Tag Archive for: United States

by Linda Smithers

The Voice

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Thank you Kerri for the invi­ta­tion to dream about our indus­try and hope­fully pro­vide some food for thought for other CoffeeTalk readers.

I have elected to focus on my vision on increas­ing the appre­ci­a­tion and con­sump­tion of cof­fee in North America.  For the 25 plus years that I have been in the indus­try, the topic of the con­sumer man­ages to find its way to the table on a reg­u­lar basis.

Who would ben­e­fit from such an ini­tia­tive?  The answer is very sim­ple, all of the stake­hold­ers in the cof­fee chain, from pro­duc­ers to retail­ers. You may ask your­self, if a consumer-focused pro­gram would ben­e­fit the entire cof­fee chain, why isn’t there such a program?

Some of the bar­ri­ers to a consumer-focused pro­gram are: pro­gram own­er­ship, man­age­ment, scope, fear that one com­pany would ben­e­fit more than another, cost, and how to pay for the program.

In order to cre­ate a North American consumer-focused cof­fee mar­ket­ing pro­gram, it is help­ful to eval­u­ate other suc­cess­ful indus­try mar­ket­ing programs.

One of the most inter­na­tion­ally suc­cess­ful mod­els of a con­sumer mar­ket­ing comes from within our indus­try. The Colombian Coffee Federation’s Juan Valdez pro­gram was able to impact the cof­fee buy­ing habit of mil­lions, if not bil­lions, of con­sumers.  This was a focused ini­tia­tive to cre­ate recog­ni­tion of the entire country’s cof­fee pro­duc­tion. The impact of their adver­tis­ing has lived long after they dis­con­tin­ued the tele­vi­sion and sports venue advertising.

The California wine indus­try has faced com­pli­ca­tions with wine buy­ers who thought that good qual­ity wine came only from France.  The California Wine Association was formed, and they addressed the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing aware­ness of the fine qual­ity wines pro­duced in the state of California.  The suc­cess of their pro­gram can be seen on menus through­out the United States and around the world.

The suc­cess of Fair Trade/Trans Fair and its grass roots ini­ta­tive to get the con­sumer to pur­chase cof­fees far above mar­ket price is amaz­ing.  Unlike the pre­vi­ous two exam­ples, Fair Trade’s pri­mary goal was to increase the money being returned to the cof­fee pro­ducer dur­ing an extremely low mar­ket.  An unex­pected ben­e­fit was the increased aware­ness of cof­fee pro­duc­tion and poten­tially increased con­sump­tion.  The con­sumer demanded Fair Trade cof­fee after the pro­gram was launched.

These exam­ples of con­sumer mar­ket­ing by indus­try groups are a few of the many mod­els we have to help guide this impor­tant effort.  I would be remiss if two other con­sumer mar­ket­ing mod­els were not men­tioned.  The efforts of The Roaster Association in Norway and ABIC of Sao Paulo, Brazil, both indus­try groups, devel­oped focused pro­grams to increase con­sump­tion in their coun­tries. The results were amaz­ing.  You can read more about both on the Internet.

A com­mon thread of suc­cess­ful indus­try con­sumer mar­ket­ing is that the cam­paigns have a sin­gle focused mes­sage about a prod­uct or ser­vice.  They are clear and uncom­pli­cated, and all of the stake­hold­ers ben­e­fit from the mar­ket­ing.  The pro­gram makes for more poten­tial buy­ers.  Individual com­pa­nies are still respon­si­ble for mar­ket­ing their com­pany, prod­ucts, and services.

My vision is to form a work­ing group of lead­ers ded­i­cated to devel­op­ing a plan for a con­sumer mar­ket­ing pro­gram for North America.  Every cof­fee asso­ci­a­tion in North America should be invited to the table.  An increased aware­ness and con­sump­tion of cof­fee will ben­e­fit the largest and the small­est of our importers/brokers, roast­ers, and retail­ers.  The pro­ducer will have more oppor­tu­nity for sales at all lev­els of quality.

I believe a sim­ple cam­paign, such as Got Milk, could be exe­cuted using the Internet and print media.   My vision is to cre­ate a pro­gram that would add a total of no more than $0.015 per pound of cof­fee imported to North America.

I believe cre­at­ing an I Love Coffee, Drink Coffee, Got Coffee cam­paign is long over­due and doable!

Linda Smithers has been in the cof­fee indus­try for 25 years.  She began her cof­fee career as a roaster retailer in Akron, Ohio.  She has served on the Board of Directors for SCAA, chaired sev­eral com­mit­tees, and was the Association President in 1997–98, IWCA, Ground for Health.  Linda has pre­sented at more than 90 indus­try meet­ings and con­ven­tions about the world, works with Rainforest Alliance’s Cupping for Quality, and is an avid and skilled cup­per. Currently, Linda is work­ing Daterra Coffee, BR and respon­si­ble for mar­ket­ing in North America.

NAMA Emerging Leaders">NAMA Emerging Leaders

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

There is a cer­tain pos­i­tive spark that can be gen­er­ated when you bring new tech­nol­ogy and old wis­dom together in the same place at the same time. A spark that can rev­o­lu­tion­ize some­thing that is already good and makes it bril­liant. A spark that can take some­thing that may be so small but flour­ishes it into some­thing worth brag­ging about.

It is a pow­er­ful con­nec­tion that needs to be made across the board in all pro­fes­sions and in all indus­tries. However, The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has already taken that first step into the right direc­tion toward cre­at­ing this spark.

CoffeeTalk is intro­duc­ing a new series of arti­cles for the 2014 year! They will fea­ture the NAMA Emerging Leaders Network  (ELN) that was launched in July of 2013. This group of indi­vid­u­als in the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices indus­try is a great exam­ple of the spark of change that needs to be instilled. They have the tools nec­es­sary to allow the vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices indus­try to con­tinue to grow for many years to come.

