About the Coop
(told by Gilles Raymond, founder of the Otonomi Program)
Flores Arabica coffee offers more than just coffee. Its aroma has a unique flavor of democracy and freedom. Living in the shadow of the '' Inerie '' volcano, in a chain of villages scattered amongst the mountainside, farmers of the island of Flores have paved a special path over the last 20 years that has led them from 3 decades of forced submission by dictatorship to a new will and collectively taking charge of their own development. The year 2000 was a turning point.
Before arriving to the possibility of coffee plantations, it was first necessary to bring water to the villages. Without water, no development was possible. Gathered by the Otonomi Program, our group of volunteers began bringing fresh water to 40 communities. This first victory against the harshness of life lead to something else. After all, poverty is a curable evil. Where there was no school, we built a school; where there was only one mountain trail, we opened a road. Water is a vein that leads to the hearts of men.
The farmers quickly understood that the running water arriving in the village was not simply for drinking and washing. They could now grow coffee trees from seedlings thanks to rich volcanic soil, ideal climate and high altitudes which together give their Flores arabica coffee a nobility that needs to be recognized. From hectare to hectare, working from one sunrise to the next, thirty families from the village of Watujaji joined together in a cooperative. The name they chose for their collective project: Sinar Tani ‘’rays of the farm” And while some members of the old dictatorship attempted to force the sale of Arabica coffee produced by the farmers to a captive market for the exclusive benefit of an Indonesian Company claiming to have monopoly and all rights, this small coop from the village of Watujaji managed to hold their ground.
Thanks to the support of Terra Coffee and Tea Ltd and its HumaniTerra Foundation, thanks to you on the other side of the world, thanks to the concern of Canadians who have a love of coffee and freedom, a small Coop of thirty families has succeeded in holding on, daring to think outside the box and forge a new path on behalf of all the farmers of the island of Flores. Today, the beans have made their way to your home. It is worth specifying that daily life in this region of Flores draws its inspiration from a wisdom inherited from the ancestors, being a “matrilineal” tribal culture, that is to say that here "property belongs to women" and is transmitted from mother to daughter. So it is with their small coffee plantations.
This is the unique flavor of Arabica coffee from the island of Flores, a world to discover.
Intense body, notes of blueberry, plum, pepper and curry.