This year's coffee with meaning comes from the green mountainsides of Guatemala, where three generations have built their family business on a love of the local community and a passion for coffee. Read more about the history of La Bolsa and how the money donated to the school has benefited the local community.
Direct trade is one of Solberg & Hansen's most important tasks. It allows for long-term collaboration and good relationships with coffee farmers all over the world. That's why we are proud of our collaboration with La Bolsa in Guatemala - a coffee farm that takes the lead when it comes to social responsibility, the environment and sustainability. For the fourth year in a row, we have the pleasure of presenting Christmas coffee from La Bolsa, where NOK 5 per bag sold is donated directly to the school on the farm.
Generations of generosity
At the end of a narrow valley surrounded by steep mountain slopes lies La Bolsa. It's green and lush as far as the eye can see, and the climate offers ideal growing conditions for premium coffee. The coffee is grown with charity, precision and care. This year, you'll get to know the amazing people behind La Bosa in Guatemala, where Dr. Jorge Vides Molina planted his coffee seeds almost 60 years ago.
Dr. Jorge Vides Molina was a doctor who dreamed of becoming a coffee farmer - and brought his community involvement to the farm. In 1980, he opened a children's school among the coffee trees, which lives on today through Vides' children and grandchildren.
It's no coincidence that the best coffee raw materials come from farms that also take the lead when it comes to social responsibility, the environment and sustainability. Every year, we highlight a collaboration built on these values through the alternative Christmas coffee 'A Christmas Story'.
- "My father, Jorge Vides, lived and worked all his life as a doctor here in Huehuetenango. In 1956, he followed his dream and bought this farm," says Maria Elena Vides, who today runs La Bolsa with her son, Renardo Ovalle
Dr. Jorge Vides Molina was so respected for his work that the regional hospital he worked at today bears his name. For many years, he worked in parallel as a doctor and a coffee farmer, with an equally strong commitment to both tasks. In 1980, he opened a school on the farm, which has been serving the children in the local community for almost 40 years. The school is one of many social initiatives that live on at La Bolsa to this day - led by his daughter Maria Elena Vides and grandson Renardo Ovalle.
- In 1958, my grandfather planted his first coffee trees here at La Bolsa. The first crop was no bigger than 50 kilos of coffee beans. At that time, there was hardly any coffee production in the area, and no one had any idea of the fantastic potential Huehuetenango had as a coffee region," says Renardo Ovalle.
Although he started out modestly, Dr. Vides had the same high ambitions for taste and coffee quality as in his professional career. In 1984, he was awarded the title "Outstanding Coffee Grower" by Anacafé in Guatemala.
- In 2001, my mother and I, as the third generation on this farm, started growing and processing coffee - just like my grandfather did. The following year, we participated in the Cup of Excellence where we came second. This was a huge motivation for us and allowed us to establish long-term relationships with quality-conscious coffee roasters. This has been very important for our ability to contribute to the local community," says Renardo.
La Bolsa School is built on the farm and currently teaches around 40 children from the local community. Many of the students are children of the workers on the farm. La Bolsa provides health services, nutritious food, school supplies and a range of social activities and programs for young and old in Huehuetenango.
With the donation from the coffee bags sold in 2017 and 2018, La Bolsa has built a playground outside the school, provided new school supplies and offers all the children a daily nutritious meal. That's coffee with a purpose!
The values in the walls
"Our dream is that this can help change the way people look at coffee growing and the role this culture should play - both in the world and in our local communities"Renardo de Ovalle
At the same time, Dr. Molina's commitment to community involvement and charity lives on through the work of Maria Elena and Renardo. These values are embedded in the walls of La Bolsa and are reflected in a range of social initiatives that benefit the whole community. The school, which opened in 1980, is today supplemented with a kindergarten, youth seminars, medicine, a health nurse, hygiene programs and first aid courses. In this way, the family has also built La Bolsa as a workplace filled with mutual trust and respect.
- Behind every cup we produce is the work of a group of enthusiastic people, people who are passionate about what they do. This is reflected in how we work with the coffee commodity, the nature around us and the people in the local community. Our dream is that this can help change the way coffee farming is viewed and the role it should play - both in the world and in our local communities.