Bridge the Generation Gap
NAMA rec­og­nized that there is a gen­er­a­tion gap in their indus­try. It is inevitable that when indus­try vet­er­ans retire, in any indus­try, that some­one else is going to have to step up and take over. However, how will this be pos­si­ble for the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of that indus­try if the emerg­ing indus­try lead­ers are not edu­cated on the same level as the ones who are retir­ing or mov­ing on?

Education is key for this solu­tion. A group, like the NAMA ELN, allows for a col­lab­o­ra­tion that is essen­tial for the suc­cess­ful oper­a­tions of the indus­try. New ideas from the next gen­er­a­tion of indus­try lead­ers allows for a spark of trans­for­ma­tion to be instilled to the ever chang­ing econ­omy and con­stant flow of dif­fer­ent and inno­v­a­tive trends that are evolv­ing every day. How can one progress and move for­ward when they are stuck in old rou­tines and not simul­ta­ne­ously mov­ing for­ward with the econ­omy and world around it?

It’s a Give and Take Relationship
The emerg­ing lead­ers and the indus­try vet­er­ans each have some­thing that the other wants. The emerg­ing lead­ers grew up in a time period jam-packed with var­i­ous kinds of tech­nolo­gies every­where they turn. Technologies today that are becom­ing more and more preva­lent in sales and mar­ket­ing, like social media for exam­ple. The indus­try vet­er­ans have the many years of expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge needed to fur­ther the life of an industry.

You see, while the two gen­er­a­tions stand­ing alone may oper­ate suit­ably for now, when you put them together and allow them to work together, it bet­ters not only both of the gen­er­a­tions, but the indus­try as a whole as well. An indus­try can­not thrive on one of these areas alone. Technology and indus­try tra­di­tions must be pieced together to advance. The tools that these two groups pos­sess will gen­er­ate greater prof­its when used together, than when used separately.

About the Emerging Leaders Network
The ELN holds meet­ings at the var­i­ous indus­try con­fer­ences around the United States. They are able to col­lab­o­rate together at these meet­ings even though they may live many states apart. They uti­lize their LinkedIn page that gives updates about the group in a mat­ter of min­utes. LinkedIn is used to fun­nel issues and keep up with changes and con­cerns that come up on a daily basis. The more you get involved the more valu­able you become to the group.

Membership in NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network pro­vides younger vend­ing and refresh­ment ser­vices exec­u­tives an oppor­tu­nity to net­work with other NAMA mem­bers and influ­en­tial indus­try lead­ers,” said Paul Tullio of Gourmet Coffee Service in Anaheim, CA, and chair of the group. “It gives the next gen­er­a­tion of indus­try lead­ers a plat­form to express their ideas and vision for the future of the industry.”

There are cur­rently about 100 active mem­bers, and the num­bers are grow­ing. To be a mem­ber, you must be an already-existing mem­ber of NAMA and of the age of 40 or younger. These mem­ber­ships are avail­able at no cost. You can con­tact Roni Moore at NAMA or Paul Tullio for more infor­ma­tion on how to become a member.

Be the Spark in your Industry
We under­stand that many of our read­ers are in the cof­fee and tea indus­try; how­ever, it is impor­tant to high­light this NAMA ELN group and learn from them. Roasters, retail­ers, grow­ers, and even ser­vice providers can learn from the ELN. If an indus­try wants to con­tinue on, it must take the nec­es­sary steps to build up and bet­ter itself. Now, I’m not say­ing that it is going to be easy, and if I did, I would be lying; how­ever, doesn’t the say­ing go: “noth­ing worth hav­ing in life comes easy”?

The Emerging Leaders Network has started the spark to change their indus­try, but what about you? How are you going to bridge the gap in your indus­try? Have you thought about who is going to take over after you retire? Did you con­sider what pieces of knowl­edge that you want to pass down? Be inspired, be proac­tive, and be that spark to change your industry.

Stay tuned for future arti­cles about the NAMA ELN. Learn from them how to be a part of the change that you want to see in your pas­sion and profession.

The Last Mile

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

As cliché as it may sound, cof­fee is in my blood.   Some of my ear­li­est and warmest mem­o­ries are of my grandmother’s kitchen, a well-worn moka pot gen­tly bub­bling (which I would later dis­cover isn’t a good thing!) on the stove, fill­ing the room with rich and famil­iar aro­mas.  My mother Silva worked her entire career in qual­ity con­trol at illy Caffé’s head­quar­ters in Trieste, the Adriatic port city in north­east­ern Italy where cof­fee first entered Europe in the 16th cen­tury.  Coffee was all around me, and I loved it.  Therefore, becom­ing a barista was the nat­ural thing to do, and a deci­sion that pays rewards every sin­gle day; with every stu­dent who learns to cre­ate that per­fect espresso, rich crema beau­ti­fully intact, and every smile on the faces of cof­fee lovers, their tongues painted with a lit­tle some­thing that brings pure pleasure.

I was hon­ored when the owner of CoffeeTalk invited me to con­tribute a recur­ring col­umn that gives the barista’s point of view on our indus­try.   This kind of reg­u­lar voice is vital in America; where baris­tas don’t enjoy the pro­fes­sional stand­ing that baristi do in my home coun­try, even though they have become a part of every­day life, every­where, from cut­ting edge down­towns to sub­ur­ban malls.

