We are building a community of equal farmer and roaster partners.

Most coffee farmers do not have the means and connections to reach out directly to roasters, and are left to the devices of the open market and the whims of traders. Instead of keeping farmers in the dark while simply buying and selling their coffee, This Side Up aids farmers to become fully independent agro-entrepreneurs. This includes becoming their own coffee’s quality experts, ecologists, exporters, storytellers and introducing them to the European specialty coffee world.

Along the way, we realised that we are building a community of likeminded coffee professionals everywhere along the value chain: people who understand that coffee trade can be an open endeavour, based on sharing instead of competition, based on humanity instead of simply making money.

Impact without charity.

Although our mission is to have developmental impact, we are a social business and do not rely on donations or subsidies to function. We believe that this forces us to create the most sustainable, realistic and scalable roads to coffee farmer development. Also, we want to show that a commercial company can structurally put friendship and development over personal gain and competition - and spread this way of working among our partners.

Trust hands
 

Trust

There's an old saying that rhymes well with the core value of This Side Up: "Don't work with anyone you don't trust, and don't distrust anyone you work with". We created our producer base carefully, steadily increasing our volumes and prices as the relationship deepens, building trust and devising ever more ambitious social and ecological goals together as the "marriage" develops.

The result is that we have fun, relaxed and ever evolving relationships across cultures and partners we can rely on all year round.

 
 
 
Transparency hands
 
 

Transparency

An open and connected world means the producers of our coffee are no longer invisible. We're proud to show our direct relationship with the producers and the equal distribution of profits. We also shed light on the complicated coffee trade process itself.

We always provide a full breakdown of our coffee prices down to the payments to the farmers - available for everyone to see and backed up with official documentation.

 

 
 
Equality hands
 
 

Equality

If you want coffee farmers to earn more, you have to cut out unnecessary middlemen and not be greedy yourself as an importer. We always involve our partner farmers in the marketing and storytelling of their coffees and instead of demanding a certain development path, we simply ask them what they would invest an extra premium in.

Whether they want to become independent of banks or buy rural health insurance - if that's what your trusted partner wants, it's the right choice.

 
 
Cooperation hands
 

Cooperation

 

There is still an enormous disconnect between those who grow coffee and those who roast and drink it. We built This Side Up as a true network organisation that connects a growing community of like-minded growers, roasters, development agents and entrepreneurs. All inspired by the will to open up, share and create true relationships along the value chain.

We work together to produce the highest quality coffee, and in the end, to become an empathic, creative and educated worldwide coffee community.

 

 
 
 


Producing Partners
 

Jean de Dieu (Kevin) Nkuzimana

Rwanda

Kevin is director at Misozi Coffee company, the right hand and exporter of some of the best performing farmer cooperatives in Northern Rwanda. Kevin forms our link to the producers at Rushashi and Coko all year round, conducts quality and best practices checks and introduces processing innovations amongst our peers. 

 

JUAN PABLO LAsso ARGOTE

COLOMBIA

Juan Pablo is a member of the Lasso Argote family, the producers of our Colombian microlots. He actively promotes specialty coffee as a road to better income in his village Génova, helps out other families in creating, processing and exporting specialty coffee and ultimately wishes to create a region-wide quality standard.

 

REBECCA TRUPIN

TANZANIA

Half Tanzanian, half New Yorker, Rebecca was eager to set up direct trade ties for her coffee farmer relatives in Marangu - and came to Lennart in early 2014 for help. She has succeeded in making both Aranga and Marangu visible, promoting their coffees and managing our export process. 

 

Fuadi Pitsuwan

Thailand

Fuadi is the founder of Beanspire, an export promotion company in Thailand, and our daily link to the Thai coffee farmers we work with. He is part of a young and new movement of specialty coffee innovators that co-exist uniquely in Thailand on both the farming and roasting side, and is poised to give Thai coffee a place in the global specialty scene.

 

Francisco Javier Valle Garcia

Nicaragua

Founder of EXPOCAMO in Ocotal, Francisco dries, mills and exports processes all our partner farmers' coffee to perfection. He is somewhat revered in the region, not only for the work he does to provide quality upgrading knowledge and extra income to farmers, but also for promoting their work directly and transparently to roasters with our cooperation.

 

SAI WAN MAING

MYANMAR

Sai Wan works with Mandalay Coffee Group and is an important player in the recent professionalisation of Myanmar's newly established specialty coffee industry - and of our partners at the Hopong cooperative in particular. Sara has been in regular contact with Sai Wan for the last years to make sure quality and processing upgrading proceeds according to plan.

 

Gilbert Makelele

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Gilbert is one of the Kivu region's unsung heroes, bringing hope to the youngest generation of coffee farmers by providing coffee seedlings as a lucrative alternative to taking up arms or illicit trade. He is the driving force behind our partner cooperative CPNCK on the island of Idjwi and is pleased to receive emails and guests to this magical place.

 

Adri Yahdiyan

Indonesia

In short, Adri is the main reason our Flores Robusta project with the ASNIKOM cooperative has been such a smooth operation. His company Ontosoroh is both a local green coffee representative and through our relationship, a reliable exporter of Flores coffee through Surabaya. He is responsible for coordinating the local logistics, communication with VECO and ASNIKOM and guidance of our processing upgrades and experiments.

