In Focus: Cultivar Coffee

Wednesday, 11 January, 2017

Cultivar Coffee have built a business around a love for coffee and all the amazing people that go into getting the best possible beans into South Africa and to our top roasteries. Adventurers at heart, everything they do is based on a Masters-thesis on the upliftment of Smallholder coffee farmers, and has this concept at its core.

We caught up with founder, Charles Denison and he had some exciting news and stories to share!

What was the favourite coffee that you imported last year and what made it special?

A Tanzanian Iyenga Microlot, from an amazing community we are working closely with, who have overcome massive challenges to improve their quality. Chad Whitby (Colombo Coffee) used this coffee successfully at the KZN Barista Champs, and we are sourcing a new lot for him for Nationals.

What was Cultivar's greatest achievement in 2016 and what do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
Cultivar secured some great new cooperatives and farms to work with directly, especially in East Africa and Colombia. This allows us not only to support the farmers first hand, but also to give feedback in building a long-standing relationship. 2017 we hope to expand on this with new regions, and unique offerings from lesser known origins and regions.

Is it possible to pinpoint your favourite country of origin to visit?
In Africa, it would be Tanzania, as the farmers don't get the foot-traffic of visiting roasters as Kenya and Ethiopia do. While those are both special origins to visit, Tanzania has a uniqueness and raw spirit, as well as incredible natural beauty in and around the coffee lands. Central America is amazing too because they farm and process so differently to what we are used to in East Africa. I have just returned from Reunion Island, where the original Bourbon coffee comes from, which was a long-term dream of mine.

What is the one thing you wish people in the street knew about the coffee they are buying from their local roasteries?
Local roasteries not only make amazing fresh coffee, but create a lot of jobs, and are actually up against huge multi-nationals that are importing roasted coffee currently without import duties in SA. This puts huge pressure on the small local guys, and this is something Cultivar will be lobbying hard to stop this year. We have begun the process of requesting import duties for roasted beans into SA to secure and protect the local industry. This is something everyone can get behind and support.

We have been privileged to have Charles write a number of articles for us over the years, like this one on how to cup coffee and why it's important, and he has taken some epic pictures along his travels that he has shared with our lucky readers.

Relating to these beautiful pictures, The Coffee Magazine would like to formally apologise to Cultivar Coffee for incorrectly crediting the beautiful photography that was published in the latest edition of the magazine and omitting a credit in Issue 16. These errors were unintentional and we would like to publicly give credit where credit is due! Thank you for all Cultivar contributes to the coffee community and we look forward to future features!

The above picture (on the left) was taken during a sustainable management project in Tanzania run on educating farmers on good agricultural practices by Charles Denison.

The image on the right of the beautiful women of the Nyeri region in Kenya was captured by Charles Denison.

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