The Man Behind The Queen of the Hill Coffee Pod (Pt.2)
As part of our Speciality Grade Nespresso Compatible Coffee Pods series, we bring you an interview with the coffee farmer who provided the beans for our Queen of The Hill coffee pod. It gives us great pleasure to introduce to you Matti Foncha from Cameroon Boyo.
At Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, we pride ourselves on the intimate relationships we maintain with our coffee farmers. We feel it is very important to support them as they do us.
By supporting these coffee growing communities, means they live a better quality of life and can, therefore, provide us with higher quality coffee, it’s a very special partnership that you don’t come across very often.
ENTER MATTI FONCHA FROM CAMEROON BOYO
We caught up with Matti, a coffee farmer and influencer from Cameroon to give you an insight into the detailed work that goes into the production of coffee used in the Queen of the Hill coffee pods. Here’s how it went...
Firstly, we wanted to ask Matti a few questions on how he maintains the quality of the coffee used in the Queen of the Hill coffee pods.
D: What processing method is used and how does it enhance the flavour of the Queen of the Hill beans?
M: Queen of the Hill coffee beans are the same high-quality Cameroon Boyo™ coffee beans offered to speciality coffee roasters. Our farmers carefully pluck well-ripened coffee fruit (usually called cherries) and immediately de-pulp, wash and dry the coffee seeds (beans) within them to preserve their sweetness.
The coffee beans are then taken to a milling center where the shell around them is removed followed by a screening process to separate the beans according to size. This is followed by manual sorting of the beans to remove all defective beans before protection in special food-grade bags for export!
D: How does the grading of these beans help to improve cup quality?
M: For us, grading is a process of arranging the coffee by bean size, that way all the beans in a particular grade are the same size and shape. This uniformity makes it easier for the coffee roaster to determine the “sweet point” of each grade for the best profile in the cup.
D: What is taken into consideration when harvesting the coffee cherries to ensure cup quality?
M: We are very strict about what is harvested – just the fully ripened cherries; that way they have attained their ultimate sugar content and other flavour attributes, however, we cannot stress enough how important other partners along the supply chain are in maintaining the coffee qualities – the dry mill and the coffee roaster for example.
D: What do you think about the coffee pod industry and the rise in speciality coffee shops now providing quality coffee in pods?
M: I think it’s about time! I don’t see any reason why we should not offer our coffee to those who want the convenience of coffee pods. There are trade-offs, of course, but those who invest in good machines and have well-roasted coffee will be sure to enjoy our coffee.
Next, we wanted to ask Matti what makes him and his coffee different to other farmers...
D: What motivates you to invest so much passion and dedication into the production of the green beans used in the pods?
M: We produce one product – high-quality coffee in small-holder family farms. What motivates us is knowing that we are the co-professionals along what we call the “value chain” of our coffee, and other professionals are counting on us to deliver the quality they need in order to deliver the best to our customers.
D: What other practices do you implement to ensure your grade 1 coffee is more desirable than other farms?
M: We are meticulous in separating our coffee into small clusters which we believe represent not only the soil (terroir) but also the socio-cultural groupings which make up what we call our village “Circle of Excellence” groups.
What makes us different is how, together with Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, we apply the fundamentals to brewing a good cup – the roast level, the ground particle size, the amount of coffee in the pods… what matters after that depends on the consumers – the machine they purchase and the quality of water they use.
D: What makes a coffee produced in Cameroon different from any other coffee growing community in the world?
M: I believe the combination of soil, altitude, crop mix in the farm, traditional farming methods, along with the other fundamentals we have discussed, are what make coffees unique.
Finally, we wanted to ask Matti what made him collaborate with Department of Coffee and Social Affairs...
D: How does our roastery, The Roastery Department encourage a robust ongoing relationship?
M: The Roastery Department has indicated their interest in investing in our village projects; I believe that is a good way of demonstrating commitment. We encourage investments rather than simple “aid” or “feel sorry” money because we are confident in our capability of efficiently supplying top quality coffee when we have resolved our equipment and infrastructure problems.
D: Why Department of Coffee and Social Affairs? What made you want to work with us?
M: Department of Coffee and Social Affairs work with us as interdependent collaborators – our relationship is built on trust, mutual respect, and integrity.
We are drawn to Department of Coffee and Social Affairs because they share our values – seeing us as very important partners who will sustain their growth and success when we collaborate in a mutually beneficial manner.
Department of Coffee and Social Affairs respect our work and take it upon themselves to apply their skills as roasters to bring out the extraordinary flavours and sweetness in our coffee.