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a true partnership

Our coffee farmers are directly involved in every aspect of the coffee production process.

FROM THE FIELD TO YOUR CUP

50% of profits are returned directly to our farmers.

 

welcome to El Puente

El Puente takes a fundamentally different approach to how coffee has been conventionally bought and sold. Our approach is simple, we focus on the farmer.  Participatory development defines us and we place our emphasis on the economic, social, and environmental well-being of our farmers. In the process, we are able to provide our customers with some of the finest single origin Arabica coffee from Central America while returning 50% of the profits directly to our farmers. Our farmers earn 5 times the amount possible even under Fair Trade prices.

 

Phone

(970) 819-5475

email

braden.elpuente@gmail.com

location

Steamboat Springs, CO
USA

 
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our coffee

Grown where they are hand processed, our exotic coffees are unique because they come to you directly from the people who take great care and pride in their cultivation. A true specialty coffee.  

CAFÉ LOS JILGUEROS – Medium Roast 

This single origin, high altitude coffee is harvested in the shadow of Costa Rica’s most lofty peak, Cerro Chirripó. It is grown by a small group of third generation coffee farmers whose love and skill produce an exceptional bean.

Producer: COOPE CEDRAL
Country of Origin:  Costa Rica
Altitude:  1300-1500m
Varieties: Caturra/Catuai
Process:  Semi-Washed, Dried on Raised Solar Beds

 

CAFÉ DOñA ROSA – Dark Roast

Our newest single origin offering hails from the volcanic soils of Costa Rica’s famed coffee growing region, El Valle Central.  Café Doña Rosa is the result of the passion and the expertise invested by the Valverde family and we think you will be pleased by its complex nature.

Producer: RODOLFO VALVERDE
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Altitude: 1200m
Varieties: Caturra
Process: Washed, Sun-dried on raised drying beds

 

Coming Soon! Our special guest coffee...

CAFÉ río intag – medium Roast

our story

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world but coffee farmers continue to be some of the world’s most impoverished producers. The traditional coffee supply chain is complex and it has been intentionally designed to place the producer at a strategic disadvantage by limiting their direct participation as coffee moves from the field to the cup. 

Traditionally, once the crop is harvested and begins its journey up the supply chain, all parties involved – the sourcer, exporter, importer, roaster, packager, distributor, wholesaler, store owner- need to make a profit in order to stay in business. Farmers are thus placed in the precarious position of growing a crop that provides others with sizeable profits while they struggle to survive.  

El Puente works alongside our farmers directly involving them in all aspects of the coffee supply chain. Our farmers harvest and process the beans they grow, roast them to perfection, package them, and then participate in the direct marketing and the ultimate sale of their beans to consumers. Through this approach, we are able to work as a true partner with our farmers, equally splitting profits, providing them with an unprecedented price for their coffees. 

LOCATION

The lush highlands of Costa Rica is home to our coffees. Costa Rica contains eight distinct coffee growing regions and we proudly offer you beans from the Central Valley and the Brunca regions. 

The Central Valley, or El Valle Central is the country’s oldest coffee growing region and it is defined by rich volcanic soils and the tropical influence of the Pacific Ocean. Undertones of fruit, chocolate and honey characterize prized beans from El Valle Central.

The Brunca is Costa Rica’s youngest growing region and it is situated near the Continental Divide in the southern zone of the country. Known for the rugged Talamanca Mountains and their fertile soils, coffee grown here is analogous with citrus notes and a complex flavor profile.

GROW

Our specialty offerings this year showcase the Arabica coffee varieties of Caturra and Catuai.

Caturra is a robust and high yielding coffee bean which was originally cultivated in Brazil and it is closely related to the heirloom Bourbon coffee plant. It is a dominant player in the Central American coffee scene and it has also found notoriety in Colombia. The variety is known for its signature medium body and a bright and lively level of acidity. 

The roots of Catuai can also be traced to Brazil and it is prized for its ability to thrive at high altitudes. The plant is small in stature and its fruits are firmly attached to their branches, making it resistant to the high winds common at altitude. Catuai is a hybrid of Mundo Novo and Caturra and it is characterized by a distinguishably refined and clean acidity. 

HARVEST

In order to ensure the highest quality coffee, our farmers pride themselves in picking only the most mature and ripe coffee cherries. This is done entirely by hand and cherries are carefully selected to preserve the consistency and uniformity in our taste profiles. The careful selection of ripe cherries by our discerning farmers exhibit the pride they take in sharing their crop with you.

PROCESS

At the end of each day’s harvest, coffee cherries are weighed, separated, and processed, on site, at our farms’ small coffee mills. Our beans do not travel to other facilities to be processed, the entire process is locally controlled in order to ensure quality and consistency in our specialty micro-coffee lots.

Depending upon the season, our coffees undergo one of two washing techniques: washed and semi-washed (lavado and semi-lavado). The washed technique is common in Central America and involves the coffee cherries passing through a de-pulping machine that removes both the cherry and the mucilage to expose the coffee parchment lodged inside. The de-pulping machine uses water, friction, and metal blades to achieve this. The pulp is captured and used as fertilizer for our crops and the coffee parchment then progresses into the drying stage.

