Traceability: What is it and Why is it Important?
Coffee’s journey from cultivation, flowering, and harvesting to sorting and processing are essential steps within the supply chain. Origin is where the work conducted by producers and workers is reflected in the quality of the coffee. It is here the magic happens – but few know exactly where their coffee comes from or how exactly it arrived at its final destination.
Understanding where the coffee you purchase comes from is understanding its traceability. Being able to trace a coffee back to its origin is important within the coffee industry. The supply chain can be long and filled with many links, and here at Mercanta, we truly value traceability. In our 25 years of buying coffee throughout the world, we have purchased from over 25 origins. Each coffee we purchase goes through a standard traceability process, whereby we collect information ranging from photos, details about processing to unique stories and information on sustainability projects.
Traceability gives recognition to the producers and validates where the coffee is grown, picked, and processed in addition to the assurance that it was produced ethically and sustainably. It is vital that we tell the story of each coffee we purchase, which lends support to spreading awareness about the work going on at origin to our clients.
Recently, Mercanta partnered with Oritain, a science-based technology system utilizing environmental chemistry to enhance traceability. This has been achieved with cotton in clothing by examining the natural properties absorbed by the cotton at origin and testing it against the final product to reveal its true location.
Mercanta hopes to mirror this achievement with our coffees. Members of the Oritain field team will be testing coffee from each of our origins and running the environmental data against the coffees within each of our labs throughout the world. In the end, we will have an environmental catalogue for each of our coffees. This will then generate a map of the collected forensic data to provide traceability and transparency confirmation to the industry and elevate the reputation of various coffee producing regions.
Stephen Hurst, Mercanta founder, notes that “True sustainability requires understanding fine coffee not as a generic commodity but, rather, as a unique agricultural product with distinctive flavors and profiles – many of which it inherits from its origin.” Mercanta’s partnership with Oritain will bring assurances of origin to coffee and to sustainability.
Here at Mercanta, we value traceability, and seek to ensure that all of our clients know exactly where their coffee comes from. We also seek to shine a light on the hard work of coffee producers – with enhanced traceability, we can, with confidence, confirm the origins of each of our coffees. From the delicate tree branches throughout the Coffee Belt all the way to our warehouses – traceability reveals the journey from seed to cup. Stay tuned!