Cultivar is a coffee company with two locations, one in the Netherlands and one in Peru. The team consists of Lisanne based in Amsterdam and Theadros based in Peru.
Lisanne studied cultural anthropology and worked as a quality manager at an importing company called Trabocca in Amsterdam. Her partner is from Argentina. She is fluent in Spanish. She is also the mother of one child.
Theadros studied international development and worked as an intern at a coffee cooperative in Peru before he worked in the export-import at Trabocca. He then moved to Peru with his family where his wife is from.
As coworkers, they shared their dreams and hit it off. They founded Cultivar in 2017. They see the great potential in Peruvian specialty coffee. They believe that smallholders can build a profitable farm business by producing quality specialty coffees. We are also working with roasters to create opportunities and places to collaborate with each other to improve quality. They are connected with over 100 small-scale producers and deal mainly with micro lot. Their quality is highly regarded by European roasters such as The BARN Coffee Roasters Berlin, Bonanza Coffee Roasters, Berlin, and FRIEDHATS.
When I received a text message from Lisanne saying, “I’ll go to Peru then!” I was in awe of the strength of her energy.
Despite her soft and fluffy hair with a bell-like voice, Lisanne was a “coffee woman” with an unfathomable passion and sense of responsibility.
A few months ago, I started researching on the internet to find producers in Peru that I could approach. I stumbled upon Cultivar on a social networking site while researching. They immediately struck a chord with me in the whirlwind of information. I could relate to their philosophy, the fact that they are my generation, and their startup mindset. Most importantly, I was simply excited when I imagined working with them. It also just so happened that they were based in Peru and the Netherlands. I immediately made a contact and met up with Lisanne at a cafe in Amsterdam.
When she showed up at the café, Lisanne was a calm, a little shy woman who seemed a little nervous, but as we talked over coffee, she immediately started smiling. We introduced ourselves to each other and confirmed that we shared the same values. As I expected at the beginning, we didn’t need to do many explanations.
After the meeting, we shared our perceptions on the quality through a two-day cupping session. Lisanne said, “To be honest, I didn’t have a particular impression of Peru, but I was impressed by the varieties of flavors and was excited to share it with Japanese roasters.”
When I said, “I am thinking of visiting Peru next month if that’s possible,” Lisanne’s face clouded a little and she said, “You shouldn’t go to Peru right now because it’s still in turmoil.” Although the blockade of the border to Peru has been lifted, it is still in a state of confusion. My business partner Theadros, who is based in Peru, hasn’t seen his family for several months. We usually choose the adventurous path, but this time we decided to take the easy way out and have samples mailed to us from Peru. It was the best choice in hindsight.
Normally, it would be best to communicate with smallholders face-to-face and connect them with roasters, but in this day and age, it may be necessary to have the experience online.
We quickly finalized the schedule for the cupping event in Japan and asked Lisanne to arrange the delivery of samples. However, we found out that the procedures in Peru had not completed our shipment for the scheduled shipping date, and the shipment would not arrive on time. We had no choice but to reschedule the event, as we had already started attracting customers. Then, I received a text message from Lisanne that said, “I’m going to Peru!” She was going to Peru just to pick up some samples. “You don’t need to go to Peru so suddenly. You do have a baby!” I told her that I would reschedule the event, but she wouldn’t listen to me, saying that she wanted to keep her promise. At the moment, I felt as if I had seen her underlying strength. I knew that she would achieve great things with her integrity and strength.
As it turned out, she couldn’t go to Peru because she couldn’t pass through immigration for departure even though she had all the necessary documents. If we had tried to travel, we would have been rejected as well. However, we were able to get to know their nature. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Peru and working with them.
Cultivar publishes the entire value chain of all of the coffee to the public.
Cultivar contributes to the sustainability of coffee by helping smallholders improve quality and profitability. Specifically speaking, the company is executing a joint venture project with roasters
like investing in the system of drying coffee.