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Tweets, Vines and Roasters? Oh My!

Categories: 2013, JuneTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Earlier this year, CoffeeTalk teamed up with LBP Manufacturing, the designer of UpShot™ Solution, a new, more eco-friendly single-serve solu­tion, to ask roast­ers about their per­sonal and busi­ness social media rou­tines. More than 300 roast­ers and indus­try pro­fes­sion­als from around the world responded, pro­vid­ing insights into the ever-changing social media land­scape. Funny enough, even the time­li­ness of the sur­vey ques­tions wasn’t quick enough; Vine, a video-sharing app, launched in the iOS App Store dur­ing ques­tion devel­op­ment. Just four months later, it is now one of the most down­loaded free apps avail­able and is con­tin­u­ing to grow.

Based on the responses we received from the sur­vey, roast­ers see the excite­ment that comes with new social media chan­nels, and they are slowly launch­ing chan­nels to con­nect with cus­tomers and fans. They have a strong desire to use chan­nels, like Vine and oth­ers yet to be devel­oped, to build their brands and in turn, cre­ate big­ger ‘fol­low­ings’ for their beans and their businesses.

From the responses, here are top findings:

•    When respon­dents uti­lize social media, they are con­cen­trated on a hand­ful of chan­nels, includ­ing Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
•    Key busi­ness deci­sion mak­ers are inter­ested and engaged in what social media can do for their busi­nesses.
•    Few respon­dents dwell for long peri­ods of time on social media.
•    Emerging plat­forms include YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Be sure to check out the August issue of CoffeeTalk for full analy­sis of sur­vey result data!

The View

Categories: 2012, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

So, it is time to fess up… for the last five years Miles has writ­ten not just some but each and every one of “The View” arti­cles in the mag­a­zine. Yes, we always dis­cuss and agree on con­tent, but I sim­ply have this love/hate rela­tion­ship with writ­ing. I hate to do it; I LOVE it when it is fin­ished. I have no idea how I even was able to write a 280 page book in 1993 (Java U: Business Basics) in only 3 months. I think it has some­thing to do with a huge quan­tity of choco­late cov­ered espresso beans con­sumed at all hours of the day. However, I digress. So, to return to my topic, who wouldn’t want to be cooler and sexier?!?

I read a recent ad…
“It is time to get your Q-Certification! You know you want it! Here are your top 5 rea­sons to take my class in July to test for it: 5) You WILL get a tremen­dous edu­ca­tion. 4) You will set your­self apart from your peers. 3) You become part of a select group of peo­ple com­mit­ted to improv­ing the qual­ity of cof­fee in the world. 2) Improve Quality in Coffee= Improve the lives of those that pro­duce it. And the num­ber one rea­son to take my class and test for the Q-Grader Certification: 1) You will be cooler and sex­ier than other cof­fee people!”

Ok, given this set of rea­sons, I imme­di­ately signed up for the course, not for only myself, but recruited three of my clos­est cof­fee friends to take the course with me! Interesting enough, three of us had 19+ years each in the cof­fee indus­try, and the other grew up in a coffee-producing fam­ily and has worked in the indus­try for the last 14 months. Each of us had our own rea­sons for want­ing to take this ridicu­lously demand­ing series of lec­tures and 22 tests given over an intense 5-day period. And, each of us found our own unique chal­lenges and gained a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive when we were fin­ished. However, we all had one thing in com­mon: this expe­ri­ence was one of the most reward­ing and impact­ful expe­ri­ences in our var­ied lives.

What is “Q-Certification?” and why do I care?
First, to under­stand “Q” you must under­stand “CQI.” The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) is a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion work­ing inter­na­tion­ally to improve the qual­ity of cof­fee and the lives of the peo­ple who pro­duce it. CQI pro­vides train­ing and tech­ni­cal assis­tance to cof­fee pro­duc­ers and other indi­vid­u­als in the sup­ply chain to increase the value, vol­ume, and sus­tain­abil­ity of high qual­ity cof­fee production.

