A “Very Special” Relationship

Back to January 2015 in search for coffee of “Single Farmer Origin” Nicolas met Lodovikus Vadirman, co-founder and head of ASNIKOM, a small cooperative in Flores, East-Manggarai, with now 447 active members.

He was given their best samples and introduced to their understanding of dignity. Those simple farmers are able to produce highest quality using very ordinary tools and methods. Their coffees have won several national „specialty“ competitions (Coffee Journey I).

Since the beginning of 2015 we are committed to present the best goods of ASNIKOM.

At first we bought Arabica SL-795 (full washed) and also Fine Robusta  (pulped natural) and presented it in our small coffee shop in Döbeln.

  • Arabica SL-795 grade 1 (full washed) 970kg Farmgate Price: 4€/kg
  • Fine Robusta grade 1 (pulped natural) 50kg Farmgate Price: 3,35€/kg

Nicolas visited the farmers again in October 2015 and added Yellow Caturra to our range of coffees (coming up: Coffee Journey II). We bought also Fine Robusta as we were really pleased with the 50kg we had before.

Meanwhile we had developed and defined the Two-Kings-Principle.

  • Yellow Caturra grade 1 (full washed) 1020kg Farmgate price: 6€/kg
  • Fine Robusta grade 1 (pulped natural )540kg Farmgate Price: 3,75€/kg

Based on this philosophy Nicolas visited ASNIKOM again in April 2016 and took Ralf Knauthe, a really good friend, regular customer and also coffee lover with him to personally meet the ones who grow and process the good he enjoys every day (coming up: Coffee Journey III).

There they were told about the existence of Red Caturra and also Typica called Juria. It is the second oldest Arabica variety of the whole island. These coffee trees are over 30 and even up to 50 years old and are only found on some small plantations. Because of a very little and rare harvest (only every 3-5 years) most coffee farmers decided to chop down the old trees to make room for SL-795.

A Japanese who resided in Bali discovered this variety in Colol and with the help of local coffee traders of influence started promoting this coffee in Bali and also Japan. The roasted beans were sold for around 62€/kg within the island or sometimes even 75€/kg within Indonesia and in Japan for as much as 83€/kg though they were not processed well to be declared “grade 1” which is specialty.

We decided to also buy this varieties as well from ASNIKOM and received it in April 2017 – together with Red Caturra.

  • Typica Juria grade 1 (full washed) 595kg Farmgate price: 10,31€/kg
  • Red Caturra grade 1 (pulped natural) 130kg Farmgate Price: 6,5€/kg

In May 2017 Nicolas visited ASNIKOM and brought another two regular customers with him. One of them wanted to purchase traditionally processed coconut oil for his small soap factory. The other customer is a professional photographer was hired by Nicolas to make a short film about ASNIKOM (coming up: Coffee Journey IV).

Again in September 2017 we got our Arabica SL-795 with the 1st purchase of coconut oil for our german friend.

  • Arabica SL-795 grade 1 (full washed) 300kg Farmgate price: 5,8€/kg

Again in January 2018 Nicolas travelled to Flores, this time together with his mother and sister. The two women were introduced to ASNIKOM to later be of help in terms of better communication since they are living in Jakarta (more to read: Coffee Journey V).

During their stay they were told about a lot of unjust things happening to ASNIKOM.

The cooperative had diligently tried to persuade more small scale farmers to become active members and by that to commit to producing best quality to raise the bar for traders who readily beat down prices. Sadly, all costly investments in globally approved certifications like rainforest, bio organic and especially “fair trade” turned out to be a waste of money. Those organisations were rather ignoring the exploitation through a big Indonesian export firm or even worse backing such companies that lied to and betrayed ASNIKOM. The farmers and the organisation lost a lot of profit that was promised if they would get those certifications. Very much discouraged they decided to only use our services to communicate with buyers from abroad.

Being only two people with a very small business, we tried our best:

We attended Amsterdam Coffee Festival in 2018 and the Transparent Trade Coffee Meeting in Hamburg to get into the community of coffee roasters. We even reached out to roasters in various cities all over Germany and presented ASNIKOM and the Two-Kings-Principle. But despite all the talk about transparency and justice for coffee farmers, in the end no-one seems willing to pay the actual cost.

So we decided to send Eric Mwirigi Kithao, a dedicated young Kenian to Flores to spend six months with ASNIKOM. He lived with the farmers, worked with them and became their son. On our behalf he also visited and documented all active ASNIKOM members. Altogether it was a really meaningful step in nourishing our friendship with ASNIKOM (coming up: Coffee Journey VI).

Eric returned to Kenya to eventually start to apply all the gained knowledge together with a handful of small scale farmers in Kenya. When we visited the farmers in December 2018 we were astonished by how much love everyone had for Eric and how intensely he was missed.

We went back again to visit ASNIKOM at the end of 2018 and arranged the order to get Cascara SL-795 and also SL-795 in natural process (coming up: Coffee Journey VII).

  • Arabica SL-795 grade 1 (full washed) 120kg Farmgate price: 6,8€/kg
  • Yellow Caturra grade 1 (full washed) 120kg Farmgate price: 7,1€/kg
  • Fine Robusta grade 1 (pulped natural) 60kg Farmgate price: 4,8€/kg
  • Cascara Arabica SL-795 45kg Farmgate price: 2,8€/kg

Last not least at the beginning of July 2019 a young Indonesian student, Gerard Alexander Lilipaly, who is now (starting from September 2019) studying in TU-Dresden, went to visit ASNIKOM on our behalf so he can also be representative of them in our KAFFEEkostBAR in Dresden (coming up: Coffee Journey VIII).

Our 6th imported coffees from ASNIKOM arrived around at mid November 2019 in Döbeln.

  • Arabica SL-795 grade 1 (full washed) 120kg Farmgate price: 7,1€/kg
  • Arabica SL-795 grade 1 (natural) 30kg Farmgate price: 8,4€/kg
  • Yellow Caturra grade 1 (full washed) 120kg Farmgate price: 7,1€/kg
  • Fine Robusta grade 1 (pulped natural) 60kg Farmgate price: 5,3€/kg
  • Fine Robusta grade 1 (natural) 60kg Farmgate price: 5€/kg
  • Red Caturra grade 1 (full washed) 60kg Farmgate price: 7,1€/kg

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