I’ve spent almost four years as illy’s Master Barista for North America. The expe­ri­ence has been ener­giz­ing.  For one, I’ve gained immense appre­ci­a­tion and respect for the pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity of baris­tas, café own­ers, hos­pi­tal­ity exec­u­tives, and oth­ers who make up the cof­fee pro­fes­sion in this coun­try.  There is an incred­i­ble desire to learn, inno­vate, delight, and take the craft of cof­fee to a higher place.  It is a spirit that is last felt in my coun­try in the 1930s and 1940s, when Italian-engineered refine­ments to espresso mak­ing (some pio­neered by my company’s founder, Francesco Illy) gave rise to an era of rapid inno­va­tion and growth.  You can find excel­lent cof­fee through­out much of Italy, a kind of birthright, like great burg­ers here in the United States, but you don’t find the energy that comes with, what might be called, the “young adult­hood” phase that cof­fee in the U.S. is in today.

Illy brought me to the U.S. for rea­sons that explain this column’s title: mak­ing sure that our coffee’s very last, most crit­i­cal, trans­for­ma­tional steps are han­dled prop­erly.   My com­pany is mani­a­cal (in the best of ways) about opti­miz­ing qual­ity at every link along the cof­fee chain.  We pur­chase beans directly from farm­ers on four con­ti­nents who meet our high stan­dards for qual­ity, many of whom we edu­cate on sus­tain­able agro­nom­i­cal and busi­ness prac­tices; teach and finan­cially sup­port ecologically-responsible pro­cess­ing, like the semi-washed method that we helped revive; roast and per­form more than 100 qual­ity checks at our one plant in Trieste; and pack­age our cof­fee with inert gas to pro­long its freshness.

But none of it is any good if prepa­ra­tion is sub­par, if that last mile isn’t walked in the right shoes.  My main mis­sion is to spread barista best prac­tices, if you will, to make sure that every whole bean ground, every shot pulled, every Chemex poured, and every cof­fee drink cre­ated does jus­tice to every step that came before and cre­ates plea­sure in the cup.  I spend about half of my days on the road, vis­it­ing illy accounts of all vari­eties, from major resorts to cor­ner cafes, diag­nos­ing equip­ment, gaug­ing knowl­edge, con­duct­ing on-site train­ing, and teach­ing cof­fee bev­er­age cre­ation that con­nects the dots from what hap­pens at the farm to the cup right in front of us.  The idea is to pro­vide a big­ger pic­ture of the under­stand­ing of cof­fee that puts into con­text every detail and action behind the bar, and indeed help baris­tas, man­agers, and own­ers see why no detail is too small.

My goal is to bring that phi­los­o­phy to life in ways that mat­ter for loyal read­ers of CoffeeTalk.  Whether you are a roaster, an equip­ment man­u­fac­turer, logis­ti­cian, dis­trib­u­tor, or café owner, I hope that see­ing the world through a barista’s eye can help inform deci­sion mak­ing, inspire inno­va­tion, or sim­ply pro­vide an occa­sional thought worth clip­ping and keeping.

Topics will be as wide-ranging as cof­fee itself.   One issue may bring prac­ti­cal advice on prin­ci­ples of bev­er­age cre­ation; the next, could be a bigger-picture take on the indus­try itself.   I’ll write about dynamic baris­tas and other pro­fes­sion­als that I meet on the road and at home in New York, with inspir­ing sto­ries to share.  And I won’t shy away from tak­ing a stand.  (Sneak pre­view: play­ing around with the clas­sic for­mula for espresso prepa­ra­tion: not always a good idea!)

I look for­ward to your com­ments and opin­ions, and I invite you to fol­low me on Twitter (@Giorgio_Milos) and at

Giorgio Milos is illy’s award-winning Master Barista and illy’s North American Barista in Residence who reg­u­larly ven­tures beyond the cup to study the biol­ogy and chem­istry of the cof­fee bean, con­tin­u­ally striv­ing to mas­ter the bev­er­age that is his pas­sion and profession.

Retailer/Roaster Profile

Categories: 2013, SeptemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Hola folks! This is some­thing that may have never been thought about before – roast­ing cof­fee with wood! However, there are a hand­ful of roast­ers in the United States who do just that with incred­i­ble results. One of them is Tim Curry, the owner of Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company. We have talked to him to find out what is up with all that wood in his back yard:

V. Hi Tim! How did you get into the cof­fee indus­try?
C. Well, twelve years ago, I found myself under­em­ployed. I was a man­ager in a restau­rant and one day I was cut back. So I started think­ing about what the future held, and I began research­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of open­ing an espresso bar. In that research, I had to learn about what hap­pened to the cof­fee prior to it arriv­ing in the shop. I started read­ing about roast­ing, and found myself intrigued with it. When I finally was able to start my busi­ness, due to lim­ited fund­ing I had to choose only one direc­tion – espresso bar or roast­ing. I opted to go with roast­ing. That is pretty much how it all got started.

V. Now I guess the most impor­tant ques­tion of all: Why wood?
C. I wanted to roast with wood just because it is so uncom­mon in the United States. I also thought it was a very good match for the com­mu­nity where I live in. Even though it is a larger met­ro­pol­i­tan area now, Reno is a very tra­di­tional com­mu­nity with a Western atmos­phere. So I had this vision that a wood roasted cof­fee would be a great match for this envi­ron­ment. After I decided that roast­ing was the way to go for me, I started shop­ping for a com­mer­cial roaster that would roast with wood. Believe me, that is hard work. It took me almost a year and a half to find the proper roaster. In the begin­ning I was roast­ing with a two-pound char­coal roaster. Doing that, I started to get some peo­ple more inter­ested in my cof­fee, got some small restau­rant accounts, and got my prod­uct out there in the mar­ket. Then I finally located my cur­rent roaster – a 15 kilo, Italian made roaster designed to roast with wood or nat­ural gas. I had that roaster installed and have been oper­at­ing it in this loca­tion for the past eleven years.