When possible, our farmers employ a natural technique known as semi-washed or the honey method (café de miel) to wash our coffees. This is considered one of the most environmentally sustainable methods for washing coffee since no water is wasted in the process. The honey method differs from the washed technique in that the mucilage is left adhering to the surface of the bean providing the coffee with a balanced acidity and a distinct sweetness infused with citrus flavors.

El Puente utilizes two drying techniques:  raised beds and raised solar drying beds. The use of these traditional forms of drying rather than the utilization of large industrial mechanical dryers eliminates an overuse of electricity and fossil fuels during the drying process.   

Raised beds consist of an elevated drying bed constructed of a square wooden frame which is lined with mesh. Air circulates evenly from above and below as the beans are rotated to allow for a uniform and consistent drying from the sun. Raised beds originated in Africa and they are ideally suited for use in areas where the harvest climate enjoys extended periods of sunlight.

Raised solar beds, are similar to traditional raised beds with the difference being that the beds are covered by a plastic hooped canopy which protects the beans from moisture and provides the heat needed to dry the beans in inclement weather. Raised solar beds are common in areas that receive rain or experience cloudy conditions following the coffee harvest.

our people

 
 

Braden Diego Wilson: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Braden Diego Wilson currently teaches Spanish to middle school students in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Braden has spent the better part of the past decade working on community development and public health projects in the Central American countries of Nicaragua, Panama, and his beloved Costa Rica.  The idea for a coffee project surfaced in 2007 during a community meeting in the small community of Cedral, Costa Rica. Since then, Braden has brought numerous middle and high school volunteer groups to Central America on a yearly basis to work alongside farmers assisting them in the construction of a micro-mill coffee processing facility. The inception of El Puente Coffee was rooted in the economic and social injustices that hard working coffee farmers face in a very exploitative international market. The idea was to form a true partnership of social entrepreneurship to empower farmers to take control of a process that had traditionally been designed around exclusion. Wilson is the proud father of Isabel, and he is an avid mountain biker, skier, and surfer who feels equally at home trudging through coffee fields as he does when pursing his passions in the mountains or on the water. 

 

Rodolfo Valverde: Piedades, Costa Rica

I was born in 1966 and I came from a large family of 7 siblings. Since I was 5 years old I remember my father working his small lot of coffee beside our house. My father was a carpenter and my mother was a seamstress. When I was 7, my father had an opportunity to work on one of the larger coffee plantations in the region. Thanks to this job, combined with my mother’s seamstress work, 3 of my brothers and I were able to go to school, a great accomplishment, considering that at this time it was difficult for people from the countryside to have an opportunity to study. I graduated from high school in 1984 and in 1985 I began working in the Montero coffee plantation. At 22, I married Maria Eugenia Fallas Duran, an exceptional woman. God gave us an amazing gift of 4 wonderful children. Kimberly, who at 25 graduated from college and is now working, Jennifer who is married and attending college, Melanie who is studying in college, and Jose who is finishing high school.  In 1998, God provided us the opportunity to acquire a small farm of 5 hectares, located in Costa Rica’s Central Valley in the community of Piedades. This was a working coffee farm which allowed me to enjoy being the owner of my own farm. Since I was a child, my father taught me that the cultivation of coffee is for hardworking people and that the costs of production are very high, and that farmers have no control over international market prices, this being the most important factor. In actuality, due to climate change, threats of disease to coffee plants have increased making coffee more vulnerable and difficult to maintain than ever before. We have had to adapt and reinvent our business, combining it with rural tourism and we have named our farm Finca Integral Doña Rosa. We process coffee in an artisan style, incorporating traditional methods of processing, especially sun drying, which has allowed us to expand into a different market. With faith in God, we hope to be able to continue down this difficult but marvelous path of coffee cultivation, which has for the past 40 years, allowed me to grow and shaped me as a person.

 

COOPE CEDRAL: Cedral de Cajón, Costa Rica

The southern highland community of Cedral de Cajón was founded roughly 50 years ago by farmers coming from the famed Los Santos region of central Costa Rica. Los Santos has long produced world renowned coffee and the settlers of Cedral brought this knowledge of coffee cultivation with them across the mountains. In 1996, community members founded Asociación de Productores de Cedral (ASOPROCE) to represent agricultural interests in the community. Gradually, the association shifted their interests from dairy production to a singular focus on coffee and the dream of the construction of a small micro-mill coffee facility (beneficio) soon followed. Traditionally, the community had sold their high altitude coffee to massive local mills at very low prices only to have their artisan coffee mixed in with inferior beans from lower altitudes. The farmers of Cedral wanted to differentiate their coffee from the other producers in the region and projects assisted by student volunteer groups laid the groundwork for the construction of a mico-mill in the community. The eventual establishment of the micro-beneficio Los Jilgueros was spearheaded by visionary brothers, Donal and Froilan Diaz, and the ownership of a local mill ensured that the specialty coffee from Cedral could be preserved, processed by hand, and controlled locally in order to garner a better price for an exquisite coffee. ASOPROCE has since evolved into COOPE CEDRAL and the small co-op is comprised of approximately ten families who plant, harvest, and process outstanding coffees following strict environmental guidelines to guarantee consistency and quality in each micro coffee lot. 

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EMAIL: braden.elpuente@gmail.com

PHONE: (970) 819-5475  

LOCATION: Steamboat Springs, CO

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