frequently asked questions and other info

What is ŋgopi?

ŋgopi is foremost 2 things. An indonesian (slang) verb which translates to: “let’s have coffee”. You can have Google Translate pronounce the words for you here. Perhaps it’s not the easiest brand name around but if you manage to remember our brand you can get coffee and make friends anywhere in Indonesia! Secondly, we want ŋgopi to stand for change. We want people to think critically about not only coffee, but all other day-to-day products.

Honest Trade BV is the limited liability, social enterprise and conceiver of the ngopi brand. It’s our official company name and you can find all our legal and public information here, here and here. We were established in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The name itself is a testament to one of our core values.

What is Honest Trade BV?

do you buy coffee directly from the coffee farmers?

No, we do not. Do we want to? Yes! However, we wish it were this simple. Coffee is imported from all over the world. The most ecological/economical option is to use sea transport. Huge ships carrying thousands of 20-foot containers (here are some of the largest ships on the planet). 1 of these containers contains minimum 260 coffee bags each weighing around 60-70kgs. In order for us to fill a full container and spread costs over all these coffee beans we’d have to buy a lot of bags! First off all we would need to store them somewhere, that is, if we were even able to roast and sell that much coffee. We can’t buy coffee directly, yet. We can share containers with others, but we’re still too young of a company. We hope that if you read this faq in 2 years time we will have been able to at least share a container! 

You can take a look at the numbers on our transparency page (click here). We calculate the difference between the average New York C-price during the export months (or the price of that day if we receive that info) and the price in the contracts from our supplier. We update when we buy new coffees. Is this the best option? No, but it’s the best we can currently give. As soon as we’re able to buy coffee directly we can communicate the prices with no potential setbacks. 

how much more do farmers get?

are you Fairtrade?

Yes and no! We are fair trade, but not necessarily Fair Trade (certification). There is ample research literature about Fair Trade and whether it has positive, negative or no outcomes. The principles and motivation behind the Fair Trade movement are in line with what we stand for too:

(definition from Moore, G. The Fair Trade Movement: Parameters, Issues and Future Research. Journal of Business Ethics 53, 73–86 (2004))

1. To improve the livelihoods and well-being of producers by improving market access, strengthening producer organizations, paying a better price and providing continuity in the trading relationship.
2. To promote development opportunities for disadvantaged producers, especially women and indigenous people, and to protect children from exploitation in the production process.
3. To raise awareness among consumers of the negative effects on producers of international trade so that they exercise their purchasing power positively.
4. To set an example of partnership in trade through dialogue, transparency and respect.
5. To campaign for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
6. To protect human rights by promoting social justice, sound environmental practices and economic security (Redfern and Snedker, 2002, p. 11).

We work together with partners in the value chain who guard these principles as they are a core part of their existence. A coffee farmer/coop will not have the need to pay for a formal certification label since our partners have close relationships and guarantee fair and honest trade. Yes, admittedly “the scale” of this impact is way smaller, but knowing who you buy from personally and guarding the principles can have a greater impact. Do not simply believe that because it has a label it is better. “Greenwashing” is a big issue nowadays and we should be critical about labels and certifications. Also look at us with a critical eye and challenge us if you have questions or doubts!

We buy coffee through suppliers that we trust and know personally. Furthermore they are required to provide us with a price breakdown of the coffee. If they take pride in their price transparency we can assume that they have little to hide. We can calculate the increased income of a coffee farmer receives through the collaboration with our partner. These relationships surpass simple selling-buying interactions and are meant to last. The more honest coffee we can provide, the more our suppliers can buy, the more the coffee farmers can sell their coffee at a reasonable price thus increasing their income. Increased income can set in motion a chain of positive reactions. Investment in farm productivity, food security, education, etc.

how do you make social impact?

how do you define transparency?

We are convinced that transparency is key for social enterprises. It means sharing the successes, but also the failures. We aim to be transparent in our pricing, origins, our efforts and our organisation. We want you to challenge us with questions about ecology, sustainability, logistics, you name it. If you are able to follow what we do and see our errors or inefficiencies we can improve through your feedback. We are held accountable to all our customers or people who are interested in ŋgopi. Perhaps we can show that radical transparency is possible and inspire more companies to do the same. 

There are more than 120 species of Coffea, of which 2 are commonly grown and another is lesser known. Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora (“Robusta”) and Coffea liberica

what is the difference between arabica and robusta?

what is a coffee variety?

When we talk about the coffee variety we talk about different subgroups within a certain species of coffee. In most cases we look at Arabica varieties. The world coffee research has catalog that lists all the commonly known varieties and sums up some of their most important properties. The full list can be found by clicking here.

Specialty coffee scores 80/100 or higher and such grading can only be done by an official “Q-grader” through a SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) protocol called “cupping”. It is important to mention that a Q-grader is only allowed to grade Arabica coffees. 

what is specialty coffee?

what is a Q-grader ?

A Q-grader is a sommelier. It’s an official title that can only be earned by completing a Q Arabica grader course and exam organised by the CQI (Coffee Quality Insitute)

The course for becoming a Q Arabica Grader prepares participants for for the 22 tests they must pass to become a certified Q Grader. The tests relate to an individual’s ability to accurately and consistently cup and grade coffee according to SCA cupping and grading standards and protocols, including a thorough understanding of the “SCA cupping form”.

A student who passes these 22 tests is given a professional license as a Q Grader. This license must be renewed every 3 years by attending a Q Grader calibration to ensure the Q Grader is up-to-date.

To roast coffee professionally you need a machine and someone with know-how to operate it. It is surprisingly difficult to find a single book that contains all the information one needs to roast their own coffee and become good at it. There are books or online courses available here, here and here. But, as in all things in life, it’s by doing and tasting that you learn. We roast our coffees with a single profile on a Probat Probatone 5kg roaster. We are looking for an upgrade and hope to roast on a Loring S35 Kestrel in the future. 

how do you roast coffee?

to be continued

We are updating the FAQ page every week.