The “Q Coffee System” locates spe­cialty cof­fees at ori­gin and helps to improve those that have the poten­tial to meet spe­cialty stan­dards. The effect is a com­mon lan­guage between buy­ers and sell­ers that draws atten­tion to more spe­cialty cof­fees while cre­at­ing an infra­struc­ture that gives pro­duc­ers greater oppor­tu­ni­ties to enter the mar­ket­place and to increase their eco­nomic via­bil­ity. (Next Confession: The last two para­graphs were taken directly from the CQI web­site.)
To read a great arti­cle on Q Grader Certification, see our August 2011 issue–magazine.coffeetalk.com/august11-q

To sum­ma­rize, we were being trained/certified to rec­og­nized the spe­cific attrib­utes of “Specialty” cof­fee and the tests ver­i­fied our abil­i­ties in grad­ing green cof­fee, iden­ti­fy­ing roast­ing stan­dards, and our knowl­edge of cof­fee from crop to roast­ing. That was what I con­sid­ered the easy part. Anyone can study and learn. The truly chal­leng­ing part was prov­ing that we each had the “nose” and palate to iden­tify quality.

To this end, there were 5 “Triangulation” tests, 4 “”Olfactory” tests, 3 “Sensory Evaluation” tests, and one Organic Acids Matching Pairs test. I was intim­i­dated by the thought of mem­o­riz­ing 36 scents includ­ing rub­ber, bas­mati rice, and leather, among oth­ers. However, the most dreaded test of all (and most failed by any stu­dent attempt­ing the course) is the third “Sensory Evaluation” test in which we were each pre­sented with 8 cups con­tain a mix­ture of sweet, salty, and sour solu­tions. In each case, we were to iden­tify not only the com­bi­na­tion of fla­vors, but also the inten­sity of each. I was pos­i­tive I would never get this!

My Secret Nemesis
To my com­plete sur­prise, I passed the Sensory Evaluation on the first attempt. Unfortunately, “Triangulation” was a dif­fer­ent story. We were each pre­sented 6 sets of cof­fees, 3 cups each. In each set, 2 of the cof­fees were the same and the third was dif­fer­ent. Our job was to iden­tify the cof­fee in each set that was dif­fer­ent cor­rectly in at least 5 of the 6 sets. Now this is done under a red light so we were unable to dis­cern color dif­fer­ences. In many of the cases, the “dif­fer­ent” cof­fee was from a dif­fer­ent ori­gin (coun­try), how­ever in some of the cases all three cof­fees were from the same coun­try, just dif­fer­ent farms. My first attempt was not just a fail­ure; it was an “Epic Failure” (Thanks Rocky). Thankfully as the week pro­gressed, expe­ri­ence and my amaz­ing class­mates helped me to gain much-needed skills and I finally passed three of the five Triangulations.

The Next Step
So this brings me to my admis­sion: after 3 weeks of intense study before the course, and 5 days of exhaust­ing test­ing and learn­ing, I can’t yet say I have my Q Grader Certificate. I can say con­grat­u­la­tions to two of my friends (both from pro­duc­ing coun­tries) who did man­age to pass all 22 tests in that first week! And I am hop­ing that by the Roasters Guild Retreat (in two weeks), I will have passed the final two Triangulations and awarded my Q Grader Certificate (Thanks to Craig Holt at Atlas for allow­ing me in to retake the final two tests this week!). A huge thanks goes to Rocky Rhodes for being an amaz­ing Q Grader Instructor (there are only 31 cur­rently cer­ti­fied in the world!). Luzma and Ashley, thanks for cram­ming with me for 3 weeks and even help­ing me study for the Triangulations after you passed! And, Karen, your pas­sion and knowl­edge has been an inspi­ra­tion to me for years and I know you will pass your last two tests as well!
If you’d like to read more about our Q Experience and quotes from our class­mates, visit www.coffeetalk.com/q-experience!

Cheers,
Kerri & Miles

Grounds for Health: Sustainability in our Mission, Health Care with a Lasting Impact

Categories: 2011, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

In recent years, sus­tain­abil­ity has been THE buzz­word in both the cof­fee indus­try and the pub­lic health sec­tor. At Grounds for Health, through 15 years of hands-on expe­ri­ence devel­op­ing health care pro­grams in some of the world’s poor­est and most remote areas, we have seen first-hand that too often, well-meaning devel­op­ment pro­grams are funded, set up, and run by out­siders, and then aban­doned with­out the nec­es­sary sup­port or train­ing to keep the project sus­tain­able. The third world is lit­er­ally lit­tered with inef­fec­tual pro­grams, bro­ken equip­ment and bro­ken promises.

Grounds for Health focuses on pre­vent­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer, the num­ber one cause of early death for women in most devel­op­ing coun­tries. The fact that thou­sands of women die from a pre­ventable dis­ease is truly stun­ning. It is also an eye-opening fact that cer­vi­cal can­cer is per­haps the eas­i­est of all can­cers to detect and to treat. Right now, the tech­nol­ogy and the resources are there to save lives and avoid the huge finan­cial and per­sonal bur­den that can­cer care and early death bring to fam­i­lies and soci­eties. So how does an orga­ni­za­tion begin to tackle this major health prob­lem skill­fully and effec­tively to reach a sus­tain­able solution?

