Join us for our Small Coffee Project launch party!

We partnered with Blanchard's to bring you a new sustainably sourced coffee from El Obraje Estate, a small family farm in Nariño, Colombia. Thoughtfully roasted by Blanchard's to bring out notes of baked raisins, caramel and nutmeg, it's a celebration of small farms, small batches, and small businesses.

Join us for our launch party Wednesday, April 3rd at 7PM at VCU's Institute for Contemporary Art.

About the project

In many ways, the Small Coffee Project began back in May of 2008 when Ellwood Thompson decided to take a chance on a young local coffee roaster called Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co. That first order of coffee was the beginning of a partnership that has grown and thrived for over a decade.

Blanchard’s Coffee and Ellwood Thompson share a set of common core values of commitment to quality and sustainability built on a foundation of resilient relationships and partnerships. For Ellwood Thompson’s, these relationships are often local, highlighting regional farmers and producers, but coffee can never be truly local because it must be grown in tropical climates near the equator. As a coffee roaster, Blanchard’s community of partners is global. Part of the job of a specialty coffee roaster is acting as a liaison between farmers and producers at origin, and the customers who ultimately buy and sell coffee to brew, completing a feedback loop that illustrates the importance of every part of the value chain.

Coffee on the plant

The Small Coffee Project is an expression of all these ideas, connecting the consumer with the farmer through the roaster to complete the loop, shortening the distance between farm and cup, and expanding the idea of community to include everyone involved in making each cup of coffee possible. Small Coffee is taking something that seems complicated and breaking it down into simple, manageable pieces:

  • One Farm
  • Two Local Businesses
  • One Great Coffee

The ET, Blanchards, and El Obraje team

Members of the Blanchard’s and Ellwood Thompson’s teams traveled to Finca El Obraje in the Nariño region of Southern Colombia to meet owner, Pablo Guerrero, see his farm operation and gain a better understanding of all that is involved in producing a great cup of coffee. Completing this circle contextualizes the relationship between the farmers and producers at origin, and the roasters and retailers around the world, allowing us to tell better stories about the coffees we love, honoring the hard work and countless hands involved in making it possible.

Estate owner, Pablo Guerrero

Colombia Finca El Obraje Washed Process Caturra

The El Obraje Estate is situated in the Nariño Department of South Western Colombia, bordering Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean. The region's geography is ideal for high grown Arabica coffee cultivation, with the El Obraje estate, in particular, at an impressive 2000m above sea level. Estate owner, Pablo Guerrero, originally a bean and wheat farmer, was one of the first growers to pioneer coffee cultivation in this region. The area, since, has become heavily coffee-focused, with thousands of small holder coffee producing families. At the cupping table, the Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Co. team has been consistently impressed by the Colombia El Obraje. Colombian coffees tend to feature a mouth-watering juiciness, and the El Obraje does have that quality, but it is secondary to deep, rich, raisin sweetness combined with a baking spice note. The coffee is jammy and reminiscent of chess pie, with a lingering, sweet aftertaste.

The pickers

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