Maybe it’s the coffee talking, but a certain buzz reverberates around our First Watch team after a trip to Huila. No, it’s more than the caffeine. It’s inspiration. Our second journey to visit our Project Sunrise partners, the Mujeres en Café, was exactly that – inspiring. We hope that as you follow along with our story, you feel that same excitement.
Our return to Huila started out like our first trip. There were planes of all sizes, big buses on small winding roads and long hikes up the Colombian mountainside. But once we got there, there was a difference. This time, we were welcomed back as family. The community of Huila, the Mujeres en Café, the students at the local school, everyone opened their arms to us as if we had never left.
Of course, we were just as excited to see them as they were to see us but, unlike our hosts, we didn’t have the native songs and dances to prove it. Instead, we had our promises to fulfill. That’s what this second journey was really about – supporting our partners. First Watch pays a premium price to the Mujeres en Café for the coffee beans they grow. The farmers have, in turn, used that payment to invest in their communities and grow their businesses. Seeing that evidence in our return trip was rewarding. But if anyone deserves a reward, it’s the Mujeres en Café.
That’s where our new quality incentive program comes in. At First Watch, we are committed to sourcing the freshest, most high-quality ingredients, especially our coffee. On top of the premium, we returned to Huila with bonuses for the farmers producing the best coffee beans. There is a whole lot more to the specifics of each bean and the quality incentive program, so stay tuned.
We also revisited the school in San Adolfo, which is funded by the local association of female farmers. It’s a small school with big heart. Significant advancements, including the addition of calculators and a printer, have been made possible because of the premiums paid to the Mujeres en Café. We’re honored that our partnership allows us to be a part of the school’s growth. We are excited to share more with you about that in the coming weeks as well.
Sharing is at the root of Project Sunrise. We are proud to share with you what the Mujeres en Café have shared with us. You are part of our story and there is so much more to tell. Thank you for joining us.