Grounds for Health has dis­cov­ered a few key ingre­di­ents:
• Locally Driven: Communities must rec­og­nize the need, buy in to the pro­gram, and assume local own­er­ship.
Grounds for Health pro­grams always start with an invi­ta­tion from the com­mu­nity. The com­mu­nity has decided cer­vi­cal can­cer is a pri­or­ity prob­lem and is will­ing to put energy and resources into the solu­tion.
• Affordable: Local com­mu­ni­ties must be able to pay for their own resources and mate­ri­als to con­tinue indef­i­nitely.
In coun­tries such as Nicaragua or Tanzania where the annual fam­ily income can be as lit­tle as $300/year, any health care solu­tion needs to cost pen­nies and not dol­lars. The sim­ple screen­ing test Grounds for Health uses costs 25¢ per test and is con­sid­ered a “best buy in pub­lic health” by the World Health Organization.
• Focus: Programs should begin by reach­ing out to the pop­u­la­tions at great­est risk.
In rural areas, poor women between the ages of 30 and 50 are at great­est risk of devel­op­ing cer­vi­cal can­cer. By screen­ing and treat­ing this seg­ment first, soci­ety will receive the great­est ben­e­fit despite lim­ited resources. Grounds for Health’s close com­mu­nity links pro­vide the com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion and mobi­liza­tion that helps iden­tify and encour­age these women to go for ser­vices. The cof­fee co-op helps with trans­port and makes sure she gets follow-up care if she needs it. Without that link, she may never arrive for pre­ven­tion in the first place.
• Locally Sourced: When sup­plies run out, com­mu­ni­ties should be able to find new mate­ri­als locally.
Grounds for Health scru­ti­nizes every ingre­di­ent, sup­ply, and piece of equip­ment to make sure it is nec­es­sary, can be locally sourced when­ever pos­si­ble, and/or doesn’t require fancy tech­nol­ogy to keep it going.
• Locally Sustained: Programs should empower with the knowl­edge to con­tinue.
Grounds for Health invests heav­ily in train­ing local providers, thereby improv­ing health sys­tems, and increas­ing access to basic care. Local providers con­tinue the work and our co-op part­ners make sure that if there is a break in access either through loss of a local provider or a lack of nec­es­sary sup­plies, that efforts are made to cor­rect the prob­lem early. We are now focus­ing on edu­cat­ing mas­ter train­ers in rural com­mu­ni­ties who can help develop new providers and con­tinue to sup­port new pro­grams with­out our assistance.

And, the final key ingre­di­ent to sus­tain­abil­ity is the invest­ment at all lev­els of the fund­ing base. In the case of Grounds for Health, what runs our engine is the sus­tained sup­port from the Specialty Coffee Industry. Having a fund­ing base that truly cares about and is will­ing to invest in the pop­u­la­tion we serve means that the sup­port does not change when the next big cri­sis blows through the media. And because our fund­ing comes from many sources in the form of direct dona­tions, it means that there is no sin­gle fun­der dic­tat­ing our work. We have had the uncom­mon lux­ury of flex­i­bil­ity and free­dom to try out new ideas and to test what really works, change what does not, and make con­stant improve­ments to our model.

The result has been wide recog­ni­tion for out­stand­ing, sus­tain­able pro­grams that address cer­vi­cal can­cer pre­ven­tion – from com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion and mobi­liza­tions, to high qual­ity local health ser­vices, to assur­ance of care and fol­low up for women who need more. As part of that recog­ni­tion, Grounds for Health received the 2011 SCAA Sustainability Award, was named a National Demonstration Project by the Tanzanian and Nicaraguan Governments, and has been appointed to the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on Cervical Cancer.

What started 15 years ago with a few good peo­ple from the cof­fee indus­try join­ing together to address the high rate of cer­vi­cal can­cer in a small coffee-farming com­mu­nity in south­ern Mexico, has grown into a model of community-empowered sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. We are fully caffeinated.

Thank you Specialty Coffee.
To learn more about Grounds for Health or to donate, visit: www.groundsforhealth.org.

Ms Burns, Executive Director of Ground for Health, is an expert in women’s health and has worked in more than a dozen coun­tries. She is co-author of “Where Women Have No Doctor,” a health guide for women in low-resource set­tings, now trans­lated into over 30 lan­guages and used around the world.