V.  How dif­fer­ent is roast­ing with wood com­pared to tra­di­tional fuel sources?
C. Roasting with wood is a trick­ier way to roast. The heat source is incon­sis­tent, so I have to be more in touch with what is going on with the roast­ing process at every step and mak­ing sure it is prop­erly fueled. As far as pro­file dif­fer­ences that I am able to see, the acid­ity tends to be a lit­tle bit more muted in the wood roasted cof­fee, so you get all the char­ac­ter pro­files for each region it comes from with a bit of a rounder, mouth­ful, bolder cup of coffee.

V. Do you require a large amount of wood for your pro­duc­tion and what is your roaster’s make?
C. Actually, my roaster is very effi­cient. For exam­ple, last year I roasted about 20,000 pounds of cof­fee, and I used only about 2 cords of wood. As far as the com­pany that made my roaster, I don’t think they are in busi­ness any­more, but it is called Ealestra and it was man­u­fac­tured in Italy. It is a stan­dard drum 15 kilo roaster. I have had almost no prob­lems with it in the last 11 years and it is a great look­ing machine.

V. Does your unique oper­a­tion cause any gov­ern­ment super­vi­sion?
C. I am con­stantly mon­i­tored by our local air qual­ity man­age­ment divi­sion of the Health Department. They do their annual inspec­tions, so I have to mon­i­tor the air qual­ity on the reg­u­lar basis. If you would like to roast with wood, my rec­om­men­da­tion is to make sure that your roaster is in a very low-density pop­u­la­tion area, and that is what I have. I have an air­port on one side of me and a farm on the other, so it works out.

V. Is there some­thing you would like to address to our busi­ness own­ers and the pub­lic in gen­eral?
C. Absolutely. Know your mar­ket, know what peo­ple want in advance and be ready to adjust and accom­mo­date. I have started out with five cof­fees of ori­gin and about four dif­fer­ent blends and over the years I have had requests to do other things, and I’ve worked many of these requests as best as I could. In a short time, I have risen to 16 dif­fer­ent cof­fees of ori­gins, dozens of blends, and 30 dif­fer­ent cof­fee pro­files with cof­fees from all over the world.
Also, what I have expe­ri­enced recently is that there are an awful lot of cof­fee drink­ing peo­ple out there who go out to restau­rants and cof­fee­houses who are so trained to drink poorly roasted, poorly stored, and poorly brewed cof­fee that they don’t even com­ment any­more that the qual­ity isn’t to their sat­is­fac­tion. They just expect to have a bad cup of cof­fee, as opposed to telling a man­age­ment, “Hey your cof­fee is really lousy, you could use some help with it”. If peo­ple that are serv­ing bad cof­fee aren’t get­ting that mes­sage, this is some­thing that slows the progress of our industry.

Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company

30 Ohm Place #2
Reno NV 89502
(775) 856‑2033
Tim Curry

A Tool for Every Climatic Hazard

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

c and c 3Project Description
Changes in the cli­mate are no secret to the cof­fee indus­try. Around the world cof­fee farm­ers are strug­gling to keep their crops and make the par­al­leled tran­si­tion with the cli­mate. From fun­gus on the plant’s leaves to com­plete crop destruc­tion, farm­ers con­tinue to scuf­fle with Mother Nature.

Coffee & Climate, whose motto is, “enabling effec­tive response” launched their ‘tool­box’ ini­tia­tive in February of 2013.  Project Manager, Mike Adler, is invit­ing us all to help spark this global and col­lab­o­ra­tive learn­ing process. It is aimed to help cof­fee farm­ers adapt suc­cess­fully to cli­mate change.

According to their web­site,, “The c&c tool­box is a com­pi­la­tion of guide­lines, train­ing mate­ri­als and other didac­tic mate­r­ial to inform, capac­i­tate and empower farm­ers to cope with and adapt to cli­mate change. It addresses the lack of sys­tem­at­i­cally doc­u­mented infor­ma­tion and shared knowl­edge on good adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion prac­tices in the cof­fee sector.”

The main pur­pose of the tool­box is to ini­ti­ate a col­lab­o­ra­tive and global learn­ing process by col­lec­tion, eval­u­a­tion, and the fur­ther devel­op­ment of prac­tice and expe­ri­ence from the cof­fee fields.

References and rec­om­men­da­tions will be made avail­able to bring to the field with the assis­tance of pre­ex­ist­ing farmer know-how and knowl­edge. Via the web, tools and instru­ments nec­es­sary to aid farm­ers are becom­ing read­ily avail­able. This includes a global knowledge-sharing plat­form that will at some point in the future become the cli­mate change infor­ma­tion hub for the cof­fee sector.

The web­site states, “The objec­tive is to share, col­lect and con­sol­i­date knowl­edge and expe­ri­ences on cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion, to sup­port adop­tion and imple­men­ta­tion efforts and to stim­u­late inter­ac­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion between sci­en­tific research and imple­men­ta­tion in the field. This tool­box is the tool needed to close infor­ma­tion gaps but bring­ing together indi­vid­u­als of dif­fer­ent lev­els of knowl­edge, exper­tise, imple­men­ta­tion, and loca­tion to share their per­sonal expe­ri­ences and infor­ma­tion that oth­ers may or may not have.”

The frame­work is designed to instill change for cof­fee farm­ers everywhere.

It all begins with risk assess­ment of cli­matic risks. Then reeval­u­a­tion of tool util­ity is done through experts. Collaboratively, responses are iden­ti­fied and then imple­mented to the area in need. Monitoring of the process is done, accom­pa­nied by an eval­u­a­tion of the effec­tive­ness. Case stud­ies are then gen­er­ated for fur­ther knowl­edge and ref­er­ences for cases to come.

A sin­gle solu­tion that is suc­cess­ful for farm­ers in Brazil may not be the same solu­tion for cof­fee farm­ers in Costa Rica. A locally appro­pri­ate solu­tion must be defined in each des­ig­nated area. It is done though tri­an­gu­la­tion method between farm­ers, local experts, and scientists.

