the annual Cup of Excellence, the most prestigious competition and award for high quality coffees.
As our appetite for speciality grows, it’s important to understand what goes into producing coffee of this grade and what our money is actually supporting.
The difference between speciality and commercial lies in the relationships these farmers have with their pickers. By training their staff to pick only the right cherries and not just throwing everything in a bucket like commercial farmers, they can guarantee a certain standard of quality.
“Speciality is driven by flavour. Commercial is driven by price,” says James.
Working with COMSA, the Nolasco family are able to get a fair price for the quality of their coffee, which requires a lot more hard work than your standard, mass-produced commercial coffee.
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“The quality of the coffee made us want to work with them” says Sean. “The vision of their social work and commitment to producing quality community ties reinforced the desire to bring this coffee to Manchester.”
The local roasters will be paying more than the asking price as they feel the coffee quality justifies it and also it will help to fund the education programme.
The coffee will be available in September. “Broadly speaking, it’s got a juicy fruit acidity, brown sugar sweetness and soft buttery body,” says Sean. “We’ll get more specifics when our order arrives”.
So whether your love of coffee goes past the pretty pattern that the barista pours or not, the sustainability of our planet and the need to educate future generations of ethical coffee farmers is something we should all be concerned with. Heart and Graft are the first roasters in the UK to take shipment of this lot of coffee. By going out and slurping it, you’ll be doing your bit for speciality coffee.
Find out more about COMSA here: www.justuscoffee.com/~justuscoffee/our-co-op/name