USA: Bucks County Coffee Co. Establishes Partnership With Native Colombian Coffee Farmers

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Bucks County Coffee Company announced today that it has established a partnership with Colombia's Embera- Chami Indian tribe, who grow and produce the company's "La Vereda" coffee. The new coffee, introduced today, is available only at Bucks County Coffee Co. locations throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

"La Vereda" coffee is cultivated near the Colombian town of San Lorenzo, which lies high in the Andes Mountains, 5,500 to 6500 ft. above sea level. This area lies in the Department (state) of Caldas where coffee production began around the mid-19th century. Today this province is one of the most important and traditional coffee growing areas in Colombia.

The Native Civil Community of San Lorenzo is located in the "coffee center" of Colombia's Western mountain range. About 700 families, descendants of Embera-Chami tribe, live there. The Native Town Council gives small plots of land, with 1,000 to 3,000 coffee trees each, to members of the community. Each family farms its own plot of land and follows coexistence rules established by the Town Council. Farming tasks are performed in a community works system known as Sharing Arms. They also have Mingas, which are community work days (usually Fridays), aimed at maintaining utilities, roads and community buildings.

The Embera-Chami Indians cultivate "La Vereda" coffee using very traditional and labor-intensive methods. Many activities are tended to manually, such as caring for the Guamo and Green banana trees, which provide both shade for the coffee trees and nourishment for the "cafeteros" and their families. In addition, the Embera-Chami Indians produce and apply organic fertilizers to their crops, as well as regularly maintain pest control by hand. The production of "La Vereda" coffee is an activity carefully performed by the native community, passed on from one generation to another. They cultivate their coffee crops with an innate sense of nature conservation and environmental balance.

According to Rodger Owen, President and founder of Bucks County Coffee Co., "Along with supporting the local native community by purchasing this excellent coffee, we are also providing the economic resources needed to improve their quality of life." In addition to paying the farmers a living wage, Bucks County Coffee Co. will direct a portion of the proceeds from selling "La Vereda" at retail, to an endowment fund that benefits the Embera-Chami Indians.

Based on Bucks County Coffee Company's projected sales of "La Vereda" coffee, the endowment fund will help the Embera-Chami Indians realize some of their own community objectives. For example, they want to improve their community health center with enhanced equipment, additional medicines and increased doctors' visits. The health center will directly assist over 260 Embera-Chami families. The community also wishes to construct a community center that will better support civic, sporting, cultural and social events. The local community will contribute some of the building materials and nearly 40% of the manual labor required. Bucks County Coffee Company's endowment fund will underwrite the remaining expenses for both of this project.

"This is a win-win partnership for everyone involved," said Owen. "By purchasing 'La Vereda,' our coffee customers will be able to directly help improve the quality of life for the local coffee farmers, while enjoying an exceptional cup of Bucks County Coffee. We are pleased to launch a program that encourages social responsibility while remaining true to our company mission of quality in the cup."

Customers who purchase La Vereda by the pound at the company's stores will also receive a colorful "chiva" -- a traditional form of transportation in Colombia. The chivas are hand made by artisans in the Caldas region, home of the Embera-Chami Indians and La Vereda coffee. Bucks County Coffee Co.'s president, Rodger Owen, continued, "You could say that the chiva is a gift with purchase, but more importantly, it's a vivid reminder of La Vereda's unique heritage. It's also a reminder that each one of us can make a positive social impact no matter how large or how small."

For more information about Bucks County Coffee Co. and the Embera-Chami Endowment Fund, visit the company's website at

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