We can never really guarantee that the coffee we source is ethically produced, nor that the price we pay is being fairly distributed back to the farmer. In most cases, we rely on trust of our partners, and of course, with contracts.
The blockchain is a ledger of contracts on a distributed network. As long as the network agrees on the ledger, the ledger is considered true and the contracts are valid. Coffee has numerous contracts signed. As a lot of coffee goes though its many stages of production, each transaction could be written to a blockchain ledger, and in theory, that ledger is irrefutable. It could offer a stronger guarantee that all the contracts in a coffee's history are correct.
That is how our new release from Honduras is being purchased. Each transaction in this coffee's history has been written to the blockchain, and those contracts are available for everyone to see:
Not only have the price transactions been written to the ledger, you'll also notice a great deal of physical analysis is available. All of this information was collected and written in to the blockchain as well.
This way of sourcing coffee and ensuring it's physical and economic properties is not perfect. But it's a step closer to the type of transparency we'd like to see (and not just in our industry). And it's quite fun to dig into.
Every retail bag of Honduras Francis Rodriguez that we sell will come with a QR code that can be scanned to access this report. We are very excited to continue to work with Francis, Catracha Coffee, and Bext360 on future harvests.
In addition to the blockchain ledger, this year's release of Francis's coffee comes with a third guaranteed payment. At Catracha, Francis gets paid once for the coffee itself, and receives a second payment in the form of a profit-share from the cooperative. We at H+S are also adding a third payment of $1 per pound for the lot. This third payment will be sent once Francis's coffee has sold out.