Red Siskin Special Edition Coffee CuppingJuly 15, 2021 by Bárbara Santana
The activity was led by the Venezuelan specialist and Q Grader Raúl Martínez and six specialty coffees were tasted.
The NGO Provita and St. Honoré Bakery teamed up on July 1st for a Specialty Cupping of organic certified coffees from Venezuelan Coastal Range farms. The event was led by the Venezuelan specialist and Q Grader Raúl Martínez. Coffee beans were harvested by a group of producers supported by the environmental NGO.
Participants included representatives of premium coffee roasters, journalists, conservation experts and coffee producers. They tasted six specialty coffees grown by producers located in the communities of Piedra e’ Cachimbo, La Florida and Lajas Pintadas (La Guaira and Miranda states, Venezuela) who are all part of the Red Siskin Initiative (RSI) Birds and Coffee project that is led by Provita.
This project promotes shade agriculture and the use of wildlife friendly agroforestry and reforestation techniques, helping to make these crops sustainable and thus avoid deforestation and protect tropical dry and cloud forests, ecosystems that are seriously threatened in Venezuela.
Project manager and Provita agronomist Luis Arrieta said “Currently, Birds and Coffee is a unique experience of its kind in Venezuela. We started with 200 hectares and have intervened in coffee plantations together with these producers and reforested close to 60 hectares thanks to the implementation of good agroforestry techniques”.
Thanks to the support of training and technical assistance from the RSI, the producers formed the Association of Agroforestry Producers – Piedra e’ Cachimbo and La Florida (ACAFLO). A growing number of farms are achieving Smithsonian Bird Friendly ® Coffee certification for their crops.
Mauricio Iranzo, from Birds and Coffee, described the path taken by the producers as the result not only of having organized themselves, but also of having common values, goals and a shared vision of sustainably producing specialty organic coffees, which in turn is a strategy for cultural and biodiversity conservation.
Karelvys Alfonzo, manager of the St. Honoré Bakery, highlighted the alliance between the NGO Provita and the renowned pastry shop, which is one of the retailers of the Red Siskin Special Edition coffee that is produced by ACAFLO and roasted by Café Tierra de Gracia. It is also sold by Hato Las Caretas Delivery.
The Red Siskin Special Edition includes specialty coffees that adhere to the parameters of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), which also implies a high quality product that, with responsible practices, ensures the protection of our biodiversity.
“In the world of coffee, what is different, what stands out, is in demand. Among the so-called exotic coffees we look for something that surprises, that stands out, for example, a coffee that evokes a wine or a soup”, said Raúl Martínez.
“Venezuela has always stood out as a coffee producer and activities such as this cupping contribute to the objective of creating the Coffee Country Brand that will place us once again in the world panorama of this market”, said Arrieta.
CARDENALITO PA’ RATO – RED SISKIN FOR MUCH LONGER
“Birds and Coffee” is a project led by Provita and the Red Siskin Initiative in Venezuela and supported by partners such as the Smithsonian Institution, the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program, which supports work to conserve Neotropical migratory birds in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
In addition, the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Program also contributes to broaden the scope of this project by incorporating Climate Smart Technologies into farmers’ daily routines as a sustainability strategy.
The project focuses on improving agroforestry practices through comprehensive training of farmers through lectures, face-to-face (and now also distance learning) workshops, as well as technical visits to their fields.