The tool­box wiz­ard is one of the most impor­tant tools within the box. It gen­er­ates infor­ma­tion that is spec­i­fied by rel­e­vance of cri­te­ria to the area one wishes to improve.  Climatic haz­ard, coun­tries, tool type, cof­fee vari­ety, and pur­pose are the five drop down boxes that helps gen­er­ate the infor­ma­tion. After fill­ing out the drop­down menus, results are made avail­able with infor­ma­tion that has been shared.

The amount of infor­ma­tion stored in this tool­box from just a few months past its launch date, is not only impres­sive but the first step toward help­ing farm­ers around the globe with cli­mate changes.

Scientists, farm­ers, experts, and indi­vid­u­als alike must band together to help each other. The cof­fee indus­try, from the United States where cof­fee is widely con­sumed, to farm­ers in Honduras and Guatemala who pro­vide the beans, lend a help­ing hand when­ever possible.

The Coffee & Climate Toolbox ini­tia­tive is a tool that every­one in the cof­fee indus­try should have in their box. Since the cli­mate around the world is con­stantly chang­ing, we must change with it. When a coun­try expe­ri­ences a drought for the first time, this tool­box will be their answer on how to keep afloat. So please, care and share the infor­ma­tion in your box.

Contact name:     Mika Adler
Website: and for the ini­tia­tive:
Location:     Brazil, Trifinio (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras), Tanzania, Vietnam
Phone:     +4949808112422


Fairtrade Access Fund

Categories: 2013, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Project Description
Here in the United States, many pleas­ant things hap­pen over a cup of cof­fee. Books are read, per­sonal sto­ries exchanged, busi­ness deals made, and friend­ships forged.

Around the world, when cir­cum­stances are fair, life-changing things can hap­pen to the peo­ple and fam­i­lies of those who pro­duce the key ingre­di­ent for that cor­ner store latte. A liv­able wage can be earned, invest­ments in com­mu­ni­ties made, and a hard earned oppor­tu­nity can mate­ri­al­ize out of poverty.

Ensuring fair oppor­tu­ni­ties is what the inter­na­tional Fairtrade sys­tem is all about. Fairtrade America, the new orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing the inter­na­tional Fairtrade sys­tem in the United States, is com­mit­ted to help­ing small­holder cof­fee pro­duc­ers around the world to get a fairer price, access to inter­na­tional mar­kets, and gain funds for com­mu­nity devel­op­ment for their prod­uct that will enable them to lead bet­ter lives. While also allow­ing them to invest in their com­mu­ni­ties to improve cir­cum­stances for those around them.

But Fairtrade goes beyond fair trade by work­ing directly with pro­duc­ers to find ways for them to improve and sus­tain their farms and busi­nesses. Producers have always been closely involved in every­thing Fairtrade does, and now pro­duc­ers have equal own­er­ship in the Fairtrade sys­tem. This makes it the only cer­ti­fi­ca­tion orga­ni­za­tion to pio­neer such power-sharing between groups in the north­ern and south­ern hemispheres.

Creating greater oppor­tu­nity for our more than one mil­lion small farm­ers and work­ers is always top of mind. In 2012 we part­nered with Incofin Investment Management and the Grameen Foundation to launch the Fairtrade Access Fund. The goal was to address the long-term financ­ing needs of small­holder farm­ers in devel­op­ing coun­tries. To date, a total of $3.7 mil­lion US dol­lars has been dis­trib­uted to seven coop­er­a­tives in Latin America.

Peruvian cof­fee and cocoa coöper­a­tive COCLA are one of the first recip­i­ents of a Fairtrade Access Fund long-term loan. COCLA received a two and a half year, $370,000 loan to invest in new equip­ment for dry­ing cof­fee and cocoa. With the new machin­ery in place, the coop­er­a­tives’ dry­ing process will increase by five to ten per­cent, qual­ity prod­uct exports will increase by at least five per­cent, and oper­at­ing costs will decrease by five percent.

On a human level, that means bet­ter pro­fes­sional, health, and agri­cul­tural train­ing and edu­ca­tion for COCLA coop­er­a­tives and their mem­bers. It also means there will ulti­mately be more money for improv­ing liv­ing con­di­tions in part­ner pro­duc­tion areas through the imple­men­ta­tion of funded projects devel­oped to improve, main­tain or recon­struct the social infra­struc­ture like roads, bridges, and schools.

Another $350,000 trade finance loan went to Nicaraguan cof­fee coöper­a­tive UCASUMAN, which is located in a par­tic­u­larly impor­tant region that pro­vides up to 60 per­cent of Nicaragua’s national cof­fee pro­duc­tion. The loan will enable UCASUMAN to pur­chase Fairtrade cer­ti­fied har­vested cof­fee from the many smaller coop­er­a­tives that make up UCASUMAN. This means farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties can con­tinue to rely on the jobs and eco­nomic devel­op­ment the coöper­a­tive provides.

Fair Trade AMERICA 2Who Benefits from this Project?
As a result of Fairtrade Access Fund loans, tens of thou­sands of small pro­duc­ers rep­re­sent­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple from cof­fee coop­er­a­tives in Latin American and around the world will be able to achieve a more dig­ni­fied livelihood.

The pre­vi­ously difficult-to-access loans will allow farmer orga­ni­za­tions to invest in projects that will improve farm­ers’ income in the long run, and make a dent in the reported $500 mil­lion they need to cover their financ­ing needs.

By the end of 2013, the Fairtrade Access Fund is expected to grow to $25 mil­lion, and will even­tu­ally expand to Africa and Asia. That rep­re­sents a lot of pleas­ant cups of cof­fee, and a lot of lives pow­er­fully, pos­i­tively changed.

