CMCR Positive Change
Seated at the core of Common Man Coffee Roasters’ business is to champion coffee knowledge, appreciation and sustainable practices throughout South-East Asia. This belief runs from our relationships with coffee farmers, wholesale and cafe suppliers as well as clients and customers of our various businesses. We are always looking for new ways to improve and make a positive change to the environment we live and work in.
We are committed to building long lasting relationships with coffee farmers throughout the world to ensure we have traceability and promote sustainable business practices throughout our supply chain.
What about Fair Trade?
It’s important to give a little context here and understand the difference between the two coffee industry markets - commodity and specialty.
Firstly, commodity coffee is traded on what is called the C-market, a fluctuating platform for high volume, generally lower quality and generic beans. The C-market price is a floor for Fair Trade, which guarantees a premium above the market price.
However, specialty coffee operates as direct trade or, through partners who have a long term relationship with farmers, and will pay a higher price for the crop typically around three or four times the C-market price.
CMCR, with it’s partner Five Senses Australia, operates at the specialty coffee market level opting for direct trade with farmers in India and Sumatra and trusted importers such as Cafe Imports and Kaffe Coffee to bring in beans for Africa or Brazil where the market is so large it makes it difficult for us to trade directly with farmers.
These companies hold the same values as us to treat producers honestly, ethically and respectfully whilst also decreasing the negative environmental impact of coffee production and share our passion for delicious coffee.
Tiga Raja is the product of a partnership between Leo and Lisa Purba, Five Senses Coffee, CMCR and the local parchment supplier, CUM Talenta. Focusing on developing the local farming groups and rewarding quality practices and production, Leo and Lisa have pioneered transparency and traceability in the region through the Tiga Raja Mill. They have acted as a conduit for farmer members to share in the profits of export sales, whilst giving roasters an opportunity to seek out quality all the way back to the farm.
By dealing directly with both the local parchment supply network and carefully selected mill operators with vast local knowledge who are attuned to the expectations of both specialty roasters and coffee consumers, the Mill both refines the supply chain and reduces the number of middle men who usually take a cut from the parchment price instead of it going to the farmers. Coffee supplied to Tiga Raja by the parchment network attracts an above-market rate for those farmers who are willing to produce a better quality product known as Gabah Super or ‘super parchment’. This is a local term which was developed to separate the parchment supply network into different green bean categories and indicates a higher standard of farmer production quality.
Both the parchment supply network and Mill are actively involved in educating farmers about how to achieve this parchment quality by offering incentives to increase quality, based on sustainability and traceability.
CMCR regularly goes on origin trips to Simalungun to see first hand the amazing work that goes on here and bring back delicious coffee to roast here in Singapore. For more on this visit the Five Senses' blog.
This care and attention to our product does not stop when the green beans reach our roastery. We make sure that we implement best practises to limit wastage and recycle our delivery pallets as well as our hessian coffee sacks on a regular basis.
The team ensure that minimal packaging is used when sending out our wholesale and e-commerce orders and we are constantly looking at ways to make our packaging and delivery boxes more sustainable to limit wastage.
In the past year we have installed hand dryers in all the CMCR bathrooms and replaced all our paper napkins with a more sustainable bamboo alternative to reduce our paper waste.
By the end of 2017 we will introduce metal straws to replace all our in house beverage plastic straws. These straws will be used across our brand and not only will it dramatically reduce our plastic usage but also create awareness around the issue of disposable plastic.
We also offer a 10% discount to all customers who use their own take away cup and will be producing our own reusable cup by the end of 2017.
Sight to Sky
For the past two years we have been a Sight to Sky sponsor hosting a trivia night at our cafe, helping raise funds for them to continue their work bringing low cost, high impact primary healthcare remote mountain communities.
Food From the Heart
We have also partnered with Food from the Heart as part of their 'Bread Programme' to redistribute surplus food to community centres and social projects around Singapore. The cafe and the wholesale team are also involved in 'Birthdays from the Heart' where we make and deliver a birthday cake to beneficiaries around the island.
To tackle our waste footprint we have partnered with Citizen Farm and E4PID to create Singapore's first fully controlled mushroom production process from spawn to fruit. Taking our coffee waste, the farm grows edible gourmet mushrooms from it and then serve the spent substrate to their black soldier files, worms and chickens as food. CMCR then closes the recycling circle by using the Oyster and Lion's Mane mushrooms in its dishes at the cafe. Watch our for them next time you are tucking into your full breakfast!
As well as being part of ongoing programmes, we also hold ad hoc events at the cafe and off site events. In the past we have held charity events for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation Singapore, SPD and FoodBank Singapore.