New app allows consumers to tip coffee farmers directly

A new app has been created by former hedgefund manager, Crawford Hawkins, that enables consumers to give a tip directly to the Colombian farmer that produced their coffee.

The app, called Propina (Spanich for tip) generates supplemental income for bean growers via two different mobile apps, inspired by Hawkins’ time working on a coffee farm in Colombia. The Tip Your Farmer app allows consumers to tip their favourite coffee’s farmers, with features such as live video and photo updates, as well as the option set up recurring donations. Meanwhile, the Propina Business version allows coffee shops to offer the service as part of their customer-facing POS.

Crawford Hawkins, founder of Grupo Crawford, told Reuters: “Right now the system is completely warped in the favour of Nespresso and Illy and the large roasters. This is probably the perfect environment for them to be doing business and yet they’re doing the bare minimum to say they care about farmers.”

In response to the Propina app, “the subsequent payment is allocated to the farmer that provided the service for the store, produced the coffee for the consumer and contributed to the production of photos and video from the coffee farm.”

Propina’s rollout features a launch this month at Madrid’s SupraCafé chain, with plans to broaden into the US market by way of partnerships with native espresso outlets. Hawkins hopes to have Propina available at “500 to 1,000 locations” within a year by bringing it to espresso counters at gyms and co-working areas.

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