 

Abiy ASHENAFI

Ethiopia

Although Limmu Kossa is run by Giday Berhe, coordinating an Ethiopian coffee estate is a very intensive undertaking. Because of this and the language barrier, we are lucky to work with Abiy on a daily basis: the passionate representative of Limmu Kossa who so happens to live in The Hague, a short distance from our office in Amsterdam - so he is a regular sight at our office where we make new and innovative plans every harvest.

 

LUIZ SALDANHA

BRAZIL

Luiz is one of the founders of Capricornio and our main connection to the company. He is somehow able to find time in his busy life travelling the world promoting his region’s coffee to support our other producer partners in processing upgrades and inspiring them to build strong brands. This is in turn very inspiring to us, it shows that a scale as large as that of Capricornio’s and a progressive yet empathic mindset can go hand in hand!

LENIN TOCTO

PERU

Lenin is one of the founders of Churupampa and a known name in the Peruvian specialty coffee world. To us, he is an inspiration to cooperative societies who want to transition into social businesses worldwide. He and his brother Eber are our foremost experts on farm circularity (organic composting, biodynamic farm management) and they happily help other producers achieve similar goals.

Grading

To have an accurate picture of quality, the assessment of two experienced coffee tasters is better than one. Now imagine an interconnected community of baristas, roasters, Q-graders and aficionados who we bring together to test quality and guide import decisions, in coordination with our quality expert Sara Morrocchi.

 

Harvest

Understanding how the harvest process influences quality, which upgrades to recommend and how to implement them is perhaps the most important quality factor we can influence. We therefore visit our partners as often as we can to improve harvest management - but more importantly, we work together like colleagues online all year round to exchange knowledge and plan for the next crop.

 

Shipping

We ship all coffees in specialty coffee certified containers lined with moisture-absorbing kraft paper and pack all coffees in GrainPro bags or similar. We work with a close network of shipping partners to assure a reliable and predictable service and the shortest (sea) shipping times.

 

Storage

We store our coffees in a warehouse with stable climate, no odours and weekly pest control. We test the moisture content and stability regularly and keep sampling to research how our coffees evolve over time. As a result of this, a longer shelf life is guaranteed.

This Side Up 1.0: direct trade done differently.

This Side Up was founded in 2013 on the principles of direct trade between roasters and growers. In Lennart's experience on coffee estates and farms, he witnessed the potential of direct trade: open dialogue between the two most important creators of coffee quality - growers and roasters - could lead to better quality, equal treatment and through increased awareness of each others' worlds, more creative and competitive products. He had seen direct trade relationships blossom in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic and Rwanda but also identified its most pressing issues: expensive, unscaled transport and lack of knowledge of which farms to trade with. We also made this video that explains our model beautifully (thanks Bas Goossens). 

Later, This Side Up started taking the risk of buying the coffee itself to help roasters finance the coffee, and so in effect became an importing company. Because micro-roasters in Europe and beyond understood that coffee quality and human development go hand in hand, the company's vision caught on and This Side Up expanded to new origins and markets.

 

2017/2018: Stronger vision, Wider reach.

For four years, This Side Up had expanded as a lone bull, trying to redefine coffee trade as Lennart alone - slowly reaching the limits of what one person can achieve. Partnerships had been proposed left and right, but it wasn't until Sara Morrocchi came along that expanding This Side Up's core team with a quality and development expert seemed in order. Sara's vision and that of Lennart’s are 100% aligned and she's visited more origins and tasted more coffees than most people on this planet.

Sara also introduced Lennart to Franco Tesoro Tess of Aziende Riunite Caffè - perhaps an unlikely partner at first glance, a coffee trading company established in 1856, family owned, Italian. However, like us they too had been looking for a way to answer to the need for change in the coffee industry and were thrilled to hear about our radically different trade model. 

Very soon after we started talking, it became clear that we had a lot to learn from each other. Franco showed us how inefficiently we had been moving coffee up to now, while Lennart and Sara showed ARC how rewarding it is to engage roasters as developmental partners. Moreover, despite our different backgrounds, our values turned out to be very similar. Amidst increasing market consolidation and price pressure on exporting countries, they never sold out to mega-corporations, remained true to their ethical standards and always understood the need to stay dynamic and innovative like a startup. 

2019: From importer to WORLDWIDE coffee community.

After an alliance of 18 months, ARC and This Side Up decided to part ways - not because the cooperation was bad, simply because the synergies between our companies were less beneficial than we hoped. In the meantime, however, two very diverse talents had become closely intertwined with our mission: Maarten (circularity expert) and Jeroen (media expert). Now, with a team of five, and after a hugely successful Producer Crossover where all our growers met each other and an ever expanding network of roasting partners, we see our role as the builder of a true community with common values becoming a reality. It seems our dream of a coffee world based on open exchange and humanity over financial gains wasn’t as far-fetched as we once thought…

 

Since 2018, This Side Up is located in the Impact HUB in Amsterdam Oost. Give us a call if you want us to host a private and public cupping there, always a pleasure!
 

THIS SIDE UP COFFEES

Impact HUB Amsterdam
Mauritskade 63
1092 AD Amsterdam
The Netherlands

info@thissideup.coffee
+31 6 47 84 33 95

Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (NL): TSU TRADE BV
Registration number: 59161167
VAT number: NL853345879B01