Giving back to move forward

All the way through our supply chain, from tree to cup, Horizonte Coffee Roasters strives to improve the quality of our work and our product.

For coffee lovers, that means you’re able to enjoy the best possible Horizonte coffee-drinking experience.

For our partners, it means working with Horizonte in our ongoing commitment to fair trade and sustainable business practices.

Through his cycling and education charity, Horizonte founder Christoph Sauser has seen first-hand how much of a positive impact it’s possible to make in a community. Established in 2008 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, this year the Songo academy celebrated a decade of helping township kids towards their dreams of a safer and more prosperous future.

At Horizonte, the idea of investing in our partners to create better coffee is a totally logical step. So when Sauser met coffee grower Gerardo Franco during a recent trip to Colombia, it was a topic that naturally came up in conversation.

Gerardo produces the most amazing espresso beans on his small farm La Fincha, located on a mountain ridge near the town of Anserma.

Gerardo, now 47 years old, has been growing coffee for more than 30 years. He currently cultivates approximately 8 000 coffee trees at an altitude of 1 860m, delivering an award-winning coffee with distinctively sweet and nutty chocolate undertones.

While Gerardo was explaining his farming methods to Sauser, it soon became apparent that having a post-harvesting facility on his own property would be a game-changer.

Gerardo shares a post-harvesting facility with the rest of his family on their nearby farm, which is a 10-minute walk away. This means that he has to shift his entire crop of cherries down the road for the duration of the pulping, cleaning and drying process (as well as walk back and forth between the two farms every day) and then carry everything back again once the beans are dry.

In collaboration with Siruma Coffee, our partners in Colombia, Horizonte has made a significant financial contribution to help Gerardo build a new post-harvesting facility on his own farm.

This isn’t a charity hand-out, it’s a hand up. Siruma and Gerardo himself will each match Horizonte’s contribution to this project.

Having his own post-harvesting facility will hugely improve Gerardo’s efficiency. As soon as they’re plucked from the trees, the cherries will be run through a manually operated de-pulper, with the beans dropping straight into the wash basins where they’ll be left to ferment for 16 hours, before going through a triple-wash process to remove the over-ripe beans known as floaters.

After attending a course run by Nespresso at his local cooperative, Gerardo has refined his fermentation methods but the age-old air-drying process remains. The beans are spread out on drying beds and – depending on the weather – are left to dry for a couple of weeks until the ideal moister level has been reached. (11%)

Once dry, Gerardo’s beans are transported to the cooperative, where they are then bagged and shipped to Horizonte Coffee Roasters in Switzerland.

As part of our dedication to fair trade and as an indication of how much we value the work of farmers like Gerardo, through our partners Siruma, Horizonte pays more than the market rate for all Siruma-sourced coffees.

If our mission is to develop, supply and enjoy outstanding coffee, it is only fair that our growers should also be rewarded for the excellence of their produce.

Horizonte will offer Gerardo Franco’s coffee as a single-estate espresso, and as a blend with carefully selected Ethiopian beans.

The plans for Gerardo’s post-harvesting facility have already been drawn up, and the installation should be complete by mid 2019.

.... and here it is the new post harvesting facility build next to Gerado’s family house. Together with the president of the local cooperative and Valentina von Siruma Kaffee, we organised a small opening with a nice lunch.

After washing Gerardo's beans are dried on the flat roof of his house. The tin roof serves as a rain cover and is pulled over the beans in the event of rain.