Learn more About Coffee here.
Learn more About Bolivian Coffee here.
Invalsa Coffee & Valverde Coffee Roasters is a family-owned and operated, vertically integrated coffee company. Invalsa is an exporter of specialty coffee from Bolivia, the home country of our co-founders Nelson and Jorge. In the USA, we are an importer of specialty coffee from Bolivia as well as from Brazil and Colombia. We purchase all coffees directly from the farmers who grew them -- what's called "direct trade" in the coffee industry. Our offices in Bolivia are in the Obrajes neighborhood of La Paz, and our roastery in the USA is in the Crossroads Plaza in Salisbury, MA:
“Fairer than Fair Trade” – Lots of people ask whether or not our coffee is Fair Trade. While we have some Fair Trade certified coffee that is purchased from cooperatives in Bolivia, most of our coffee is not certified Fair Trade. This is because, in order to support the agricultural cooperative system, Fair Trade certification requires that you buy coffee from a cooperative; it doesn’t allow for buying from an individual farmer. What we do is buy farmer’s best bags of coffee, directly from the farmer, at a higher price than the required minimum Fair Trade price. This rewards farmers for the extra time that it takes them to produce high-quality coffee. Typically, a farmer might sell us their best bags of coffee, and then contribute the other bags to his or her cooperative, which could then be sold as Fair Trade certified coffee. So, farmers that sell to us get highest available prices, and also get rewarded for the extra time they have spent trying to make high quality coffee; something that is not guaranteed by the Fair Trade certification. Fair Trade serves a great purpose in setting a minimum price for farmers; however, it doesn't reward quality.
About Our Team
Invalsa was founded in 2004 by the Valverde brothers, Nelson & Jorge. They were both born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, and attended universities in the United States (Dartmouth, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania). They started their first commercial enterprise when they were 16 and 10 years old: a retail aquarium store in Bolivia. Since then, they have worked on Wall Street, State Street and Main Street, for large, international corporations, as well as businesses that they started themselves.
Jorge is Invalsa's EVP and Chief Coffee Buyer, and manages our offices in Bolivia. He was the Coordinator of the Cup of Excellence (COE) Bolivia program from 2007 to 2009, the last three years that the Bolivia COE was held. He lives in La Paz with his wife, Nasha, and sons, Nicolas and Diego.
Rounding out our Bolivian management team is Elva, our Quality Control Manager and Chief Cupper; Mery, our Cacao Plant Manager, German, our Technical Assistance and Cacao Nursery Manager, Erik, our Infrastructure Manager; and Milenka, our Chief Accountant.
In the US, Nelson is the President & CEO of Invalsa, and also the Roastmaster for Valverde Coffee Roasters. He has served as an International Judge at Cup Of Excellence competitions in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Rwanda, and Burundi. Eleni, Nelson's wife, manages Human Resources and Special Projects. Cristina, Nelson's oldest daughter, joined the company in 2012 as Director of Strategy and Marketing. She studied international development and agribusiness at Harvard and at Tufts University, and previously worked in micro-finance institutions and on agricultural projects with the World Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.