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Stumptown's Colombia Source Trip

A short film takes an inside look at vertical integration

by Jose R. Mejia in Food + Drink on 29 November 2011

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As fair trade business practices and sustainability issues become increasingly important in the food industry, it's still easy to forget that there are actual values behind the buzzwords. A new short film from Stumptown coffee roasters gives a face to vertical integration as it explores the growing communities that make its brews possible. The Portland-based company traveled to Colombia with filmmaker Trevor Fife to create a gorgeous and informative record of their people and process.

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While the company sources coffee from all over the world, the video focuses on their Colombian growers at Finca Augas Blanca, Finca Los Cauchos and Finca La Esperanza. When building a relationship with a new grower, Stumptown frequently takes this type of trip to ensure that the systems of production meet their high standards. Eventually, all growers incorporated into the Stumptown family are treated as in-house units of the company's global process. The growers in the video repeatedly mention the importance of family in the culture of coffee growing, offering an element of poignancy to Stumptown's unique vision.

Aside from the gorgeous mountain vistas and sumptuous details of the harvest, drying and roasting processes, the short film focuses on the individuals involved in the early stages of production and their commitment to the final product. "It's not so much about the job itself, but the passion you put into it," explains Walter Peña of Finca Aguas Blancas. "And the... feeling of belonging. It's the most important part of being a coffee farmer."

Check out more videos about the Stumptown process as well as their surprisingly useful brewing guide for use when preparing your next cup.

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