How Can I Help?
The Fairtrade Access Fund is an invest­ment fund with an inter­est in pro­vid­ing small­holder pro­ducer orga­ni­za­tions with access to finance. Companies inter­ested in invest­ing in the Fairtrade Access Fund should con­tact

Programs like the Fairtrade Access Fund aimed at empow­er­ing small­holder farm­ers are only lim­ited by the size of the mar­ket for Fairtrade cer­ti­fied cof­fee and other prod­ucts. There are many ways for oth­ers to get involved as well.

•    Roasters and Retailers – Encourage your sup­pli­ers to pur­chase Fairtrade cer­ti­fied beans and pro­mote the ben­e­fits of fair trade to your customers.

•    Consumers – Choose Fairtrade cof­fee, and ask your favorite roast­ers and mar­kets to carry prod­ucts with the FAIRTRADE Mark.

•    Everyone – Become part of the fair trade move­ment in the United States and help edu­cate con­sumers, retail­ers, and busi­nesses about the impor­tant dif­fer­ence fair trade can make in the lives of small farm­ers and workers.

Learn more about Fairtrade prod­ucts to look for in stores, and about orga­ni­za­tions you can join and sup­port as part of the fair trade move­ment. Visit us at and fol­low us on Twitter and Facebook at FairtradeMarkUS.

Contact Name:     Ann Brown
Web Site:
Location:     Various cof­fee pro­duc­ing coun­tries
Email Address:
Phone Number:     N/A

Sorrow. Anger. Inspiration.

Categories: 2013, MayTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Rocky RhodesIf you are a reg­u­lar reader of CoffeeTalk, you will know that I get a pretty free reign to write about a topic that moves me in the cof­fee world. And usu­ally I try to find a topic that is not some­thing that every­one is talk­ing about and try to do it in a way that might make you think about some­thing new. This will not be the case for this arti­cle how­ever. I am going to write about some­thing that has affected every one of us deeply. I am of course refer­ring to the Boston bombings.

Before I con­tinue, please know that I am writ­ing this in the first per­son because these are MY opin­ions and may or may not reflect those of CoffeeTalk. But again, they are let­ting me write about what I think will move the cof­fee indus­try reader.

There was some­thing else going on in Boston that week­end other than the Marathon. It was of course SCAA’s ‘The Event’ and Symposium. If you were not there, shame on you! It was arguably one of the best con­fer­ences yet. My hats off to the SCAA for con­tin­u­ing to find new ways to engage its mem­ber­ship and pro­vide new and inter­est­ing lev­els to the industry.

Many of you expe­ri­ence the indus­try in the same way as me; The Event is a place where we not only come to learn and do some busi­ness, but a place where we get to see old friends, and dare I say extended fam­ily. At times it takes on a fra­ter­nal feel­ing that tends to deepen the con­nec­tion between us.  This indus­try is like no other in that we desire that every com­pany is suc­cess­ful and are more likely to help a com­peti­tor than see them fail. In the top end of the cof­fee mar­ket, which is where we oper­ate, we know that a ris­ing tide raises all ships.

Our ‘fam­ily’ extends to all ends of the earth. At this con­fer­ence there were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dozens of coun­tries and every con­ti­nent. (Antarctica?) Anyway, our desire to help extends beyond the bor­ders of the United States and into every part of the world that either pro­duces or con­sumes cof­fee, and that is pretty much the whole darn globe.

Our fam­ily, along with every civ­i­lized human being, was attacked on Monday, April 15th, at the Boston Marathon. I was for­tu­nate enough to leave Boston on Sunday night, get­ting back to Los Angeles at about 1am Monday. I was euphor­i­cally exhausted from another great SCAA show. I went about my busi­ness on Monday until I got the news about the attack. Like most peo­ple, I had to stop for a sec­ond to try and make sense out of what was hap­pen­ing. Then the real­iza­tion hit me that a huge num­ber of my cof­fee fam­ily were still in Boston and some were going to the Marathon.

I started send­ing mes­sages to find out if every­one was ok. It took a while, but every­one I knew was there was accounted for and ok. There were a cou­ple of close calls. In par­tic­u­lar, I knew my Kenyan friend Mbula and my Vermont friend Rick were at the race and it turns out they were in prox­im­ity to the bombs. Close enough to hear and feel the explo­sions. When I knew every­one was ok, I fell to my knees and cried.  SORROW for all those dead, injured and traumatized.

After some griev­ing, I was flooded with an emo­tion that I do not enjoy, and don’t expe­ri­ence often; ANGER. I really wanted to lash out at what­ever M*th$rF@#er did this and get some blood. I real­ize that this is a nor­mal reac­tion, although prob­a­bly not the most healthy. But I was to my core will­ing to bring a lit­tle jus­tice down on some­body and I was not con­sid­er­ing the court sys­tem! This feel­ing lasted for a while but it gave way, as it usu­ally does, to the feel­ing of want­ing to do some­thing positive.

I made a deci­sion to chan­nel my neg­a­tive feel­ings into the most pow­er­ful ques­tion that I could think of at the time: “ What could I do to show that I will not be ter­ror­ized AND make a dif­fer­ence in the world so this might not hap­pen again.” You see, I believe in the whole ‘rip­ple effect’ the­ory. What was the peb­ble I could throw in the pond? When you ask pow­er­ful ques­tions, you get pow­er­ful answers. My INSPIRATION is this: I am going to run the marathon next year AND I am going to ask my cof­fee fam­ily to join me! I was so enthralled with my own bril­liance that I went out for a run. About ½ mile of wheez­ing later… I was com­mit­ted! I sent the word out to some friends and fam­ily and the response has been, well, aston­ish­ing! I have two peo­ple that have agreed to do it with me and sup­port from many others.

