When we decided to launch the idea of the Slow Food Presidia brand for coffees back in 2010, we knew we would be facing an important, complex but necessary challenge: to bring consumers, coffee roasters and producers closer together by creating new channels of communication and information between two such distant worlds. It was a challenge based on the concepts of raw material traceability, transparency throughout the production process and identity.
The first coffee Presidium had already been set up eight years earlier, in Huehuetenango in 2002 together with the social cooperative Pausa Café and different communities who were interested in becoming part of the growing network of coffee producers working with the association. Since then we have accompanied these communities in the creation of a network involving six Slow Food Presidia: two in Central America (Huehuetenango in Guatemala and Montagna Camapara in Honduras) and four in Africa (Harenna in Ethiopia, Luwero in Uganda, Ibo Islands in Mozambique and Sao Tomè).
During this journey we relied upon the collaboration of roaster friends who, with their wealth of experience and knowledge, helped support producers in improving their coffees and, together with Slow Food, help outline the path forward. The roasters visited the coffee plantations themselves to learn about the first link in the production chain, to discuss and learn from producers while also explaining how their coffees are used in Italy. They gained an understanding of the way the coffee producers work, as well as of their production protocols. This guided them, once back in Italy and together with Slow Food, to write the production protocols for the Slow Food Presidium coffee brand, thereby regulating an entire supply chain. The roasters and producers tasted their coffees together at the Salone del Gusto and during visits made to the roasting facilities, which helped them identify the strengths and flaws of their products and suggest improvements. Thanks to this journey, roasters also became producers of the Presidia themselves, alongside the Central American and African coffee growers.
Most of them have since come to join the Slow Food Presidia brand project and it now comprises a group of 16 roasters who routinely buy, process and sell some Slow Food Presidia coffees. It is a network made up of artisans and companies from around Italy (six in the North, eight in Central Italy and two in the South) who passionately promote the coffee producer’s work and not only sell coffee, but serve customers the story, identity and culture of coffee itself.
Our experience throughout these years has helped us understand that we are on the right path and that it is crucial to continue to work to help the Presidia and roaster network to grow, helping to create and share more knowledge, awareness and dignity, together.
Responsible for the Slow Food Coffee Presidia Project