About this project
Kalsada offers a new specialty coffee origin with a social mission to bring Philippine coffee to the international stage. We work closely with farmers to produce the highest quality specialty coffee in the Philippines. Help us raise $15,000 to build much needed infrastructure for our farm partners to take their coffee from good to great.
It all started when Kalsada’s co-founder, Carmel Laurino, then a student at the University of Washington, came upon this 1909 photograph of Philippine coffee vendors in Pike Place Market. The photo sparked so many questions: Who were these men? And what were they doing in the same market where Starbucks would open shop 60 years later?
With this photo in mind a few years later, Carmel started an online blog as a way to get creative minds thinking about Philippine coffee.
Among the new members was Lacy Wood, a Paris-based coffee connoisseur who could bring in the necessary technical background and industry experience to push the project forward.
Less than a year later and with small financial contributions from close friends and family, she and Carmel moved to Manila, despite their online-only communication up to that point. Together they would get to come to know the Philippine coffee industry first-hand.
A bright young Manila local, Tere, joined the team and quickly grew into a coffee aficionado. She began with cupping and roasting, and soon became a trusted source of knowledge for growers on quality growing techniques.
The Kalsada Team has spent one year researching the market and another year building relationships with farmers. After a thorough selection process, we are bringing you the tastiest coffees the Philippines has to offer.
Kalsada’s core team, Carmel, Lacy, and Tere, gelled in just one year as we established ourselves as advocates for high quality Philippine coffee. We collected coffee samples, roasted coffee for the local specialty market, and learned about the experience of stakeholders at every level - farmers, co-ops, local and national government officials, and industry leaders.
We have a story we’d love to share with the world. That story starts with a photo and ends with a cup of coffee.
A Grower's Story
Auntie Rosita has a successful roadside stand. She grows coffee and works with her neighbors to collectively find buyers and seek higher prices.
While every farmer has a unique story, Auntie Rosita's infrastructure needs for growing higher quality coffee echo much of what we’ve seen across our farm partners.
Her family is fortunate to have almost 10 hectares of coffee planted, but she never has enough help to harvest it all. Her children pick some, but they make their living outside of agriculture. Auntie Rosita and her husband do much of the work themselves: pruning and weeding year round. Once every year, they harvest, depulp, dry, and dehull the coffee -- without any machines.
Auntie Rosita hopes that her children will one day take an interest in coffee so that they may see value in what she has worked so hard to build.
Kalsada provides low-cost, high-impact technology to increase the quality and value of the local coffee.
Currently most farmers dry their coffee on bilao, or woven bamboo baskets. This dries the coffee much too quickly--essentially pre-baking it in the sun and giving the coffee a papery, cardboard taste.
With simple technology and a bit of training, farmers have a better chance of evenly drying their coffee. Easy interventions like this $30 drying bed can drastically improve quality and increase the value of their coffee.
Already, Kalsada has built raised drying beds and has begun educating farmers on quality. We would like to expand our efforts and focus on one community to produce outstanding coffee. By bringing these resources to one small village, we can control quality and bring a much higher-value coffee to market.
Your contributions will help us build a small, inexpensive washing station that would centralize resources and knowledge. It would save the farmers time and labor, while bringing their unique coffee to aficionados like you.
DRINK WELL PLAYLIST
Carefully curated by Fiona Le Brun, these songs have been put together to perfectly accompany your morning brew. Drink in new tunes from artists like: Naomi Wachira, The Dove and The Wolfe, Courtney Marie Andrews, and more.
Our Inaugural Collection includes two 3.5 oz (100g) tins from each coffee growing region.
Coffee from Benguet is generally semi-washed which gives it a rich honey-like mouthfeel with notes of tropical fruit and vanilla.
Mt. Province’s higher elevation gives the coffee a peppery aroma with bright green apple top notes and a rich caramel body.
For those that know their coffee, we will give you a two month subscription of a 12 oz (340g) bag from our reserve collection. After a highly selective process, we set aside the best micro-lots and pay these farmers a higher price for their coffee. Let us send you one bag a month for two months.
BLUE MOUNTAIN THYME COFFEE SLEEVE
Hand stitched from leather and wool, this coffee sleeve would be the perfect companion to your favorite mug or to-go cup. Photographer, creative, and blogger, Hannah Dewey of Blue Mountain Thyme has designed this unique sleeve just for us.
Hand-made by ceramic artist Diane Espiritu, our limited edition pour-over and pitcher will be the perfect way to enjoy your coffee each morning. Below are the developing designs. Photos of the first prototypes are on their way!
FINE KALSADA DINING
We invite any Pacific Northwest locals to join us for a dinner, artfully prepared by the young and talented chef Aaron Verzosa of Modernist Cuisine. Join us for this three-course meal crafted from seasonal selections, accompanied by thoughtfully paired wines, and shared over conversation about the future of Kalsada and our journey thus far. The dinner is limited to 10 people, hosted in Seattle on the 11th of April 2015. (Note: This does not include transportation to Seattle).
Have your own coffee adventure in the Philippines. We will take you to visit our farmer partners in Mt. Province so that you can experience a home-stay in our highest altitude community. Admire the view of the rice terraces from a community that is building shade covered coffee terraces to further their economic needs in an environmentally sustainable way. Meet a local roaster entrepreneur that has been roasting and buying arabica coffee in Sagada for over a decade. Transportation from Manila, accommodation, and food (including dinner at the famous Yogurt House in Sagada) is all included for this four day coffee adventure. (Note: International airfare to the Philippines is not included).
Join our Kalsada Krew instagram challenge! Want to be a member of Kalsada Krew? Use the hashtag #kickstartkalsada, and we will select winners to take over our Instagram feed for the last week of our Kickstarter campaign!
Risks and challenges
This season's harvest is wrapping up, and we are in the process of transporting the coffee to Manila, and then to Seattle to be roasted. A wide variety of delays can happen throughout this process. However, because we buy directly from the farmers, we oversee transportation throughout the supply chain and work to anticipate delays along the way.
One of the biggest challenges to any coffee company is ensuring sustainable, productive, and consistent relationships with producers. We are investing time, energy, and resources into our partner coffee communities, with a promise to buy their products. However, another buyer might offer them a higher price for their coffee than what we have promised or can provide.
One solution is to offer farmers an even higher price for their coffee; however, with high demand for arabica coffee in the Philippines, buyers can still outbid our prices.
Kalsada’s preferred solution is to promote a sense of community and build trust with producers. We’ve hired a local Community Coordinator to offer an active, weekly presence among growing communities, with more visits throughout harvest season.
Alternatively, we could seek out producers in productive areas farther than other buyers would be willing to travel. This is our next priority: to identify and partner with more producing communities, both in the Philippines and abroad, with specialty coffee potential.
Of course, there is no way to diminish the risk of natural disasters except to help farmers build resilience against worst-case scenarios. As a result of this project, we expect that the coffee quality improvements will increase farmer incomes and fund resiliency measures.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)