It's hard to pick a favourite collaboration from the 53 that we've done, but this is most definately the most anticipated by us. We couldn't have dreamed back in 2016 that we would be doing this together.
The background story of why the El Fenix Kick Starter was so important to Flight Coffee was an eye opener to us, new into the coffee world at the time. Flight Coffee had seen the potential in our dream just 12 months earlier
Flight Coffee began in Mum’s garage, back in 2009, with a desire to improve coffee for everyone as their key driver. Over the years these boys have continued to proudly proclaim Mum is the word, quietly going about their business to make things, [coffee things] better.
Let us recap:
In 2010, Flight coffee opened the iconic Memphis Belle cafe as the public face of the business, humble beginnings of recycled, often donated materials. Their passion for better coffee saw Memphis Belle become an award-winning institution.
2011 Raw Material is born.
Co-Founder Matt moved abroad and soon realized to have a positive impact they would require additional resources. Raw Material soon morphed into a full-time green bean farming, exporting, importing and consulting company.
2012 saw the first farm transformation project, Helena. A Colombian commodity coffee farm turned into a producer of specialty-grade coffee.
In 2015 with various project's under their belt, the decision to purchase an 8-ha coffee farm in Quindio, Colombia was made. El Fenix was to become a base for the team and home to a community wet mill for the neighbourhood. Another step towards improved price stability for coffee producers and improved income equality along the value chain.
Instant coffee begins with coffee being roasted and brewed into liquid goodness, similar to the one you enjoy each morning.
From here, the processes are vastly different in both method and quality of the finished product.
Spray-dried. Typically labelled instant coffee. Predominantly using cheap, low-grade coffee, liquid coffee is sprayed as a fine mist into superheated air, around 250 degrees Celcius, causing rapid dehydration that results in dry coffee crystals when they hit the ground.
The good stuff starts life the same as its nastier counterpart, although often using better quality beans (as in this case)
before being reduced to a concentrated coffee solution or slurry just below freezing. The next step sees the slushy frozen
to -40 degrees Celcius, forming slabs of coffee ice ahead of being placed in a drying vacuum to remove the moisture or ice molecules, leaving nothing but coffee goodness.
Flight Coffee has their instant made right here in NZ, outsourced to Newground. Their exact method remains a secret, although it follows the freeze-drying process.
Add 3 grams to 200g of water and prepare for maximumcoffee with minimum fuss.
EL FENIX (words by Flight coffee):
The tale of El Fénix began back in December 2016 with the help of almost 400 Kickstarter backers worldwide. The goal was the creation of a community wet mill. Now complete, this project provides the region's farmers with the possibility to have far greater control over their coffee quality, and income security through a fixed price payment system. We think that this kind of investment in accessible infrastructure is one of the steps required to make good on the promise of development through trade. El Fénix is nestled at 1,680 - 1,800 metres above sea level, near the town of Calarcá, in the department of Quindío, Colombia. It faces west toward the Cauca Valley and the central mountain range. The farm has ideal climate conditions for coffee production, with a high sun reflection off of the valley, and an average rainfall 2.275 mm a year. The main harvest comes in from April to July, with a fly crop from November through December. Natural springs provide water for all the farm's needs. The soil is mainly volcanic, and in some areas, Red California worms are wriggling through and aerating the soil. All weeding is done by hand, and no herbicides have ever been used on the farm, enabling microbial and fungi activity to let loose! The past six years have seen enormous change through a lot of hard work on the farm. It was transformed entirely, with 12,000 coffee trees planted across 6 hectares; and this mighty number of seedlings is also growing alongside a varied range of other plants. Growing diverse species of plants allows for improved shade, mineral contributions to the soil, attracting beneficial animals, provides edible foodstuffs, and creates other forms of income for the farm. The story of El Fenix is by no means complete, and in reality, the work has only just begun.
Farm: El Fenix
Producer: Miguel Fajardo
Importer: Raw Material
Altitude: 1500-1800 M.A.S.L
Variety: Pink Bourbon