by Adam Pesce, Reunion Island Coffee
When I started traveling to origin as a coffee buyer eight years ago, the concept of a buying trip was hardly a new one. Buyers were visiting farmers, co-ops, and importers around the world long before it became the virtual necessity for credible specialty coffee roasters it is now. Over the past decade, there has been a paradigm shift in the reasoning behind such visits, much to the benefit of everyone involved.
The original traveling coffee buyers, mostly from large coffee corporations, visited primarily to secure their supply chains. While this remains a benefit of origin visits, there are a multitude of reasons for most specialty roasters to visit the sources of our coffees beyond the principal function of actually buying them: enlightenment, education, training, and sharing knowledge are chief amongst them. At its best, an origin trip is an equally beneficial learning experience for both the buyer and the farmer.