As any coffee buyer will tell you, sourcing coffee involves planning far into the future. In our case, we started planning for our Colombian purchases the very same week we launched Blossom, back in June 2020.
We knew this coffee would play a central role in our offering, making up part of Blossom Espresso as well as being roasted separately for both our single origin espresso and filter menus, and with that in mind, we knew the kind of quality and sensory profile that we required. Most importantly, though, was finding a coffee which we could plan to buy every year, as part of our mission to develop long-term, mutually beneficial and fully transparent relationships with the people responsible for producing these beautiful coffees. Thankfully for us, Kyle of Osito Coffee had a specific group of producers in mind: Mártir, a group of 18 producers from La Plata, founded and lead by Didier Javier Pajoy Ico.
In the words of Kyle: “With Mártir, we pay the producers directly and Didier earns nothing extra for volume. He essentially volunteers as the leader whose only motivation is to create a sustainable supply chain for himself and his associates. There are no additional volume-driven incentives so the money he makes as well as the rest of the producers is rooted in quality first and second, the volume that each of them can produce for themselves.
They are bound by a passion for environmentally conscious farming and for the results it yields in the cup. Almost all of the producers are farming organically or are in transition to organic practices. Didier has also spent a significant amount of time teaching producers how to make organic fertilisers and also how to best deal with waste water from washing coffee.
The goal for Mártir is always to produce the highest quality coffee in a manner with the lowest impact on the environment.”
Six months and many phone calls and sample tastings later, the coffee arrived with us here in the UK, tasting delicious and ready for us to share with you. We recently spoke to Didier, to find out a little more about the group.
Could you give us a little background information about how and why the ground was formed?
“When I first started as a producer, the price of coffee made it unfeasible. Therefore, I decided to study the world of coffee. Firstly, I studied production followed by sensory analysis and barista skills. This way, I changed the farm’s focus and started producing speciality coffee with my brothers. This yielded better financial outcomes. Secondly, I also wanted to work on the social aspects of the business. In collaboration with other producers we created a group called Crecert. However, I left after my goals weren’t accomplished and created Mártir Coffee (comprised of 18 families located across four districts in the municipality of La Plata, Huila.)”
As a group, what are your main goals?
“We strive to organise ourselves, seek commercial partnerships and aim to obtain extra value on our coffee. Also, given the individual farms are small, we must work as a team to increase our volume of production. (Our goal is) to produce high quality coffee and to put our name out there together.”
And what are your biggest challenges?
“Difficulty getting pickers, lack of infrastructure at wet mills and producers’ lack of knowledge in relation to customers demands for certain flavour profiles.”
The name Mártir is interesting, translating to martyr. Where does the name come from?
“Mártir is named after a catholic priest, Pedro Maria Romero, from the municipality of La Plata, Huila (killed during the outbreak of the Colombian civil war known as La Violencia).”
What are your plans for the future?
“Colombia faces high unemployment. My plan is to encourage young people to overcome this by coming together to produce high quality coffee as a means to obtaining a life project.”
You can pick up a bag of Mártir over on our webshop here.
Special thanks to Manu Rico for his assistance in the translation of the interview.