how we work
Passion, quality and engagement
We go way back and we go direct
At Onan, we very deliberately choose to work in an honest and respectful way! Our respect goes first of all to the farmers we work closely together with and whose expertise we value greatly. At the same time it also means respecting what nature has to offer us and making sure our products are produced in an ecologically viable way. We constantly strive to find new ways to serve you the highest quality product, produced in a sustainable way.
This philosophy translates into the system we use, namely Direct Trade. It is an honest, transparent way of working which guarantees fair prices for our farmers and their workers, ensures high quality and puts the properties of the product first. This is made possible because of our close connection with the farmers and the way we keep in touch with them. They are nothing but a phonecall, whatsapp or visit away and so we can fully enjoy their expertise and receive immediate feedback on top! Our relationship is based upon friendship and trust, and together we work passionately to create the perfect cup of coffee for you. In a nutshell, direct trade relies on three pillars: sustainable production, social durability and scientific innovation, altogether ensuring a product of the highest quality and produced in the best possible way!
A sustainable production
Respect for ‘everything that lives and gives’. Our farmers work ‘with’ nature, not ‘against’ it. This durable way of working becomes clear, among other things, by the fact that our farmers don’t use pesticides to increase production nor use other intrusive ways of manipulating fauna and flora. Their trust in the creativity of nature to overcome trouble is unmatched and has been proven over and over again. Just take the coffee berry eating monkeys, cats or birds. One might think a farmer would do everything possible to protect his crops from getting eaten, by covering them f.i., using scare tactics, electrical fences or chemicals.
Instead he believes there are no measurements to be taken at all, on the contrary, the pickers will often start picking where the birds are eating because they always tend to find the ripest and sweetest berries. Birds and lots of other animals would not be there if pesticides were being used or berries weren’t healthy! This would ruin the whole ecosystem, which is responsible for beautiful flavourful coffee berries! In addition to this, they make a good contribution to the well-being of the farm in the sense that they help to contain the insect population and accompany the pickers with their beautiful sounds and songs while working on the farm!
social awareness and durability
Correct working and living conditions are of vital importance to us. The farmers themselves get the largest part of the profits, and are not subjected to the stock market prices as is often the case. Due to the short chain of production, the system is very transparent and the farmers are protected against misuse. Housing, healthcare and schooling is provided and the steady workers can live on the farm even after being retired!
Because of how closely the workers are included in the different steps of the production process, they get to express their own passion for the product and develop and share their expertise.
create and innovate
Scientific innovation and quality guarantee: collaboration between different types of knowledge creates a continually growing superior product. We value the knowledge of the farmers enormously, and learn from them as much as we can. By combining years of experience, scientific research and knowledge exchange, they have succeeded in developing many specific varieties that can be grown in their ideal micro-climates on separate lots. This scientific and innovative approach seeps through every step along the way. We always make sure, for example, that on their journey from the farm to Belgium the coffee beans can be transported in the middle container on the boat. In this way our little beans won’t be too hot or too cold while travelling and can thus arrive in pristine condition.
Down to the tea
We constantly try to improve and update our knowledge and production methods.
And of course, our philosophy also applies to our tea selection. We value the origins and production circumstances of our teas greatly, but are not yet as directly connected to the production process as is the case with our coffees. This is something we are doing our best to achieve as we continue to grow.