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We are excited to announce that we are establishing our own export operation in Mexico, to strengthen our work with producers and continue growing volumes and quality in this promising origin. We have been present in Mexico for the past 4 years, scouting for quality producers with whom roasters around the world can develop long term relationships. Our Aromas events have been a great way to do this, but now we feel that it's now time to take a big step forward by finally having a firm base of operations in the country. The work done in previous years will allow us to expand our network, source coffee from the four main producing states (Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca and Puebla), and become the first option for farmers and cooperatives, giving them the possibility to receive a premium for the work and dedication that they invest to deliver a great cup.

Caravela has come to an agreement with the Asociación de Caficultores COPGALACAF in Galapagos to cooperate and collaborate in the operation of a centralized wet mill (beneficio) in the island. The objective of this new beneficio is to boost the quality of coffee in the archipelago, via the implementation of better practices to achieve consistency in the cup. As part of the agreement, Caravela has sent a PECA technician from Nicaragua –with a depth and breadth of knowledge gained from their experience at our beneficio located in Ocotal – to train producers, offer technical assistance in the field, and train producers to take advantage of this infrastructure. COPGALACAF is a cooperative with more than 100 coffee growers from the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Isabela in the archipelago of Galapagos; together we hope to instill an understanding of the virtues of diligent processing practices, thereby strengthening the specialty coffee industry in this exotic region.

We have been working hard in the field, and in the buying warehouses tasting and analyzing coffee. As we grow into our first full year in Peru, we are constantly building new relationships with producers, cooperatives, and associations in our efforts to educate them about specialty coffee practices. Cupping results from first harvests have allowed us to identify and work with leading producers alongside six cooperatives in the north, and five cooperatives in the south. We are readying more cuppers to assist these cooperatives with recognizing specialty lots during peak harvest. Our PECA team has been focusing on selective cherry harvesting and wet mill calibration at the farm level, in order to best capture the full quality potential of the "campaña" year. We are also pleased to see the implementation of more raised drying beds, as producers recognize the drying stage as being a critical step to ensuring quality.

After more than 4 months of intensive rains - up to 30% more precipitation on average in all growing departments- the rainbow is slowly appearing. Rains have decreased by half in the majority of the municipalities in the departments of Tolima, Huila, Cauca and Nariño. Owing to this reduction in rains, and an increase in loans for drying infrastructure, larger crop volumes of better-quality coffee are now reaching Caravela's 30+ buying warehouses throughout the country. Caravela and its PECA program continue to work with farmers in proper drying techniques and loans for labor and infrastructure; nevertheless, slow albeit continuous flows are forecast though the end of the year, given current and past weather patterns and their delaying effect on flowerings.

The south of the country is only just starting to see the first ripe cherries of the harvest. After an abnormally long and intense rainy season, our PECA team is beginning to do some training sessions with producers who belong to the associations ACRIM and APECAP in the provinces of Loja and Zamora. So far, we have connected with approximately 30 coffee growers, who now have the task of sharing and replicating what they have learned within their regions. Our goal is to prepare producers for the upcoming harvest, teaching them to pick appropriately ripe cherries, and to implement better practices in the post-harvest process.

This month we will wrap up our shipments from Nicaragua from the 2016-2017 harvest. So far, we have received positive feedback from customers, and the desired interest in continuing their long-term relations with producers. In the meantime, rain continues to pour in Nicaragua and farmers continue with their fertilization programs. Coffee trees are looking very healthy, and we are certain that this will be positively reflected in the quality of the next harvest. In August, we will begin to do cupping sessions with producers and their children, to help them understand their processing from another perspective, find consistency, and improve the cup quality of their coffee.

As part of our continued efforts to grow volumes and diversify our offerings from El Salvador, we have begun to work with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and their "Cosecha Azul" (Blue Harvest) program. This program focuses on protecting and restoring drinking water sources in the coffeelands of Central America by promoting sustainable coffee production and processing practices. Our PECA team in El Salvador is providing technical assistance to the more than 500 producers who are involved in the program, focusing on improving agricultural practices to increase quality, avoiding deforestation, and restoring water resources, all while increasing farmer income. We expect to have coffee from this program in next year's harvest, from coffee producers from Apaneca, El Balsamo, and Cacahuatique.

While we wrap up the shipments for the 2016-2017 harvest, we keep strengthening our operations, and continuing preparations for the next harvest. This month, the PECA team began holding training sessions and workshops with coffee growers. July's topic was “Fertilization and Tree Pruning”, as we want producers to understand the importance of both adequately fertilizing their trees and keeping their tree population young, to have better quality and higher yields. So far we have done three workshops, in Camotan, Chiquimula, and Usumatlan (Nuevo Oriente).