Each year, we evaluate our producers partners in a number key areas, assessing their ability to produce quality coffees that serve the needs of our clients. This is a rigorous assessment that we take seriously, as it indicates how well-suited a producer is to supply coffee to our customers. We are fortunate to partner with excellent organizations whose values align with our own, and overwhelming find that producers we choose to partner with perform well on this scorecard.
Some producers, however, score above and beyond what we expect of them, demonstrating a remarkable commitment to coffee excellence. We call this group the Most Valuable Producers, or MVPs.
The MVP Program is Sustainable Harvest®'s preferred supplier program that connects roasters to exceptional coffees and supports the MVPs as they work to maintain their high level of performance and innovate their product. Funded by Sustainable Harvest®, the MVPs themselves, roasters, and partner organizations, the program features farmer training events around the globe that equip the MVPs with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed as top suppliers. These events also provide opportunities for the MVPs to connect with buyers and learn about the needs of the rapidly evolving coffee market. Topics that are often addressed at MVP events include:
The MVP Program connects roasters to a diverse portfolio of top-tier coffees, from value organics to exquisite micro-lots, produced by exceptional farmers. Beyond their pursuit of quality, these producers are deeply committed to on-time shipments, environmental stewardship, economic empowerment of under-resourced groups like women producers, and more. Their membership in the program develops long-term relationships with buyers that are built on consistent quality and performance year-after-year.
Here are a few of the key benefits roasters can enjoy from sourcing an MVP produced coffee:
Excellent cup quality
Direct trade at scale
Extremely low risk of defaults
Opportunities for origin engagement
The philosophy of the program is it to continually evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of both roasters and the producer organizations. By connecting MVPs to roasters, the MVPs are able to better understand how they can adjust their operations to best serve the needs of the specialty market. In turn, we tailor origin-based MVP events to focus on topics like innovations in processing that help producer organizations leverage new processing techniques to produce flavor profiles to meet client needs.
Similarly, when the MVPs identify challenges at origin like climate change, we can bring industry experts to MVP events to help the MVPs leverage cutting-edge drying techniques and new varieties to mitigate the challenges a changing climate presents.
Throughout the history of the MVP Program, we've convened a variety of events at origin and in consumer markets focused on training and education and market access. We also have a number of upcoming events planned, and we welcome roasters and other impact partners to participate. If you're interested in becoming part of an MVP event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer 2019 | Peru
In the summer of 2019, our Peru MVPs united once again in Peru to improve their quality control skills, calibrate, learn about cutting-edge processing techniques, and plan for the harvest.
Summer 2019 | Colombia
Ever seeking to improve their quality and ability to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving market, the Colombia MVPs gathered to calibrate and strategize for the year ahead.
July 2018 | Peru
Our 2018 MVP Peru Summit gathered our Peru supply partners for a series of trainings and workshops focused on strengthening the supply chain and improving the quality potential of post-harvest processing. Through the event in Moyobamba, the MVPs reached several significant milestones:
December 2017 | Beneficio Santa Rosa, Honduras
Following up a successful Q exam preparation course held during our MVP Central America summit in Honduras just weeks before (see the event below), 16 cuppers from the MVP supply chain elected to take the full Q certification exam at a special 75% discount offered to MVP program members by Sustainable Harvest®. The exam took place over six days at Beneficio Santa Rosa in Honduras.
The test is notoriously difficult, but thanks to hard work the MVPs put in to preparing, four of them passed: Alex Enrique Mejia Hernandez of Beneficio Santa Rosa; Fatima Lopez Rodriguez of Beneficio Prodecoop in Nicaragua; Norma Mileybi Lara of Cocafelol in Honduras; and Jose Daniel Palacio of Colombia’s Cooagronevada. Congrats to this new class of Relationship Coffee Q Graders!
Click here to learn more about the event on our blog.
November 2017 | Prodecoop cooperative, Nicaragua
Our first ever MVP event in Central America gathered 80 participants for four days of cuppings, workshops, and presentations organized by Sustainable Harvest® staff and industry experts. These activities touched on a range of topics including quality control, Q Grader certification, best agronomic practices, climate change, processing, drying, warehousing, coffee market innovation, organizational development, and financial risk management. Leading these sessions were 10 Sustainable Harvest® staff members, who along with industry experts like World Coffee Research's Dr. Francisco Anzueto provided additional insights into variety selection, innovations in processing, and Roya prevention.Click here for a full recap of the event on our blog.
October 2016 | Mexico
Through the MVP Program, the MVP producer organizations receive a free pass to Let’s Talk Coffee Global, our bi-annual event gathering the global coffee supply chain to do business, learn about innovations in coffee, tackle pressing issues in the industry, and celebrate Relationship Coffee. At Let’s Talk Coffee® 2016 Mexico, we united the MVP organizations a day early with several roasters and experts to discuss opportunities in the emerging market of China, income diversification through cocoa and honey, and how to best meet the needs of roasters who are navigating an increasingly competitive specialty coffee marketplace.
April 2019 | New York City, New York
Our most recent market access event took place in New York City following the 2019 SCA Expo in Boston. 35 MVPs headed down to the city to meet with a range of leading specialty roasters in the city who are pioneering unique customer experiences and innovative products like nitro-cold brew. The event provided an important opportunity for the MVPs to gain insight into a fast-growing and key market in the eastern region of the United States.
October 2018 | Switzerland
A small group of key Colombia and Peru MVPs ventured to Switzerland with Sustainable Harvest® leadership to meet with some of the world's largest roasting companies. The trip provided a unique opportunity for high-volume MVP organizations to understand the market needs of large buyers and the challenges they face when making purchases at scale. An important highlight of the trip was attending the Swiss Coffee Trade Association Gala, a gathering of the world's largest coffee buyers.
April 2018 | Seattle & Olympia, Washington
Home to a global-recognized roaster and boutique craft-coffee shops alike, touring Seattle proved to be a highly educational experience for the MVPs. A stop at the Willy-Wonka-esque Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Capitol Hill showcased new trends developing in the specialty consumer experience space, while tours of regional roasters provided insight into the quality and relationship values of smaller scale roasters in a state known for its coffee consumption.
April 2017 | Portland, Oregon
Our first market access event for the MVPs also featured a strong educational element. Taking advantage of the 2017 SCA Expo in Seattle the week before, Sustainable Harvest® invited several Re:co symposium speakers and attendees down to Portland to share their insights with a group of 21 MVPs. These speakers included Dan McCloskey of PQC Consulting and Hanna Neuschwander of World Coffee Research, who spoke about market consolidation and variety innovations, respectively. The summit also featured plenty of visits to Portland’s renown local cafes and roasters, both large and small.