Roasters, listen up! We’re pleased to announce that UNEX, the largest coffee sourcer, miller, and exporter in El Salvador, will be welcoming coffee professionals to its farms as an Official Sourcing Trip Experience Host Sponsor.
Since 1992, UNEX has continued the De Sola Group’s vision for transparency and innovation, having joined forces with four other coffee producing families to expand its reach to more than 4,000 farmers. Today, it’s a company strongly committed to improving the sustainability of El Salvador’s coffee supply chain.
Let’s take a closer look at the company and how it will engage with Sourcing Trip Experience attendees.
Transforming the Salvadoran coffee sector
Since its foundation, UNEX has been the single largest exporter of Salvadoran coffee, making up around 20% of the total market share.
Juan Francisco de Sola is the CEO of UNEX. He explains that more than anything, the company believes that to create a sustainable coffee industry, all players in the coffee supply chain – from farmers and millers to green coffee buyers and roasters – must perceive genuine value in producing coffee.
“More than a farm, a mill, or a good cupping of quality coffee, UNEX wants PRF visitors to understand and visualize a sustainable supply chain,” he explains. “UNEX exists to create value not only for the roasters that import Salvadoran coffee, but also the farmers, their respective communities, and the environment.”
He says that producers are the ones who take price and environmental risks, adding that roasters, especially, need to understand how hard it is for producers to be both productive and sustainable.
“The most valuable part is the relationship that needs to be created and fortified,” he continues. “The roaster must be able to import coffee that will satisfy its customers, and UNEX needs to source the coffee that will deliver on roaster consumer and demand and create the conditions in which farmers can be profitable.”
What can STE attendees expect from UNEX?
STE attendees who meet up with UNEX will visit the company’s coffee mill and the following three farms:
- Finca Plan del Hoyo
- Finca El Carmen
- Finca Nueva Granada
Finca Plan del Hoyo is owned by UNEX CEO Francisco de Sola and Finca El Carmen is owned by UNEX Director Alfredo Cristiani. Finca Nueva Granada is run by Edwin Donald Castro, a valuable member of the company’s small farmer supply chain.
These farms are scattered across three distinct coffee producing regions in El Salvador, and UNEX aims to demonstrate each location’s industrial processes while showcasing their exceptional coffees.
“El Salvador is unique from other coffee origins in that the producer and miller/exporter are either vertically integrated or directly connected through a direct sourcing transaction,” Juan Francisco explains.
“There is no intermediation between the farmer and the exporter. This allows for a more direct and transparent relationship within the supply chain, which is essential for sustainability. It also allows for better and consistent quality for the roaster.”
The Sourcing Trip Experience is meticulously curated to ensure that roasters from around the world are paired with leading Salvadoran specialty coffee producers.
Over the course of the experience, roasters will get the opportunity to speak with producers at length about Salvadoran coffee production, tour their farms and mills, and sample a range of different coffees.
“We are extremely excited about connecting roasters and traders from all over the world with the UNEX supply chain”, Juan Francisco concludes. “We wish to enlist roasters in what needs to be a joint effort in making farming coffee sustainable in El Salvador.”
Some example activities that you can expect during the STE include:
- Farm tours, which will cover a range of different varieties and producer profiles
- Tours of wet and dry mills, where participants will see optical sorting machinery, depulpers, fermentation tanks, and other key equipment in operation
- Cupping sessions arranged directly with producers
- Roundtable discussions on industry challenges from both producer and roaster perspectives
- Networking opportunities with potential sourcing partners and roasters from around the world
- Organized dinners with local specialities/dishes