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Meet the Producer: Rocel Romero Rafael

Our Project 121 microlots from Sol y Café Cooperative are due to land this month and will be a great way to kick off the New Year.

This is the second season we have partnered with Sol y Café and this year we are working with four new producers to the Project 121 program; Rocel Romero Rafael, Juan Carlos Rivera, Agusto Vazquez Llamo and Andreas Guevara Ruiz.

In August last year we travelled to Peru and were lucky enough to meet second generation farmer Rocel Romero Rafael, who has been a member of Sol y Café Cooperative since 2008. We visited one of his two single-hectare plots in El Molino, Santa Rosa and saw firsthand the potential of the Project 121 program. The coffee trees – a combination of cattimore, bourbon and typica – were thriving. The plantation looked green and healthy, a clear indication of consistent and considered farm management. At the time of our visit Rocel was producing between 30 and 35 quintales per hectare, well above the national average of 15 quintales, and he shared with us his aim to increase yields to 60 quintales per hectare. The plantation is Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified.

After touring the plantation, we visited his home where he processes the coffee. His efficient set up includes a hand pulper that deposits cherry directly into a fermentation tank, and open-air drying area. El Niño had brought early rains to the area, which caused significant disruption to the drying process, so Rocel was in the process of using his cash benefit from the Project 121 program to design and construct a sheltered drying area, akin to a greenhouse.

We parted feeling inspired and enthused. Rocel is part of a growing collection of innovative and quality-focused producers who, together, are driving the industry forward. We feel privileged to be able to support producers like Rocel through our Project 121 program and are so looking forward to receiving his coffee this season.

To request samples of the Sol y Café Project 121 microlots when available, contact the Bennetts office

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