Karma Coffee

impact

from crop to cup and beyond

Our coffee operations empower farming families in rural Nepal, creating a ripple effect of positive change that extends beyond their communities, uplifting them with opportunities and support, and fostering sustainable growth and prosperity throughout the region.

Coffee grown in Nepal is of the Arabica species, with mostly Bourbon and Caturra varieties grown under partial shade in the high-altitude regions. It is hand-picked and wet-processed, often by women. To maintain transparency, we source most of our coffee from the farmers, and a small portion comes from cooperatives. We ensure that all our coffee bags are of single origin.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO GROW COFFEE

There are more than 11 steps between planting a sapling and serving you a delicious cup of coffee.

FROM THE GROUND UP

Our coffee beans grow at altitudes ranging from 1100m to 1400m in the mid-hills region of Nepal, hence the name: High Altitude Coffee. Alongside citrus trees, banana, spices, herbs, nuts and bees, our coffee grows best under a half-shade, nourished with 100% organic fertilizers.

 

After 3 to 4 years of planting, the coffee plant bears fruit as cherries which are hand-plucked after they ripe and become red. Harvested cherries are washed and imperfect cherries are discarded.

PULPING AND PROCESSING

Converting the red cherries to delicious coffee is a labor of love and precision. Immediately after harvest, the red cherries are pulped to remove flesh and the skin.

 

After pulping, the beans undergo a fermentation process for a day. They are washed with large quantities of water to remove slimy skin. In Nepal, this is mostly a woman’s job.

SUN DRYING

The beans are left to dry in the sun and turned over several times a day regularly for 2-3 weeks on a screen made of wire mesh and wood known as African drying beds. High beds have wooden legs that provide the screen with a certain height, allowing excess water to drip and airflow. While drying, the imperfect beans are sorted. The dried beans are now called parchment. They are stored in rice sacks on ventilated wooden racks.

THE PERFECT ROAST

The farmers then bring the parchment to a factory where it is hulled to remove the hard skin. The resulting green beans are then graded, handsorted and stored in GrainPro® and jute bags until roasting.

 

Sample green beans are sent to a Q-grader for cupping to understand the quality of the beans. We then do a sample roasting of the green beans and develop a roast profile. Only then can we proceed to roast 10Kg and produce a batch.

Green beans have no taste and cannot be consumed raw. It is the roasting process that does the magic and turns the green seeds into a symphony of flavors and aromas. Every roaster works with roast profiles and so do we. It is like the secret recipe for flavor. It includes how fast or slow you heat, how short or long you roast. It is different for different beans.

 

We have currently two profiles: one for medium roast and one for dark roast. The lighter the roast, the more intense the flavors. The darker you roast the more robust the coffee tastes. The connoisseurs will recognize some of the following notes: chocolate, citrus fruits, nutmeg, green apple, herbal, berries, cedar, floral, green tea, jasmine, warm spices.

A BAG OF FLAVOR

The roasted beans are ground according to the brewing equipment and taste. At kar.ma COFFEE, we only use hand-brewing equipment such as pour-over, moka pot, french press, aero press and syphon.

 

Each bag of kar.ma Coffee is packed for freshness before it is labelled and displayed on the shelves of our coffee shops.

WHAT ABOUT THE WASTE?

To reduce waste, We are constantly looking for ways to repurpose the leftovers from the coffee production process, such as pulp, husk, and extracted coffee grounds. For the first time, we have started buying pulp from farmers to use in eco-printing napkins. We have also incorporated these leftovers into the production of recycled paper for our notebooks.

 

We continue to experiment with different methods to utilize waste materials from coffee, innovate new products, and provide an additional source of income for farmers and artisans.

We work with different villages

Nepal enjoys great diversity in geography and climate distribution. As a result of this unique characteristic, flavors of coffee harvested in different parts of the country are quite distinctive. Our coffee comes from different villages around the mid-hills of Nepal, each offering its own exceptional aroma and taste.

GATI

SINDHUPALCHOWK

95 km from Kathmandu and perched above the Bhotekoshi River, Gati is a village of waterfalls and traditional houses spread out on the slopes of lush green hills. We started working with Gati in 2015 as a partner village with a school in Freiberg / Germany (www.nepalfreiberg.de ). During one of the visits we saw an old coffee tree full with cherries. They were not used. Now the community is growing coffee and earning a side income.

MELCHE

KAVRE

Melche is a small village nestled at the base of a gentle hill alongside the Bagmati River near Kathmandu.

KALIKA

KASKI

Sitting amidst beautiful green terraces, the village of Kalika, just 15 km north of Pokhara, offers a mesmerizing view of mountains in
the mist.

MANSEBUNG

ilam

In collaboration with Agro Ilam, we work with 100 farmers of Mansebung village where they produce coffee, dairy products such as ghee, dog chews, and turmeric. With the collective effort from all the partners and farmers, we aim to boost the local economy and bring the youth to coffee farming.

RUPAKOT

kaski

Perched on high grounds above two tranquil lakes, the Rupakot village, 25Km from Pokhara, offers a stunning mountain panorama from its lush green hills.

SOYAK

ilam

The Soyak village is nestled in the gentle slopes of Illam’s tea estates, surrounded by shallow hills. Lush green fields and a small stream adds to its natural charm.

the iconic meetup

It’s not the best photo but we love it because it shows all actors in one frame, from crop to cup: farmers, pulper, technician, processor, buyer, coffee shop owner in Nepal and international buyer and roasters owner. Even though we source direct it requires a variety of skills and hands to get the coffee in your cup wherever in the world you are.

piloting transparency

We’re always working to bring new ideas into life, with the goal of helping farmers, artisans, and the environment to thrive. Our approach includes creating new products, offering training, and using modern technology to encourage innovation in the existing landscape. Today, we are working on a thrilling project which will make the coffee supply chain more transparent. Collaborating with Aloi, a fintech company and Agro Ilam, we are piloting a digital payment model in Ilam district which allows buyers to release and monitor every transaction made to farmers and pulpers. It will help buyers ensure that every coffee that is sourced and harvested is of desired quality and quantity.

 

This model will also allow the farmers to receive advance payments from financial institutions which they can utilize in their micro enterprises. We continue to support the coffee community through innovation in tools and technology. We encourage interaction between coffee growers and processors in remote villages and buyers from all over, ultimately fostering a long term relationship between stakeholders and supporting the growth of the overall coffee sector.