Seriously good coffee; a short story
Lynwood & Co sticks to a few core principles and we won’t waver on any of them. Coffee, as you may have noticed, is something that we take very seriously. Without our passion for coffee we wouldn’t be who we are or where we are, and we never forget or neglect this fact.
Many of you come to us asking about our coffee, wondering where it comes from and the back story behind it.
Our coffee comes to us from a company called ‘Easy José’ but there’s a lot more to it than that. We thought we’d fill you in on a bit more of the story line by interviewing their top dog, José Melim. Some key questions jumped out and we wanted to know more: how and why did ‘Easy José’ start? How and where do they get their coffee? What are their company beliefs? Why do we work with them and why do they work with us? You’re about to find out…
Sitting opposite José on I’m keen to ask ‘Where did your passion for coffee begin?’ José starts his answer by explaining his roots. Born in Madeira, a small island off the northwest coast of Africa, José was son to a single mother and one of eight children. He described his background as modest materially, but rich with love. This environment nurtured a gregarious and ambitious nature in José, who says he learnt early on the importance of seizing opportunities. He moved to the UK when he was seventeen and worked as a kitchen porter, eventually working his way up in the catering industry. At this point in our conversation José emphasises how he came to value the ability to be flexible and resourceful.
Working in catering eventually led to a fork in the road: coffee or cocktails. So why coffee? Because he says, he wanted to be a farmer. And he wanted to work within an industry where he could make a big impact and cultivate a meaningful difference.
‘Easy José’ started in 2010. He works almost exclusively with Peruvian coffee communities. He describes the community he has worked with for the longest – the Mayni community – as proud; proud of themselves, proud of their roots, proud of their land and proud of what they’ve achieved.
An apt and fascinating depiction of this is captured in José’s description of his first visit to the Mayni: in an off road vehicle in what he describes as ‘the idyllic and magical forests of Peru’ José and his team crest a hill where they meet two men with spears, looking fierce and tribal. The men gesture for them to stop the car, they investigate, shake hands with José and whistle to the next post, where the same thing happens again, and then again once more. From that point forward they have to abandon the car and are asked to walk through the entire 24 family community. Each individual has their own speciality role in the growing of the coffee and all of them are there to witness José’s approach. He then takes part in a ritual led by the community chieftain.
It sounds like something from a book or film but it’s real and it’s all part of what goes into your cappuccino, latte, flat white…
When José first encountered the Mayni community they were selling to local markets and making next to no money. Through the Santa Cruz co-operative José was able to sponsor them and invest in their infrastructure. For José it’s important to stress that he doesn’t want his communities to do more, he only wants them to do what they do beautifully, just the way they do it.
Initially the community was given some training. Tips such as what cherries to pick, the optimum time to pick them and what process to use were all blended into their ethos. José sees them as his family, as they see him as theirs. He describes them and the other farmers he has since started working with as ‘artists in initiative and resourcefulness’. The commitment and responsibility he feels for them has nurtured a unique relationship that is at the heart of ‘Easy José’ coffee and therefore at the bottom of every cup we serve.
When our founder Rob and José first met a few years ago, before Lynwood & Co café was born, the connection was instant and a discussion about coffee almost immediate. José says that he loved Rob’s being Australian and both quickly established their shared values. When Rob set about establishing Lynwood & Co he knew who and where he wanted to get his coffee from.
There’s so much more to know and learn about José, his company, and the world of coffee. But let this be a brief introduction, from us to you.
A follow up piece will be coming soon but for now we hope you enjoyed this short journey into the world of Easy José coffee.
Wishing you only seriously good coffee,
Lynwood & Co
Find José here: