Tag Archive for: specialty

by Dave Planer

Roaster Resources

Categories: 2015, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

In Defense of the Middle Man
We hear it all the time in almost every indus­try:
“Remove the mid­dle man; make your busi­ness more effi­cient and increase your profits.”

That’s not an unfair state­ment in most indus­tries. However, the cof­fee indus­try has cre­ated a unique list of issues for the importer, just like it has for the pro­ducer and the retailer on either end. Coming from a barista and third-wave café man­ager back­ground, I always viewed the rela­tion­ship with the farmer to be para­mount. I imag­ined myself going to the farms and exchang­ing hand­shakes and laugh­ter for jute bags full of green cof­fee. This—much to my chagrin—is just not a real­is­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the life of the aver­age roaster. I know; I’m as dis­ap­pointed as you are.

For the small to mid­size roaster, han­dling the logis­tics of inter­na­tional freight is a daunt­ing enough propo­si­tion, but when you add in the exor­bi­tant cost per pound asso­ci­ated with ship­ping any­thing less than a full (~37,500lb) con­tainer, the nav­i­ga­tion of gov­ern­men­tal restric­tions, the idea of tying up tens of thou­sands of dol­lars months before you might receive the cof­fee, and the years and patience it takes to build a rela­tion­ship with a pro­ducer, it quickly becomes unsus­tain­able to pop­u­late your menu with directly-sourced cof­fee. The time and costs you incur grossly out­weigh the cost of work­ing with an importer.

Probably the most time-consuming—yet most rewarding—aspects of devel­op­ing farm con­nec­tions are the rela­tion­ships. These rela­tion­ships are built on trust and mutual under­stand­ing, as well as a pas­sion and love for cof­fee. These farm­ers have, by far, the most work to do to make sure that what ends up in your cup is a beau­ti­ful start to your morn­ing. All things con­sid­ered, importers are going to spend a lot of time devel­op­ing rela­tion­ships, but they can only man­age so many. If a diverse list of unique cof­fees is what you’re look­ing for, a sin­gle source is prob­a­bly going to limit your abil­ity to accom­plish that. That may seem like a strange sug­ges­tion from an importer, but it’s just a real­ity. At Royal Coffee New York, we’re always look­ing for a way to ful­fill new needs as they arrive, and we do our best to have the right cof­fee for each type of person.

Familiarity with the cof­fee is another con­sid­er­a­tion. We spend a good chunk of time every day with cup­ping and qual­ity assur­ance. In any given week, we could cup between 50–100 dif­fer­ent cof­fees. This allows us to have a men­tal library of sim­i­lar­i­ties from which we can draw lines to sim­i­lar cof­fees in a way that some­one who only cups occa­sion­ally, or only a cou­ple cof­fees at a time, wouldn’t be able to. The beauty is we can’t do every­thing; no one can.

With the chain of cof­fee, every link needs to be strong, or it all falls apart. We’re proud to be able to be a part of that.

By Dave Planer, Marketing Director of Royal Coffee New York, Inc.

Producer Profile

Categories: 2015, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

What is Cup of Excellence®?
Cup of Excellence is a pre­mier cof­fee com­pe­ti­tion and world­wide auc­tion offer­ing the high­est award given to a top scor­ing cof­fee. The level of scrutiny that Cup of Excellence cof­fees undergo is unmatched as all of the COE award win­ners are cupped at least five times (the top ten are cupped again) dur­ing the three-week com­pe­ti­tion. Literally hun­dreds of cups are smelled, tasted and scored based on their exem­plary char­ac­ter­is­tics. The prices that these win­ning cof­fees receive at the auc­tion have bro­ken records time and again to prove that there is a huge demand for these rare, farmer iden­ti­fied cof­fees. The farmer receives the major­ity of the auc­tion pro­ceeds based on the price paid at auc­tion, and the farmer can expect to receive more than 80% of the final price. The remain­ing auc­tion pro­ceeds are paid to the in-country orga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to help pay for the program.

Changing Producer Lives
13.Miravalle1Being selected as one of the win­ners at Cup of Excellence means recog­ni­tion and reward for the grower and has been a spring­board for many grow­ers to secure long-term rela­tion­ships with inter­na­tional buy­ers, which, in turn, allows for fur­ther invest­ment in the farm and brings secu­rity for fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties.
The expe­ri­ence for the grower is life-changing. He or she is a star and for that one ner­vous, exhil­a­rat­ing moment, applauded. Proudly walk­ing up on the stage and accept­ing the applause, the grower real­izes their hard work, atten­tion to detail, maybe their very liveli­hood, is being rec­og­nized as impor­tant to their entire coun­try. Some are very shy, never hav­ing been in any kind of pub­lic spot­light. Many are hum­ble coun­try folk – and this is evi­dent as they shake hands with an ambas­sador, the vice pres­i­dent or even the pres­i­dent of a coun­try, their expres­sion clearly show­ing the huge ela­tion of win­ning. Cup of Excellence has cre­ated a much more trans­par­ent infra­struc­ture for high qual­ity cof­fee. Roasters can now iden­tify, find and build rela­tion­ships with grow­ers of supe­rior cof­fees. It brings together the high qual­ity roaster and the high qual­ity farmer and helps both under­stand and appre­ci­ate the nuances and fla­vor pro­files of rare exem­plary cof­fees. It has changed the pric­ing struc­ture for farm­ers and has dis­cov­ered many of the incred­i­ble cof­fees that have built con­sumer excite­ment and loy­alty. With that, we are excited to present our new series: Producer Profiles.

El Salvador: Finca Miravalle
Table 1High on the vel­vet green shoul­der of El Salvador’s Santa Ana vol­cano nes­tles Finca Miravalle. Dr. Jaime Ernesto Riera Menendez owns and man­ages these 10 hectares, where cli­mate, rain­fall, and metic­u­lous hus­bandry com­bine to pro­duce his award-winning cof­fee. In 1980, Dr. Mendez’s father, Amadeo Riera y Solsona, bought the plan­ta­tion and named it Miravalle (Overlooking the Valley). Dom Amadeo began the process of reclaim­ing the cof­fee trees from the wild, and when he passed away, left Miravalle to his wife, Marta Dolores Menendez de Riera. Eventually she trans­ferred own­er­ship to her son, Dr. Menendez, a gas­troen­terol­o­gist, who inher­ited his parent’s love for cof­fee, and today Jaime and his mother Marta super­vise the farm’s oper­a­tions together.

At Finca Miravalle, a com­bi­na­tion of Bourbon and Pacas cof­fee vari­etals grow in the shade of native Ingas, Cipres and Gravileo trees, thriv­ing at an aver­age alti­tude of 1650 metres above sea level. Menendez and his farm man­ager, Luis Flores, employ cul­tural prac­tices such as con­tin­u­ous prun­ing of both cof­fee and shade trees, weed con­trol, replant­ing, and more, all of which they accom­plish by tra­di­tional meth­ods. Flores has worked with Dr. Menendez for seven years, and man­aged the plan­ta­tion for the last four. They have been able to almost com­pletely avoid the cof­fee rust that has plagued much of Central America. Together, they have pro­duced a cof­fee that has won the Cup of Excellence award for four con­sec­u­tive years.

Table 2From its van­tage point so far above the val­ley, Miravalle’s cof­fee ripens slowly. It is selec­tively hand­picked, fully washed, and then dried in the sun. During most of the year, only two peo­ple live at the farm—Luis and his wife—but dur­ing har­vest that pop­u­la­tion swells to about 70, as selected pick­ers from the sur­round­ing region con­verge. After the 2005 erup­tion of the Santa Ana vol­cano, which caused rocks the size of cars to hur­tle down on the land, many work­ers migrated to lower ele­va­tions. Now, Miravalle pays their pick­ers almost 40% above min­i­mum wage to come back up the moun­tain and par­tic­i­pate in the cof­fee harvest.

Dr. Menendez cred­its the excel­lent qual­ity of the Bourbón vari­ety, along with the alti­tude and loca­tion of Miravalle, for his farm’s 13th place award in the Cup of Excellence this year. Dr. Menendez is highly moti­vated to keep up with opti­mum har­vest and sort­ing processes to improve the qual­ity of his cof­fee each year. The key to this, he believes, is moti­vat­ing the peo­ple that work on the farm, teach­ing them the impor­tance of their role, and improv­ing the ben­e­fits for every­one involved.

This lot of Finca Miravalle cof­fee offers jas­mine in the aroma, cedar, malt, and grape­fruit up front, and a clean mouth­feel that ends in a lin­ger­ing aftertaste.

Coffee Beyond the Drink

Categories: 2015, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Coffee has been a part of my life for longer than I care to admit, and a part of my career since 1999. I have fed, clothed, and housed my chil­dren through cof­fee. It is fair to say that I have an emo­tional attach­ment to the bean, as well as a prac­ti­cal one. Like many, it is the start of my day, which is filled to the brim (par­don the obvi­ous pun) with life.

I am a career woman, a wife and a mom with four kids, a pack of dogs, and a flock of hand-raised, back­yard chick­ens. My hus­band and I cul­ti­vate a healthy veg­etable gar­den, grow and blend our own herbal teas and hard­scape our own yard. You will often find me shed­ding my heels for my rub­ber work boots the minute my feet hit the dri­ve­way com­ing home.

The con­cept of waste holds no charm for me. The idea of using/reusing as much of an item as pos­si­ble, not only is appeal­ing and speaks to the nat­u­ral­ist in me, but has become a phi­los­o­phy of respon­si­bil­ity that I try and live by.

That is why I am fas­ci­nated by the devel­op­ing “other cof­fee” indus­try that has emerged in recent years. Throughout the food indus­try, holis­tic health care prod­ucts and cos­met­ics, we see var­i­ous parts of the cof­fee cherry being reused for pur­poses other than my morn­ing ‘nec­tar of the gods.’

The health ben­e­fits of brewed cof­fee have been debated end­lessly, with stud­ies and research both for and against the ben­e­fits of cof­fee. Coffee is, in truth, one of the widest used, nat­u­rally grown med­i­c­i­nal plants. Beyond the sim­u­lant ben­e­fits of brewed cof­fee, it also known to aid in diges­tion, increase reflex speed and men­tal activity.

However great the health ben­e­fit of brewed cof­fee, it is over­shad­owed by the ben­e­fits from the cof­fee fruit or cherry sur­round­ing the bean. The cherry or fruit on the cof­fee tree is high in antiox­i­dants, one of the high­est on the ORAC rat­ing, in fact. Long term con­sump­tion of phe­no­lic acid and plant polyphe­nols found in the cof­fee cherry can become a poten­tial power pack that helps with skin regen­er­a­tion, aids against dia­betes, osteo­poro­sis and can even pro­tect against the devel­op­ment of some cancers1. In short, we are speak­ing about the next super food.

With the emerg­ing new indus­try of using cof­fee by-products, it could offer another con­ceiv­able and much needed source of income for farm­ers and their fam­i­lies. There is a poten­tial for sell­ing the cherry for use in herbal sup­ple­ments, cos­met­ics, teas, and for use in food and bev­er­age ingre­di­ents. This would widen the mar­ket and expand sales using already exist­ing sup­ply chains, vir­tu­ally elim­i­nat­ing any waste.

In fact, most of the com­pa­nies researched had a focus on help­ing to broaden the eco­nomic oppor­tu­nity for cof­fee grow­ers, elim­i­nat­ing build-up of waste going into the soil and streams, and expand­ing a sus­tain­able sup­ply chain.

Foods of the Fruit
I am a couch chef. Think Monday morn­ing quar­ter­back, only with food. I love watch­ing cook­ing shows and cer­tainly love eat­ing, but I am more skilled with a shovel and rock bar than I am with a spat­ula. Regardless, I gob­ble up recipes and new food ideas think­ing that some­day, I am going to really learn to cook. When I learned that peo­ple were cre­at­ing food from cof­fee, for me, it was like the Seattle Seahawks going to the Super Bowl…twice.

A Bouquet of Flours
Life turns in inter­est­ing cir­cles some­times; cof­fee trees flower, flow­ers become cher­ries, and now cher­ries are becom­ing flour. Coffee flour is made from the pulp of cof­fee cher­ries ground into a flour that is high-fiber, gluten free, with a bit­ter­sweet taste. Coffee flour is not meant to be a stand-alone flour, but rather to be blended with other flours to add an ele­men­tal rich­ness that enhances food.

High in pro­tein, fiber, iron and potas­sium, it can be used in any recipe that would call for stan­dard flour or gluten free flour. Even fake food­ies like myself are eager to blend, bake, and savor. It will soon be pos­si­ble thanks to com­pa­nies like CoffeeFlour®, which hopes to launch the prod­uct com­mer­cially late in 2015.

Engineer, fac­tory designer, and ex-Starbucks entre­pre­neur, Dan Belliveau, started CF Global with some com­mer­cial lever­age help from Intellectual Ventures, ECOM Agroindustrial Corp, and Mercon Coffee Corp. In 2014, The Guardian named CoffeeFlour® top Sustainable Business Story of 20142.

Coffee flour can be used to bake cook­ies, brown­ies, most any sweet treat, but will also pair well with red wine cre­at­ing a new fla­vor in a red wine reduc­tion sauce for beef.

Waiter, there is some­thing in my food.”
While cof­fee flour is not yet avail­able, other com­pa­nies have cer­tainly dis­cov­ered the ben­e­fits of using the cof­fee berry fruit in their prod­ucts to boost the nutri­tional value and get com­plex­ity in their fla­vor profiles.

Earnest eats™, a com­pany based in Solana Beach, California, spe­cial­izes in healthy, hearty foods that use whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Blended together in var­i­ous ways cre­at­ing dif­fer­ent gra­nola, bars, and oat­meal. Their newest line uses cof­fee fruit to give the whole­some oats a lit­tle extra kick of good­ness. Using cof­fee flour, (dried cof­fee fruit pulp)3 adds between 15–40 mg of caf­feine per serv­ing, giv­ing a lit­tle extra some­thing in each bite.

Another feel good food using cof­fee fruit is Yebo Bars, for­merly Cherry Hero. Yebo feel good for good™, tells the story of Ethiopian war­riors cre­at­ing the first energy bar by crush­ing the fruit and wrap­ping it in other foods. As an avid trav­eler for work, I am all about “good food on the go” and bars are eas­ily portable. I want a power-packed energy bar with­out loads of junk. Yebo Bars is a small start-up com­pany that began in 2012, with a good heart and “works to empower cof­fee farm­ers while pro­vid­ing scal­able and sus­tain­able nutrition.”4

In addi­tion to good food, David Boyle, owner of Yebo Bars, donates 5% of every bar sold to help fund food secu­rity projects for cof­fee farm­ing fam­i­lies. Now that is feel-good food.

All This Food Has Made Me Thirsty
Food is not the only con­sum­able by-product of cof­fee cher­ries. Coffee berry tea is an herbal tea made from the dried, some­times coarsely ground cof­fee cher­ries. Coffee fruit tea, also known as, cas­cara, tastes noth­ing like brewed cof­fee. It has all the pleas­ant­ness of a light berry infused tea, and is full of antiox­i­dants. In a tea infu­sion form, it report­edly works sim­i­lar to a detox.

If you’re not in the mood for a hot tea, then you can try Kona Red®, a power-packed energy drink cre­ated by Greenwell Farms, using the cof­fee cher­ries from their farm. Prior to devel­op­ing the energy drink, Greenwell Farms would use the cher­ries as a com­post for their cof­fee trees, recy­cling the “waste” into a won­der­ful com­post. The Kona Red® brand has now devel­oped into a full line of energy drinks, pack­ets, and pow­ders for peo­ple on the go.

Using the “unused” por­tion of cof­fee cher­ries seems like a “win” for all par­ties, but con­cerned response to a 2014 arti­cle in The Guardian raised ques­tions. There are many farm­ers who use the dis­carded fruit as a nutri­ent rich com­post, help­ing to main­tain the bal­ance of the soil and in turn, cre­at­ing a bet­ter bean. Monika Firl, of Coöperative Coffees is quoted say­ing, “If well man­aged, there is no waste in the cof­fee fields.
It can all be recy­cled into very use­ful com­posted fer­til­iz­ers, which the fields need to main­tain pro­duc­tion levels.”5

The con­cept of using the whole of the crop and gen­er­at­ing addi­tional review to help off-set the lean months between har­vests is crit­i­cal to main­tain­ing a healthy sus­tain­able com­mu­nity. Diversification of the crops, how­ever it comes about, is key in bring­ing in more rev­enue. But sim­i­larly with the cof­fee bean, keep­ing the money local, the farms healthy, and the sup­ply chain trans­par­ent, will be key fac­tors in mea­sur­ing the impact of this emerg­ing new cof­fee indus­try. Success that is shared from farm to flour.


By Kelle Vandenberg, Free-lance Writer and VP of Marketing for
Pacific Bag, Inc.
To reach Kelle:

Java Jive

Java Jive

Coffee for Your Workout

Coffee improves your phys­i­cal per­for­mance
Caffeine stim­u­lates the ner­vous sys­tem, caus­ing it to send sig­nals to the fat cells to break down body fat, which can be used as fuel when released into the blood. It also increases Epinephrine (adren­a­line) lev­els in the blood.

A study shows that because of these effects, the result is an 11 to 12.3% improve­ment on phys­i­cal performance.

Coffee pre­serves your mus­cles
Studies show that cof­fee can set off the part of your brain that releases the ‘growth fac­tor’: brain-derived neu­rotrophic fac­tor (BDNF).

BDNF pro­motes and improves neu­ro­mo­tor func­tion. Neuromotor func­tion can be described as your mus­cles’ igni­tion switch, the ner­vous system’s abil­ity to fire your mus­cles. Neuromotor degra­da­tion is among the lead­ing causes of age-related mus­cle atro­phy. Consuming cof­fee daily main­tains your BDNF at the nor­mal level and thereby strength­ens and safe­guards your muscles.

Coffee helps you work­out harder
According to recent research, ath­letes who con­sumed caf­feine prior to work­ing out took longer to become exhausted, com­pleted more reps, and were more psy­cho­log­i­cally ready to perform.

A group of researchers found that a ‘caffeine/carb combo’ could increase glyco­gen to more than 50 per­cent after an intense work­out. Glycogen is a form of car­bo­hy­drates that is stored in the mus­cles and can boost strength and stamina.

When con­sumed, the caf­feine in cof­fee can increase the glyco­gen in your mus­cles. Drinking cof­fee reg­u­larly ensures you’ll always have enough glyco­gen stores in your muscles.

Coffee reduces mus­cle sore­ness after exer­cise
Caffeine can speed recov­ery and reduce post-workout mus­cle sore­ness by up to 48 percent.

A group of researchers from the University of Illinois found that caf­feine affects the brain sys­tem and the spinal cord sys­tem in a way that reduces pain. Another study showed that sus­tained caf­feinated cof­fee con­sump­tion right before and after an upper-body resis­tance train­ing can improve per­for­mance and decrease mus­cle sore­ness in the days after the stren­u­ous work­out, thus let­ting indi­vid­u­als to increase the num­ber of their train­ing sessions.

The less pain you feel after a work­out, the less likely it is that you’ll be sore. Since cof­fee also helps pre­serves your mus­cles, it can help you recover quickly. The quicker you recover, the more you can exer­cise and improve.

Coffee low­ers stress
When you’re feel­ing stressed at work, you could make your­self feel bet­ter by tak­ing a big whiff of a cup of cof­fee before drink­ing it. By exam­in­ing the brain of some sleep-deprived rats, a group of researchers at the Seoul National University dis­cov­ered that those who were exposed to cof­fee aro­mas expe­ri­enced changes in their brain pro­teins tied to the stress they were expe­ri­enc­ing and alle­vi­ated it. The aroma study focused pri­mar­ily on stress related to sleep deprivation.

Nevertheless, numer­ous stud­ies pub­lished show that cof­fee has stress-reducing effects. A research titled “Hypertension” pub­lished in 2005 showed that the blood pres­sure of coffee-drinkers is not as affected when faced with stress­ful situations.

There may not be much effect for non-habitual drinkers of cof­fee, but for habit­ual drinkers there is a reduced stress-induced response.

Thanks to Michael York of Espresso Perfecto for shar­ing these fun facts.

Roast Ratings

Categories: 2015, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

What is your favorite thing about cof­fee? This is the type of ques­tion that I am asked on a reg­u­lar basis.



One of the most intrigu­ing things about cof­fee that I enjoy is the seem­ingly end­less amount of fla­vor expe­ri­ences. At one point in my career this man­i­fested as “ori­gin char­ac­ter”, or the spe­cific fla­vor that comes from a par­tic­u­lar coun­try. Currently we as an indus­try have begun to under­stand that these ori­gin char­ac­ter­is­tics are not always about the ter­roir, but also tra­di­tional vari­etals and pro­cess­ing meth­ods that have huge impact on fla­vor and can be repli­cated to some degree in other countries.



I have long pur­sued an under­stand­ing of my palate even since I was a kid dig­ging through the spice rack at home and aspir­ing to be a chef. Little did I know that curios­ity would lead me to my newest ven­ture, Roast Ratings.



Roast Ratings is a new web­site that Holly Bastin (my orig­i­nal trainer, friend, and WBC coach)

and myself have cre­ated to give a consumer-friendly approach to rank­ing cof­fees. Everyone

likes being able to gauge how “good” a prod­uct is in com­par­i­son to another, and we want to take that to a dif­fer­ent place in the cof­fee indus­try. There are at least a few com­pa­nies that score and review cof­fees on the inter­net, and our goal with this com­pany is to give opin­ions on cof­fee from a unique perspective.




Dual Rating System
In cre­at­ing a new and dif­fer­ent rat­ing sys­tem, we real­ized that some­thing was miss­ing from the stan­dard way many peo­ple eval­u­ate a cof­fee. We all know that a cof­fee tastes dif­fer­ent in a cup­ping than it does in most brew­ing meth­ods, and that is why we cre­ated a dual eval­u­a­tion that looks about both cup­ping and brewed cof­fee.



Cupping is our stan­dard in the cof­fee indus­try. It speaks to the tech­ni­cal qual­ity of a cof­fee. The cof­fee being eval­u­ated becomes an open book of integrity points as well as iden­ti­fi­able fla­vor notes. In addi­tion, cup­ping speaks to the ver­sa­til­ity of a cof­fee, and how it might taste with a metal fil­ter or less com­mon methods.



Brewing is pretty obvi­ous. This is how most con­sumers (at least in the USA) tend to drink their cof­fee. The pur­pose for eval­u­at­ing brewed cof­fee is to give an accu­rate pic­ture of what it will actu­ally taste like at home. Additionally, this eval­u­a­tion shows how a cof­fee will change between the two meth­ods. There are many cof­fees that taste bet­ter in one eval­u­a­tion over the other, which would indi­cate less ver­sa­til­ity or over­all chance that the con­sumer will get a great experience.

Of course, one of our pri­mary tasks is to score and rate a given cof­fee, which brought up another ques­tion. What type of scor­ing sys­tem should be used?

It was quickly appar­ent that all of the stan­dard scor­ing sys­tems (SCAA, CoE, etc) are pri­mar­ily focused on green qual­ity and stan­dard­ized roasts. So we decided to make a new score sys­tem focused on the things that we value in cof­fee, and that we believe oth­ers will value as well. Our scor­ing takes aroma, tac­tile, and after­taste into con­sid­er­a­tion, but we also address over­all bal­ance with acid­ity, sweet­ness, and bit­ter­ness scores. Lastly, we score an ele­ment called ‘drink­a­bil­ity’ which is sim­i­lar to a cupper’s score, and is mostly con­cerned with “was it pleas­ant to drink” and “do I want more?”

We made this scor­ing sys­tem with all cri­te­ria being earned, thus mak­ing a full range of scores from 0 to 100. The full range was needed so we could accu­rately com­pare the dark­est of the dark with the light­est of light roasts out there. This is clearly a depar­ture from stan­dard scor­ing meth­ods, which auto­mat­i­cally assume cer­tain points on the scale.

Star Rating
The new scor­ing sheet is used for both the cup­ping and the brew, each being worth up to 50 points, and added together to cre­ate an aggre­gate score out of 100. The aggre­gate score is then trans­lated into ‘Stars’ for the over­all rat­ing. The 5-Star rat­ing sys­tem is eas­ily under­stood and helps give a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the new sys­tem we have created.

The cof­fee indus­try has an incred­i­ble range of expec­ta­tions for even the sim­plest ter­mi­nol­ogy. For exam­ple if I tell you that I have a 90 point cof­fee for you to try, are you imme­di­ately impressed? Or has that term come to mean less to you lately? It is dif­fi­cult for a roaster to hear that their cof­fee scored 85 points sim­ply because they have an expec­ta­tion of what 85 point cof­fee tastes like. Unfortunately, that per­cep­tion is likely based on an 85 point green cof­fee rather than a true 100 point roasted cof­fee scale.

Take that same 85 point cof­fee on our full-range rat­ing sys­tem, and you will real­ize that it is actu­ally a ‘4 ½ Star’ cof­fee, which is pretty stinkin good! It isn’t a ‘5 Star’ cof­fee, which is the range for incred­i­bly dynamic coffees.

Overall the Star rat­ings cre­ate a sim­ple, yet very under­stand­able image of where a spe­cific cof­fee fits into the range of all cof­fees.

So… How is this use­ful?
Since our pri­mary audi­ence is every­day cof­fee drinkers, Roast Ratings needs to be imme­di­ately use­ful for them. The web­site is easy to nav­i­gate and full of infor­ma­tion about the spe­cific cof­fees that have been rated. The ‘Roast Finder’ is made for explor­ing spe­cific fla­vor pro­files and eas­ily dis­cov­er­ing new offer­ings from roast­ers around the coun­try (or world). In addi­tion, we have edu­ca­tional arti­cles for learn­ing about cof­fee and prepa­ra­tion as well as our ‘Mom Blog’ for fun posts and less seri­ous topics.

So how exactly would sub­mit­ting cof­fees ben­e­fit roast­ers? One of our goals in cre­at­ing this com­pany was to cre­ate value for every­one involved. Submitting a cof­fee for rat­ing will give you a few major benefits:

First, an objec­tive and unbi­ased review of your cof­fee. You will get feed­back on how your cof­fee com­pares to oth­ers, as well as where it shines or poten­tially falls short. Not all cof­fees can be dynamic chart-toppers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be great in their own right!

Second, a way to mar­ket your cof­fee. By hav­ing a rat­ing asso­ci­ated with your cof­fee you can pro­mote it in new ways, adding sales num­bers for that cof­fee as well as pro­mot­ing your brand as a qual­ity roast­ing com­pany. In addi­tion, we pro­mote your cof­fees on social media and our web­site. We will give more pro­mo­tion the higher your cof­fee rates. We actu­ally really want peo­ple to buy great spe­cialty cof­fee over store brands.

There is also another group of peo­ple who gain value from Roast Ratings: Baristas. Baristas can uti­lize our infor­ma­tion for their own enrich­ment and cus­tomer ser­vice, or even to be able to give rec­om­men­da­tions to their cus­tomers on where to search for their next great cup. We have had multi­roaster cafes and baris­tas make pur­chas­ing deci­sions for their offer­ings based on high rat­ings as well.

We also rec­om­mend the use of our rat­ings as a sales tool. Finding qual­ity whole­sale options, or even giv­ing deeper insight into the prod­uct you are already sell­ing are all avenues to pur­sue. Moving for­ward we will be work­ing on even more ben­e­fi­cial tools for the barista and café own­ers as well!

In the end our goal is to give some­thing use­ful. We believe in the integrity points that spe­cialty cof­fee embod­ies, and it is often very clear that even the more sim­ple spe­cialty cof­fees are supe­rior to bulk brands and gro­cery store pack­ages. In addi­tion to sub­mit­ted cof­fees from roast­ers, we go and pur­chase nationally-available brands (think gro­cery store shelves) with our own funds to add to the site. The point of this is not to talk trash or put these big brands down, but to give a per­spec­tive of where every­thing fits. When you taste the full range of cof­fees out there in the world you might be sur­prised how well our new sys­tem clas­si­fies cof­fee of all levels!

The View

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

You are never given a wish with­out also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, how­ever.
Richard Bach

Eight years, 200+ projects, and $8,000 of direct cash dona­tions, 2015 marks our 8th Annual Making a Difference issue and I am full of hope. Each year CoffeeTalk invites cof­fee indus­try mem­bers to pro­mote char­i­ta­ble projects by sub­mit­ting infor­ma­tion for a full-page pro­file. We edit and pub­lish this annual guide to share with tens of thou­sands of indus­try read­ers glob­ally. Three months later, we use web ana­lyt­ics to deter­mine the project with the high­est num­ber of views and click-thru rate, and directly donate $1,000 to the win­ning project.

As you read about these projects, I hope you are inspired by the pas­sion and vision of those involved, all con­nected through cof­fee. The issues addressed by these projects, though diverse, address com­mon human issues: gen­der equal­ity, poverty, hunger, health, cli­mate change, and edu­ca­tion. Each pro­file includes not only infor­ma­tion on those impacted by the work, they also give spe­cific ways that you can become involved. Below are just some of this year’s sub­mit­ted projects:

•    Scholarships In Nicaragua
•    Bridging Agricultural Communities To Sustainability In Nicaragua
•    Bolaven Farms Crop Share Training Program
•    Clean Cook Stoves In Uganda: Climate Change Mitigation With Health And Employment Benefits
•    Earth’s Choice Women Of Coffee Micro Finance
•    Haiti Coffee: An Economic Development Proposal
•    The Roya Recovery & Food Sovereignty
•    Pathways To Literacy
•    Building Food-Secure Communities In Nicaragua
•    Healthy Women Play A Pivotal Role In The Future Of Coffee
•    Improving The Lives Of Small Farmers In Colombia
•    Santa Elena Kids And Families In Coffee
•    Brewing Change In Tea And Spice Growing Communities
•    Generations: Building Perspectives For Rural Youth In Trifinio
•    Crop And Community Improvement For The Village Of El Socorro De La Penitas, Honduras
•    Keeping Up In A Competitive Global Market Means Better Life For Coffee Farmers In Indonesia
•    Sustainable, Humane, And Organic Agriculture Movement (SHOAM)
•    The Chajulense Women’s Savings/Micro-Credit Project

Please, take a moment out of your busy day to explore the amaz­ing work being done around our planet and then an extra moment to SHARE this link with your clients, cof­fee friends, and social media. Remember, the project with the most views will receive $1000 this fall.

Dutch Bros. Strives to Provide Strength, Hope, Joy, and Support

Categories: 2015Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Since the doors first opened in 1992, Dutch Bros. Coffee has strived to have a pos­i­tive impact on their com­mu­nity. As the com­pany grew, it enabled larger dona­tions and aware­ness, which lead to greater com­mu­nity impact.

There are many orga­ni­za­tions in which Dutch Bros. is involved. Organizations who share the same val­ues as the com­pany, as well as pos­i­tively impact­ing one or more of the fol­low­ing pil­lars: youth, music, health, and com­pelling future.

Whether pro­ceeds days are company-wide or locally run, all have an impact on the com­mu­ni­ties Dutch Bros. serves. When one takes a look at past events, health is an area the com­pany has invested in heav­ily and will con­tinue to con­tribute to because it affects mem­bers of the Dutch Bros. fam­ily and the com­mu­nity so directly.

Drink One for Dane
DrinkOneForDaneA com­pany wide event, known as Drink One for Dane, raises money and aware­ness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, MDA. This event is held every year on the first Friday in May, in honor of late Co-founder Dane Boersma.

Dane was diag­nosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS – bet­ter known as Lou Gehrig dis­ease – in 2006. The incur­able dis­ease, which affects the parts of the ner­vous sys­tem that con­trol vol­un­tary mus­cle move­ment, claimed his life in 2009.

Over the past nine years, Dutch Bros. has donated nearly $1.8 mil­lion to fur­ther ALS research, cre­ate aware­ness and pro­vide ser­vices to fam­i­lies affected by this dis­ease. The money Dutch Bros. raises allows MDA to con­tinue fund­ing research to develop treat­ments for the dis­ease that con­tin­ues to dev­as­tate the lives of many.

This day began as a way to honor Dane and his legacy. It con­tin­ues due to the love and sup­port of the com­mu­nity, and cel­e­brates Dane and all who have or are suf­fer­ing from this dis­ease. Drink One for Dane remains a way to raise aware­ness for ALS and honor a great man whose strength and wis­dom are still seen at Dutch Bros. everyday.

We are inspired by the out­pour­ing of sup­port from local Dutch Bros. stands and all of their cus­tomers on Drink One for Dane Day,” said Oregon MDA, Executive Director, Amy Ward. “Dane con­tin­ues to make a last­ing impact by pro­vid­ing help and hope to those bat­tling ALS.”

Dutch Bros. takes pride in con­tribut­ing to research devel­op­ment and fam­ily ser­vices for those who are affected by var­i­ous dis­eases. Many Dutch Bros. loca­tions par­tic­i­pate in pro­ceeds days, which allow Dutch Bros. to donate to local chap­ters of orga­ni­za­tions, and also cre­ate aware­ness and com­mu­nity involvement.

Breast Cancer Awareness
Breast Cancer Mug 2015Dutch Bros. has no prob­lem “fight­ing like a girl,” and work­ing toward early detec­tion and a cure for breast can­cer. The “Be Aware” mug was cre­ated in order to spread aware­ness and sup­port Breast Cancer research dur­ing the month of October.

Partnering with the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in 2014 & 2015, Dutch Bros. donates $5.00 from the sale of each “Be Aware” mug to raise funds for Knight Cancer Institute and their research. To date this part­ner­ship has gen­er­ated nearly $500,000, which is matched dol­lar for dol­lar by Phil and Penny Knight.

We are deeply grate­ful to Dutch Bros., all of their cus­tomers and employ­ees for sup­port­ing the Knight Cancer Challenge and the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion their efforts will make in advanc­ing breast can­cer research,” said Lisa Coussens, Ph.D., asso­ciate direc­tor of basic research at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “These funds will help us pur­sue the most promis­ing research more quickly and, ulti­mately, bring new hope to breast can­cer patients.”

Breast can­cer is a dis­ease that has impacted many peo­ple within the Dutch fam­ily and in the com­mu­ni­ties they serve. Dutch Bros. is for­tu­nate enough, with the help of their cus­tomers, to be able to sup­port research and facil­i­ties that improve can­cer iden­ti­fi­ca­tion meth­ods and the devel­op­ment of new can­cer treatments.

Make-A-Wish is a foun­da­tion to which many fran­chis­ers donate. Kids are the heart of so much of what Dutch Bros. does daily and Make-a-Wish is a per­fect part­ner­ship. Working with local chap­ters, fran­chisee dona­tions go towards grant­ing wishes of local chil­dren bat­tling life-threatening conditions.

The wishes that Make-A-Wish grants can be game chang­ing, and pro­vide hope and strength for the child. These wishes change the lives of not only the child who received the wish, but the lives of every­one who was involved in mak­ing the wish a reality.

We are hum­bled by the gen­eros­ity of Dutch Bros. and the com­mu­nity,” said Laila Cook, Make-A-Wish Oregon CEO. “This dona­tion will make wishes come true for so many kids in our com­mu­nity and will impact our abil­ity to grant a wish for every eli­gi­ble local child – bring­ing joy to them at a time when they need it most. “

Over the years, Dutch Bros. has been involved with many wishes: whether it is donat­ing funds to grant wishes or show­ing up, in full Dutch Bros. force, to sup­port the child’s wish, Dutch Bros. is there to help pro­vide joy.

Drink One for Dane, our Partnerships with the Knight Cancer Institute and with Make-A-Make are just a few ways Dutch Bros. is able to sup­port and impact com­mu­ni­ties. Dutch Bros. is always look­ing to ways to sup­port the con­tin­ued research and treat­ments, as well as par­tic­i­pate in events that cre­ate aware­ness and funds to sup­port ser­vices and research. Whether it is company-wide events or indi­vid­ual fran­chisees hold­ing pro­ceeds days – Dutch Bros. strives to pro­vide strength, hope, joy, and sup­port to those who are affected.

Dutch Bros. might sell cof­fee, but they are in the busi­ness of rela­tion­ships and pos­i­tively impact­ing the com­mu­ni­ties and peo­ple that mean the world to them.

Scholarships in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Three year stu­dent schol­ar­ship in Nicaragua at La Bastille Technical Agricultural School in Jinotega, Nicaragua

Cup for Education pro­vides edu­ca­tional infra­struc­tures, mate­ri­als, and resources to cof­fee grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Through var­i­ous part­ner­ships with local lead­ers, edu­ca­tors, and orga­ni­za­tions, Cup for Education seeks to improve the over­all well-being of cof­fee farm­ers and their chil­dren through edu­ca­tion. We believe edu­ca­tion is the foun­da­tion for a bet­ter and brighter future for all the chil­dren in cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties around the world.

Local, well-supplied, edu­ca­tional facil­i­ties are absolutely cru­cial to rural cof­fee com­mu­ni­ties. The time and money needed to travel to nearby towns and larger cities in order to learn are sim­ply unavail­able, and poor infra­struc­ture in many of these remote areas make it very dif­fi­cult to do so. When edu­ca­tion is not eas­ily accessed, it leads to frus­tra­tion and a con­tin­ued cycle of illit­er­acy. When edu­ca­tion is close to home, both farm­ers and their chil­dren ben­e­fit eco­nom­i­cally and socially. Since 2003, Cup for Education has com­pleted a series of diverse projects that tar­get each community’s spe­cific needs. Whether it is build­ing latrines in Kenya, sup­port­ing women’s lit­er­acy projects in Papua New Guinea, pro­vid­ing new desks for chil­dren in Nicaragua, or pro­vid­ing mate­ri­als and fund­ing for library sup­port in var­i­ous parts of Guatemala to pro­mote read­ing and lit­er­acy; Cup for Education val­ues all aspects of the edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence and aims to improve what­ever the com­mu­nity feels is most urgent or necessary.

One of our most recent suc­cess sto­ries is Juana Rosa, from Nicaragua. Juana was cho­sen to receive a three-year long schol­ar­ship to attend the La Bastille Technical Agricultural School in Jinotega, Nicaragua. This school is based on a cof­fee estate, in an area where only 20% of young peo­ple cur­rently attend sec­ondary school. Along with pro­vid­ing an aca­d­e­mic edu­ca­tion, the school also teaches a tech­ni­cal diploma in agro-business and runs seven school busi­nesses. The busi­nesses include chicken and egg pro­duc­tion, as well as a dairy plant, pigs, a veg­etable gar­den, and an Ecolodge & restau­rant where it is pos­si­ble to hike and bird­watch. Graduates from the school leave with an edu­ca­tion, job offers, and finan­cial skills to sup­port their fam­i­lies. The schol­ar­ship money paid for her tuition, books, and dor­mi­tory expenses. We are proud to say that Juana was one of the top stu­dents in her class, mak­ing a speech at the grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony. Upon grad­u­a­tion this past December 2014, Juana received a job work­ing in Costa Rica for Coffee Source, renown cof­fee grow­ers and now importers/exporters for the past 15 years. One of her first respon­si­bil­i­ties was work­ing as a cup­ping assis­tant at the Costa Rican Cup of Excellence.

Furthermore, Cup has already selected another wor­thy stu­dent from the region to receive a schol­ar­ship to the school for the next three years. The stu­dent was selected from among a list of many wor­thy can­di­dates from the cof­fee area in Jinotega, and it is our hope to be able to sup­port more than one stu­dent some­day. The school is one of the best oppor­tu­ni­ties for these chil­dren in the cof­fee regions of Nicaragua to achieve skills and edu­ca­tion that will allow them to break the cycle of poverty that is so preva­lent among cof­fee farmers.

Ultimately, Cup for Education strives to aug­ment the qual­ity of life and edu­ca­tion in coffee-growing regions. This begins with edu­ca­tion. Literate and well-educated chil­dren will improve their lives, those of their fam­i­lies, and ulti­mately, their coffees.

What You Can Do to Help
One of the best ways to help Cup for Education is to sign up for e-mail updates, “like” us on face book for the most up-to-date pic­tures from projects, and share our mis­sion with friends and fam­ily.  Of course, we wel­come dona­tions in the form of money or mate­ri­als.  Most of us involved with Cup for Education work in cof­fee and travel to these com­mu­ni­ties quite fre­quently through­out the year on busi­ness.  Often we bring books and school sup­plies for schools located in and around these com­mu­ni­ties.  We rec­om­mend these books be in Spanish, or bi-lingual.

Cup for Education

Project Contact:
Karen Gordon


3475 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314

Project URL:

Santa Elena Kids and Families in Coffee

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
We con­tinue to build rela­tion­ships with many won­der­ful peo­ple in Costa Rica at the Santa Elena Coffee Farm: Jim and Luz Marina Stuart, all of the fine per­son­nel of their farm and ben­efi­cio, and the many return­ing migrant and local cof­fee pick­ers. It was nice to see many of the same faces return to say “Hi” and “thank you for help­ing.” Cindy Elliott, the med­ical provider and founder of the trip, along with hus­band Todd Elliott, orga­nizer and cof­fee ser­vice owner, plan to con­tinue this trip annu­ally. We had second-year vet­eran vol­un­teers: Patricia and Kelvin Dasher; Jason and Andrew Marsden of Tucson, AZ; as well as Sara, and Britta Diefenbach from Hershey, PA. First-year vol­un­teers included: Cailyn Bunce from Denver, CO; and Veanna Oldaker from Tucson, AZ; and fund-raiser and pho­tog­ra­pher Kerri Goodman. During the trip, the vol­un­teer group was able to treat approx­i­mately two hun­dred men, women, and chil­dren in the fields of the Santa Elena cof­fee farm. Jason acted as the on site dis­pen­sary assist­ing Cindy as she used med­ica­tions for pro­ce­dures and pre­scrip­tions. Sara was our 2015 pho­tog­ra­pher. Andrew and Veana helped set up and tear down camp at each site. Kelvin and Todd coör­di­nated, trans­ported, and nav­i­gated. Patricia served as our inter­preter and cul­tural attaché. Financial sup­port came from: Pat Hagerty and Vistar dis­trib­ut­ing, Todd and Cindy Elliott, Tom and Sandra Elliott, Tomdra Vending and Coffee, Abundant Health Family Practice, Stu Kaner, Thom Depaola, Coding con­tin­uüm Inc., and Carolyn Moore.

This trip has allowed us as Coffee entre­pre­neurs, major cof­fee drinkers, and human beings to give back to those who work so hard every day in the fields of Santa Elena Coffee farm hand-picking every bean. We have been able to take care of the peo­ple by meet­ing some of their very basic med­ical needs. We were also able to do some more advanced care such as joint injec­tions, minor sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures for skin infec­tions, pro­vide edu­ca­tion about health and fam­ily plan­ning, all while car­ing for each per­son with love and respect.

Readers can help by
Helping us to care for Santa Elena cof­fee pick­ers by sup­port­ing this annual trip finan­cially and through prayer.

How to Donate:
1.     Go to
2.     Choose the drop down menu “Giving” and Choose “Give Now No Registration”
3.     Give to: choose Missions and then use the sub-category Costa Rica.
4.     Finish the rest of the form for pay­ment type, then review and com­plete.
All funds are tax deductible, and a year-end giv­ing state­ment can be pro­vided.
If you pre­fer to mail a check mark com­ments “for Costa Rica Missions” and send check to:
Alive church 9662 N La Cholla Blvd Tucson, AZ 85742
If you have any ques­tions please call Cindy Elliott at 520−869−1232 (cell) or 520−326−1457 (work).

Project Contact:
Cynthia Elliott



United States, Santa Elena Coffee Farm

Project Impact:
Benefiting migrant cof­fee pick­ers and the fam­i­lies of Santa Elena Coffee Farm in Costa Rica.

Bridging Agricultural Communities to Sustainability in Nicaragua

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
In the rugged hills of rural Nicaragua, Agros International part­ners with agri­cul­tural fam­i­lies to build com­mu­ni­ties that empower them to change their lives. Agros helps peo­ple gain the exper­tise and expe­ri­ence they need to free them­selves from exploita­tion and grow thriv­ing agri­cul­tural busi­nesses by pro­vid­ing train­ing in busi­ness, agri­cul­ture, and finance, and pro­vid­ing access to hous­ing, health care, san­i­ta­tion and clean water.

We invest from day one in devel­op­ing lead­er­ship and own­er­ship among part­ner fam­i­lies with the inten­tion that in 8 to 10 years the com­mu­nity will be fully self-sustainable. Families are offered the trans­for­ma­tional oppor­tu­nity to become landown­ers, earn­ing the title to the land on which they live by pay­ing off a care­fully per­son­al­ized loan. Children who may have been sick due to lack of health care have access to doc­tors and edu­ca­tion. Mothers receive pre­na­tal care and nutri­tional train­ing. Subsistence farm­ing makes way for robust, market-driven crop production.

This year in Nicaragua, Agros launches our first regional project that bridges our tra­di­tional vil­lage model to regional impact in agri­cul­tural and health train­ing, san­i­ta­tion, and more. Over the esti­mated 8-year life of the project, we will work with approx­i­mately 800 fam­i­lies to strengthen agri­cul­tural knowl­edge and pro­duc­tion, fam­ily health and nutri­tion, and mar­ket knowl­edge and access. In 2015, we wel­comed the first 50 fam­i­lies onto the land where they will live and build their new farm­ing busi­nesses. Concurrently, we will also con­tinue our out­reach to regional fam­i­lies by pro­vid­ing train­ing in agri­cul­ture, nutri­tion, and health.

“I’ve always been a fighter,” says Rosario, a farmer and entre­pre­neur in Tierra Nueva, Nicaragua, and sin­gle mother of three.

Hard work is noth­ing new to Rosario, who began work­ing full-time in the fields as a day laborer with her father at age 17. Before mov­ing to Tierra Nueva, Rosario worked along­side men, har­vest­ing cof­fee and cut­ting weeds with a machete. It was a hard way to earn a liv­ing for her three children.

When the oppor­tu­nity arose to work with Agros, Rosario didn’t hes­i­tate. She imme­di­ately noticed that there were no stores in the com­mu­nity, so she decided to take a risk: she invested all of her sav­ings in a small store that she runs from her home.

The store is not Rosario’s only hope for the future. She is also invest­ing in future cof­fee har­vests. “I’m try­ing to fill my land with cof­fee plants,” she says, know­ing cof­fee often pro­duces a higher return than other tra­di­tional crops like corn and beans.

Like many part­ners in Tierra Nueva, Rosario would never have dared to try to plant cof­fee with­out the tech­ni­cal and phys­i­cal sup­port of Agros’ agri­cul­tural staff. “Agros has helped us a lot,” she says. “They have helped us with the mate­ri­als, helped us know how to have bet­ter har­vests. Through their tech­ni­cal sup­port, we have had bet­ter har­vests and more earnings.”

With Rosario, we invite you to join us on this incred­i­ble jour­ney of empow­er­ment and transformation.

Readers can help by
Tierras de Vida Annual Dinner: We invite indi­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions to spon­sor a table at our annual fundrais­ing event, Tierras de Vida. Email us at to learn more or to become a sponsor.

Direct from the Field Updates and Webinars: We host quar­terly updates near our offices in Seattle, WA. For those not able to attend the events in per­son, we occa­sion­ally host a web-based update. To learn more or attend, email Claire at

One Seed Gift Catalog: Find mean­ing­ful gift ideas that help fam­i­lies in need, such as fluffy chicks or an acre of seed. We’ll send your loved one a per­son­al­ized card inform­ing them of your car­ing gift. One Seed gifts sup­port Agros’ work in Central America. Find your next gift at

Agros International’s work is made pos­si­ble through dona­tions from indi­vid­u­als, foun­da­tions, and cor­po­ra­tions who sup­port our mis­sion to end poverty. Visit us on the web: Find us on Facebook: Contact a Philanthropy Services Officer for a per­sonal intro­duc­tion:

Project Contact:
Christa Countryman



Project URL:

Nicaragua, Matagalpa Region

Project Impact:
Over the esti­mated 8-year life of the project, we will work with approx­i­mately 800 fam­i­lies (5,000 peo­ple) to strengthen agri­cul­tural knowl­edge and pro­duc­tion, fam­ily health and nutri­tion, and mar­ket knowl­edge and access.

Bolaven Farms Crop Share Training Program

Categories: 2015, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Bolaven Farms is a fully inte­grated cof­fee busi­ness with a mis­sion of bet­ter­ing the lives of farm­ers on the Bolaven Plateau in south­ern Laos. Bolaven Farms pro­vides a two-year crop-share train­ing pro­gram to 33 agrar­ian fam­i­lies where farm­ers plot 7,500 cof­fee trees and receive on-the-job train­ing, plus a gen­er­ous crop-share of 36 per­cent. Following the com­ple­tion of their first year in the pro­gram, farm­ers buy land and qual­ify to stay on for a sec­ond year, ensur­ing cof­fee seedlings are planted dur­ing the wet season.

Bolaven Farms also serves as the unof­fi­cial coöper­a­tive proces­sor for cof­fee vil­lages. Instead of farm­ers dry­ing cof­fee cher­ries poorly, which results in aver­age tast­ing cof­fee, Bolaven Farms buys cof­fee cher­ries equiv­a­lent to green cof­fee price, essen­tially per­form­ing the task of pro­cess­ing cof­fee free of charge. Bolaven Farms also stands in as the exten­sion agron­o­mist for the vil­lages through­out the year to trans­fer tech­ni­cal know-how and train­ing in best farm­ing practices.

Bolaven Farms works with small­holder farm­ers, empow­er­ing their indi­vid­ual rights and pro­vid­ing a path­way to inde­pen­dence. The cof­fee com­pany firmly believes that farm­ers should be rewarded with dig­ni­fied and liv­ing pay­ments for their crops. Bolaven Farms, through its crop-share pro­gram and unique empow­er­ment model, intro­duces proven tech­nolo­gies to improve pro­duc­tiv­ity, eco­nom­ics and over­all well-being for the farm­ing communities.

Readers can help by
To learn more about Bolaven Farms, visit its web­site at Readers can help bol­ster the impact of its crop-share pro­gram by encour­ag­ing their favorite quick-serve restau­rant or fast, casual restau­rant to carry Bolaven Farms cof­fee. Restaurants can con­tact Bolaven Farms through its web­site or by email­ing

Project Contact:
Sam Say


(852) 2898 0398

Project URL:

Laos, Bolaven Plateau in south­ern Laos

Project Impact:
By sow­ing seeds of hope, Bolaven Farms pro­vides tan­gi­ble oppor­tu­nity for farm­ers through its crop-share train­ing pro­gram. Through the pro­gram, impov­er­ished farm­ers are pro­vided attain­able avenues to a bet­ter life. Meanwhile, the impact is seen in higher pro­duc­tiv­ity; improved cup qual­ity; and hope for a bet­ter, sus­tain­able future for the mem­bers of the farm­ing communities.

© Copyright - CoffeeTalk