Last month, we at Second Nature took a field trip to tour….a sailing ship?!
Aye aye, we certainly did! We got the chance to get to know our coffee bean suppliers, Kaap Koffie, and they were kind enough to show us around. Still wondering about the connection between a sailing ship and our delicious flat whites? Read on to find out.
The Kaap Koffie Crew
Kaap Koffie is part of a family-owned company with several businesses. This includes restaurants (if you live in Amsterdam, you might be familiar with Cafe De Ceuvel and Restaurant Contrast) a private harbor (called De Groene Hoop in Amsterdam Noord) and a shipping service. What do all of these businesses have in common? A commitment to actively promoting sustainability in each field. Their newest venture, Kaap Koffie, is no different.
The Kaap Cargo Ship
The KaapKargo shipping service, which was founded in 2022, aims to one day operate an entire fleet of sailing shipping vessels. This goal starts with their first ship, the Ide Min. In addition to taking on other transport work, the crew sails it twice per year to pick up their coffee beans. The shipping is emission-free, because they sail using the power of wind alone!
The Ide Min was originally a tugboat, built in East Germany in 1957, and then had a second life as a charter sailboat in the 90s in Poland. After a renovation in 2022, it became the cargo ship it is today, with a carrying capacity of 60 tons.
Stepping onboard the ship was a little bit like stepping in time. The tall masts and sails and the steering wheel all look like they’re from another era–and they are! Below decks, the whole ship feels snug and cozy, from the cargo holds to the communal kitchen. You can just picture the ship in use, with the crew sailing around the world the old-fashioned way.
The Journey from Bean to Bag
The twice-yearly coffee bean trips take at least a month, because the crew of the Ide Min sail from Amsterdam all the way to Colombia! They dock in the northern port city of Santa Marta, close by Sierra Nevada natural park. It’s there, in the beautiful mountain ranges, that the beans are grown. Kaap Koffie buys the beans directly from CooAgroNevada, the growers themselves.
CooAgroNevada (short for ‘The Cooperative of Sierra Nevada and Santa Marta Coffee Growers and Farmers') is a collective of 78 family growers from 19 villages in the Sierra Nevada region. The collective works to ensure fair trade and a better standard of living for the workers and their families, and all of their beans are certified organic by the USDA and EU. (And for all the coffee snobs out there: their beans rank consistently above the 80 mark on the Q scale!)
Beyond that, CooAgroNevada is also committed to environmentally-friendly practices. Whenever possible, they take advantage of the natural agricultural systems around them, such as using the native tropical canopy trees to help protect their harvest. They’re also investing in sustainable equipment like solar drying beds and treatment plants that recycle the organic wastewater created during the washing and fermentation steps of the coffee harvest.
Once Kaap Koffie brings the beans back with them to Amsterdam, they are roasted by IDorganics, a food processing plant focused solely on organic products. IDorganics also ship their products out themselves, delivering using electric vehicles. To top it all off, they package the beans in biodegradable bags.
The Cleanest Cup of Coffee
All of these steps along the growing, shipping, and production process support Kaap Koffie’s goal of providing the most environmentally-friendly cup of coffee possible. Since we at Second Nature are committed to promoting sustainability in the food industry, we couldn’t imagine a better supplier to work with. And not only are the beans a responsible choice–they’re also delicious! Doesn’t hurt that the crew at Kaap Koffie are super friendly as well....
So, the next time you need a caffeine fix, stop by Second Nature for a clean cappuccino or a forest-friendly flat-white. Interested in supporting KaapKoffie’s mission, or just crazy about good coffee? We also sell the bags for you to take home.
Delicious, fair, and sustainable–our coffee will make you feel better in more ways than one.
By Zoë Abdel-Moneim