Now we fast for­ward to one week later. The two thugs are dead and cap­tured. (Thank you to all the agen­cies and cit­i­zens that made it pos­si­ble! Great work!) I am sit­ting in Colombia and even here we are ecsta­tic about the cap­ture of the sec­ond idiot. But some time has passed, and some impor­tant infor­ma­tion has come to light: Apparently you have to QUALIFY for the Boston marathon. There is a pretty strong chance that our newly formed team will not get invited to run. INSPIRATION num­ber 2 hit me! Have a “Coffee Marathon”.

Here is my work­ing plan in progress. We will have a run in Boston at the same time but we will start at a ‘Coffee Place’ and run to other cof­fee places along the way. People can join for all of the run, seg­ments of the run, or just party at one of the var­i­ous stops. This way the whole indus­try can get involved. Our fam­ily can stand tall and say we won’t be bul­lied by thugs! We can have a HUGE rip­ple effect as run­ners from Indonesia and Kenya and Colombia etc. join in this effort. Our indus­try can do what it does best: Lead by exam­ple and chal­lenge each other to do better.

So this is my open call to my cof­fee fam­ily: Join me in Boston in 2014 for a ‘Coffee Industry Caffeine-a-thon.’ (It’s a work­ing title). I will post more info on If this story inspires you, send me an email. I would love to hear what you think!

I am already up to a mile!
Rocky can be reached at

Instilling a Commitment of Sustainability from the Beginning

Categories: 2013, AprilTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

MoisesToday’s global con­sumers are increas­ingly look­ing for prod­ucts from a nat­ural ori­gin to help them man­age their daily caloric intake. These same peo­ple care about where their food comes from and how the envi­ron­ment and the peo­ple who grow these prod­ucts are treated. Truvia® brand. Truvia® has answered this con­sumer need with its calo­rie free sweet­ener whose sweet­ness is made from the best-tasting part of the ste­via leaf. Much as how cof­fee shops saw that con­sumers were look­ing for a great tast­ing cup of cof­fee that was sourced respon­si­bly, we saw the demand for calo­rie free sweet­ness from nature. Today stevia-based prod­ucts can be found in over 56 mil­lion U.S. households.

When we started, ste­via was grown on small farms scat­tered around Asia and in some remote areas in South America.  As we built a ste­via sup­ply chain on a global com­mer­cial scale, we saw the rare oppor­tu­nity to help shape the ste­via indus­try from the ground up in a respon­si­ble way.

We view the devel­op­ment of a best-practice ste­via agri­cul­tural stan­dard as a core com­po­nent of our strat­egy to set the bar for respon­si­ble prac­tices in the ste­via indus­try and give pro­duc­ers a guide for the respon­si­ble cul­ti­va­tion of stevia.

Our ste­via stan­dard is applic­a­ble to small-scale farms glob­ally. It aims to min­i­mize envi­ron­men­tal impact, pro­mote the health and safety of the pro­ducer, align with food safety and trace­abil­ity require­ments, and ensure con­tin­u­ous improve­ment. We piloted it with a coöper­a­tive group of farm­ers in Argentina, where agri­cul­tural tech­ni­cians worked with them to pro­vide train­ing and tech­ni­cal assis­tance on the ste­via stan­dard as well as agri­cul­tural best practices.

One of the most reward­ing aspects of my work is the col­lab­o­ra­tion I am fos­ter­ing between the stevia-growing pro­grams in Asia and South America.  In the past, research was done in iso­la­tion.  Now, we have inte­gra­tion, and by shar­ing our find­ings, we are see­ing advances come more quickly.  With the imple­men­ta­tion of the stan­dard in China, the ste­via farm­ers are ben­e­fit­ing from the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence of the farm­ers in Argentina.

Similarly to how cof­fee is all about devel­op­ing the best bean – one that pros­pers in var­i­ous weather con­di­tions, is resis­tant to dis­eases, and yet also deliv­ers a con­sis­tent taste when used alone or in blends – my research focuses on devel­op­ing pro­pri­etary ste­via vari­eties.  In col­lab­o­ra­tion with uni­ver­si­ties and part­ners world­wide, I lead genetic improve­ment pro­grams that rely on tra­di­tional breed­ing meth­ods such as selec­tion and cross­ings. These pro­grams focus on ste­via traits like leaf yield, gly­co­side con­tent, drought tol­er­ance and dis­ease resis­tance, empha­siz­ing cer­tain attrib­utes depend­ing on the envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors unique to each grow­ing region.

Producing good crops depends on clean water, healthy soil, clean air and sun­light. As a food brand, our aware­ness of the impor­tance of tak­ing care of nat­ural resources over the long term can­not be over­stated. To ensure proper care of nat­ural resources, we under­took a life-cycle analy­sis to under­stand the major envi­ron­men­tal impacts in the ste­via value chain. The results brought four key areas to the fore­front: green­house gas emis­sions, water use, waste, and land management.

With that under­stand­ing of the envi­ron­men­tal impacts, the Truvia® busi­ness made some sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ments, includ­ing the fol­low­ing:
•    Reduce car­bon foot­print by 50% in 2015 from a 2010 base­line to become car­bon neu­tral in 2020.  Truvia® sweet­ener is the first sweet­ener to receive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of its car­bon foot­print by the UK-based Carbon Trust.
•    Ensure all processed water is returned in the same qual­ity in which it was taken and reduce net deple­tion by 25% by 2020.
•    Reduce waste by 50% across the sup­ply chain in 2015 in efforts to become zero waste by 2020.
•    Ensure ste­via in the Truvia® sup­ply chain is not grown on con­ser­va­tion or pro­tected land.

