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We have established Cultivar in Peru to collaborate with small scale coffee growers. We do this because we believe in the potential of these families to produce excellent qualities. And mostly because we are convinced that quality opens opportunities to equal partnerships in coffee. 

We met each other while working in coffee in 2012. In between cuppings we would have endless conversations about sociology, agricultural development and our own experiences in working with farmers in Latin America. We both believed that specialty coffee could be a good opportunity for smallholders, yet it was mostly the coffee elite that had the means to seize it.

Some years, and many animated evening discussions with beers later, we sat to write down our plans and bring our thoughts to reality. Cultivar!

Theadros Mellink

I was 10 years old, fascinated by 2pac and a 100% sure that when I would grow up I would become a rapper too. I “grew up” but never made it to become a rapper. Instead I became a coffee trader and a family man. A different reality!  

Through my study international development I got a placement in Peru with a coffee cooperative. I instantaneously became passionate about coffee and about Peru. My wife Maria and I dreamt of moving to her mother land since that time and are grateful for finally making that dream come true.

With Cultivar I want to prove that there IS an alternative way of doing coffee business. That there are many roasters that do look for partnerships with smallholder farmers, that do see them as equals and moreover do want to pay a fair price. My dream for Cultivar is, for it to become a network of positive people with passion for coffee and a heart for people.

Lisanne Oonk

I have always been curious about people and how they interact. During my studies of Cultural Anthropology, I learned to see great significance in the ordinary, the everyday life and was taught to pay attention and listen to the woman or man who does not automatically have their voices heard at the world stage.

For me, coffee became a lens to look at the world, history, power relations and inequalities. My fascination took off. Besides my motivation to understand and fight the injustices in coffee, the bean and drink also taught me to relax and enjoy some of the most important pleasures of life: eating, drinking and sharing these moments with others.

I have been working as a green coffee quality coordinator, Q grader, and as an advisor on sustainable economic development. But it was my ever-present impatience that made me decide to start Cultivar. My dream is to bring small-scale producer families into the spotlights -where they belong-, and contribute towards transparent and profitable chains.