The Caravela is developed in Portugal. It will soon become the preferred vessel of the explorers during the Age of Discovery, pioneering new routes and facilitating global trade
Two young Colombians headed to London in search of fame and fortune, or maybe just fish & chips. One found work at a bank, while the other started a tropical fruit importer: Virmax Limited.
Learning quickly that tropical fruits spoil easily they made a change and began importing coffee from their beloved homeland of Colombia.
Noticing the growing demand among coffee buyers for more traceability from origin, and sensing their own potential to facilitate that link, the young men returned to Colombia to focus on exporting specialty coffee with a difference, founding Virmax Colombia.
Virmax Colombia implemented a sourcing model that would change the specialty coffee market entirely. By setting up purchasing stations to receive day lots from individual small-holder producers, the company was now able to provide full traceability and transparency for all the coffees that they sold. Each lot was examined for strict physical criteria, and if it passed, was roasted and cupped immediately to grade its quality in the cup. This new system allowed for differentiation of a farmer’s harvest, maximizing income based on the quality of each lot delivered.
This new business model allowed the differentiation of qualities, but most importantly the discovery of exemplary producers that were producing exceptional quality. And hence the “microlot” was born. Roasters from all over the world started discovering the quality potential of an origin that was previously famous for just one farmer.
We have never stopped searching for ways to push the envelope of quality. We developed our own Nitrogen-flushing, vacuum-sealing Perdura packaging system to protect the integrity of the highest quality coffees.
After a trip to train coffee cuppers at a coffee cooperative in Southern Ecuador and discovering the immense potential this region, we started sourcing and importing coffee from Loja and Zamora, implementing the same model
We take 1st place at the SCAA’s “Coffee of the Year” competition with a coffee from producer Carlos Imbachi, from San Agustin, Huila, beating hundreds of samples from Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Virmax partnered with a young American to establish Caravela Coffee and change the way our coffee was imported into North America. Together we created Caravela Coffee, a new importing model based on facilitating long-term relationships between producers and roasters, controlling the chain of custody, and providing a level of service to match the excellent quality of the coffee being sourced and exported.
And we take 1st place again at the SCAA’s “Coffee of the Year” competition with a coffee from the same producer that had won the previous year.
Our grower education program (PECA) was created as a way to help producers to better face the challenges of changing weather patterns, increased pests and diseases and higher costs of production.
Noticing an opportunity to expand our model to other countries in Latin America, we started working in El Salvador and Nicaragua, setting up export companies to directly source high quality coffee in those countries.
After visiting Australia and seeing the country´s love for great coffee, Caravela Australia Pacific was formed
We became a B-Corp certified company, achieving a score of 152 points over 200 maximum points in our first year. Over the last three years we have been recognized as a B-Corp “Best for the World” company, gaining Platinum status in the ‘community’ and ‘overall impact’ categories.
The export and import halves of the company were officially unified under the brand of Caravela Coffee.
We opened a European Sales Office in London to provide a superior service to the growing specialty coffee scene in Europe.
After several years of sourcing coffee from Guatemala, Mexico and Peru working with third-party exporters, we decided to set up our own export companies in those countries.
For the last 17 years we have been improving, innovating, and investing in every level of the specialty coffee supply chain… and we are just getting started!
What We DoWe offer the unique opportunity to access an unparalleled range of specialty coffee, priced and categorized according to cupping score – and still make an impact at origin. Why Does it Matter?
2015, 2016 and 2017
In the last three years, Caravela has been consistently recognized as a B-Corp “Best for the World” company, gaining Platinum status in the ‘community’ and ‘overall impact’ categories, gaining Platinum status. For the last 17 years we have been improving, innovating, and investing in every level of the specialty coffee supply chain… and we are just getting started!