How One Farmer is Making a Difference in Their Community: Meet Forest Coffee

August 29, 2023 Alejandro Betancur

How One Farmer is Making a Difference in Their Community: Meet Forest Coffee

Forest Coffee is a coffee farm and green coffee bean export company originating from the beautiful country of Colombia. Colombia is renowned throughout the world for growing some of the best and most unique coffees because of companies like Forest Coffee! As the coffee industry continues to grow and change, Forest Coffee is at the front of the curve. Their base of operations is located in Bogota, Colombia, and their farm is located in Tolima, Colombia. Santiago is the head of coffee for North America, so naturally, he has been our primary connection to Forest Coffee.

Santiago and the Forest Coffee staff have been nothing but a joy to work with! Joshua, Rachel, and Nathan Parvin were able to visit their headquarters in Bogota, Colombia, in November of 2022, and Santiago was able to visit us in Birmingham in March of 2023. While he was here, we were able to show him our cafés and roastery and spend quality time with him.

Delight in a cup of Colombian coffee today!

Santiago’s Coffee Journey

Santiago hails from Colombia, but his coffee journey began as a barista in Moscow at a café called Coffee Mouse. Everyone has to start somewhere, and in the coffee world, the journey often begins with working as a barista. Santiago wanted to open his own café while he and his wife lived in Russia. Instead, he worked his way up from barista to manager and then roaster for multiple locations. Throughout this journey, he was able to learn and understand how coffee is made all over the world. The more he learned, the more he was able to tell the stories of the coffee he had. He was later able to work on grading green coffee in a lab and further grow his expertise. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his coffee journey took him back to Colombia. At that point, he was equipped to start his story with Forest Coffee.

How Forest Coffee Found Its Specialty

Santiago says, “For me personally, coffee trading was something that I didn’t look for being my path. It chose me because I fell in love with coffee almost 10 to 12 years ago.” Forest Coffee has become a dear partner of ours, sharing the same heart for excellence in direct trade coffee. When Forest Coffee started, it was very difficult for them because market prices dropped so low. They tried commercial coffee, and it went terribly. Then they attempted to grow new varieties, and their creativity started to grow the business. Finally, some progress!

Direct trade is heavily responsible for Forest Coffee’s growth. Santiago says, “It changed everything.” Not only was Forest Coffee seeing financial growth, but something even more important to them was a newfound purpose to “speak with the people that are roasting [their] coffee and see what we can do better,” Santiago said.

Direct Trade With Forest Coffee

If you know Baba Java, then you know we are passionate about direct trade. Direct trade is best! But why? Direct trade coffee gives the farmer the most profit from their crop and the buyer the best price. A better bang for your buck! The middleman is no longer needed. Direct trade also builds relationships with the roasteries and the farmers, which leads to more connection and community in the global coffee world. This is exactly what has happened in our growing relationship with Forest Coffee!

Santiago and Forest Coffee are also doing something few others do. They own a farm, process the coffees, handle exports from Colombia, import into consuming countries, sales in those consuming countries, AND ship to the final destination. That is an entirely new take on direct-trade coffee. Forest Coffee is a one-stop shop, handling everything from farm to roaster. The only thing they are missing is a roastery and café, and they would have a complete coffee supply chain if they took on these final two steps. They also manage relationships and sales with other Colombian farmers. In doing this, they help them learn the best growing and processing practices to ensure the best quality coffee. This helps the farmers get more for their coffees and the consumers to get better quality.

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Try Forest Coffee’s Unique Flavors For Yourself!

From Forest Coffee farms, we have the Colombia Pink Power Bourbon and an incredible Colombia Decaf coffee. Decaf is not known for being delicious, but Forest Coffee and our roasters have proven that reputation wrong. The Pink Power Bourbon is proof of how far the coffee community has come. It is one of our in-house favorites!

 When Santiago’s interview was concluding, he left us with the most important reminder;

“Drink very good coffee.”

Shop our specialty coffees online, or let us serve you in-store!