We believe the best way to ensure proper care is to imple­ment a sys­tem that strives for con­tin­u­ous improve­ment.  I work with the fam­i­lies to form long-term rela­tion­ships and engage as a team to improve the com­mu­ni­ties where ste­via is har­vested and the Truvia® enter­prise oper­ates. We also pro­vide sup­port to pro­duc­ers to invest in edu­ca­tion, health­care, farm improve­ments and tech­ni­cal assis­tance.  Our goal for these pro­grams is that it will stim­u­late self-sufficient and thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ties, using edu­ca­tion and schools as the por­tal to reach not just chil­dren, but also fam­i­lies and farmers.

With an indus­try just in its infancy, we sup­port the work of the International Stevia Council, the indus­try group whose mis­sion is focused on increas­ing the under­stand­ing and aware­ness of ste­via, affirm­ing its safety and estab­lish­ing con­sis­tent ana­lyt­i­cal meth­ods for ste­via con­tent.  As with any new inno­va­tion in the food indus­try, it is impor­tant that stan­dards and prac­tices be set to ensure account­abil­ity and trans­parency among ste­via producers.

We have built a sus­tain­able “field to table” ste­via sup­ply chain and com­mit­ted to impor­tant eco­nomic, social and envi­ron­men­tal goals.  This is a jour­ney and one that con­tin­ues to evolve and improve as we learn from the prac­tices that we have imple­mented.  As the demand increases for stevia-sweetened prod­ucts around the world, we see the work we do as set­ting the stan­dard for the grow­ing ste­via industry.

Similar to the cof­fee indus­try, we made the deci­sion to instill two core val­ues into the devel­op­ment of a sus­tain­able ste­via sup­ply chain – eth­i­cal prac­tices and fair pric­ing. Wherever we oper­ate and what­ever we do, we treat all peo­ple and busi­ness part­ners with dig­nity and respect. Through a sys­tem of self-assessments and third-party audits, this ensures that the sup­ply chains, which bring our prod­uct from field to table, are man­aged with integrity and trans­parency.  We put a lot of care into each packet of Truvia® sweet­ener so each of our con­sumers can com­ple­ment their cup of cof­fee with Truvia® sweet­ener to make their per­fect cup.

Natvia, a key Stevia provider
In the United States, the aver­age adult con­sumes about 22 tea­spoons of sugar per day, almost three times the rec­om­mended daily intake.  Natvia wanted to offer peo­ple a healthy, nat­ural way to enjoy a lit­tle sweet­ness in their lives. In 2009, they launched in Australia seek­ing to inspire a bet­ter life in peo­ple around the globe. A few short years later, they are very proud to be cus­to­di­ans of a prod­uct that their fans describe as “the world’s best sweetener”.

To cre­ate Natvia they used only the fresh­est tips of Stevia plants, known as Reb A, and care­fully blended the ste­via with a nat­u­rally occur­ring fruit nec­tar, known as Erythritol, that is found in mel­ons and grapes. The result is a 100% nat­ural pure, clean, sweet tast­ing zero calo­rie sweet­ener.  Natvia also has no impact on blood sugar lev­els mak­ing it the ideal choice for dia­bet­ics to enjoy a sweet expe­ri­ence while still man­ag­ing their sugar intake.

In cre­at­ing Natvia they focused not only on the health ben­e­fits for their cus­tomers, but also on cre­at­ing the best taste. To accom­plish this they assem­bled a panel of cof­fee indus­try experts, includ­ing roast­ers, café own­ers, and baris­tas to help develop a clean tast­ing pro­file that com­pli­ments cof­fee. After con­duct­ing 600 tri­als, they ended up with a sweet­ener that had no bit­ter or chem­i­cal after­taste, did not leave any film in the cup, and did not mask the fla­vors of cof­fee or espresso drinks.

Natvia has received praise from nutri­tion­ists, dia­bet­ics, health con­scious con­sumers, and cof­fee lovers for the clean taste and nat­ural ingre­di­ents.  The world’s most cel­e­brated cof­fee roast­ers and cafes are serv­ing Natvia to their cus­tomers. Natvia believes they have cre­ated the world’s best nat­ural sweetener.

Latin American Coffee Market

Categories: 2013, AprilTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The pres­ence of Hemileia Vastatrix (cof­fee rust fun­gus, aka La Roya) in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) in con­junc­tion with adverse weather con­di­tions, has been the main causes of the drop in cof­fee pro­duc­tion in the region. It esti­mated that a full 20% of the 2012–2013 cof­fee har­vest has been lost due to these two fac­tors; a total of 3.7 mil­lion quin­tales (100 kilograms).

The third largest pro­ducer of cof­fee in South America closed its 2012 har­vest with a drop over the pre­vi­ous year’s pro­duc­tion due to low yields, scarcity of labor and the spread of the cof­fee rust fun­gus. This trou­bling sit­u­a­tion led the Peruvian gov­ern­ment to esti­mate a 25% drop over the pro­duc­tion of 2011, for an esti­mated 5.5 mil­lion 45 kg sacks. Production was reduced due to the exhaus­tion of mature plants at the end of their nat­ural cycle. 2011 was an excep­tional year with a record har­vest of 7.2 mil­lion sacks of coffee.

As recently as September of 2012, Bangut (Banco de Guatemala) reported a drop in cof­fee export sales of 17.9% com­pared to the same period in 2011. This drop in export sales is despite hav­ing increased export vol­umes of cof­fee which included 4.6 mil­lion quin­tales dur­ing the pre­vi­ous har­vest and 4.8 mil­lion dur­ing the last harvest.

According to the Coffee Exporters Association (Anacafe), the drop in income is due to mar­ket sup­ply and demand, the inter­na­tional eco­nomic cri­sis and increased pro­duc­tion in Brazil and Vietnam. According to the depart­ment of records and oper­a­tions of Anacafe, the prin­ci­pal mar­kets for Guatemalan cof­fee were: United States (45%), Japan (13%), Canada and Germany (8% each) and Belgium (6%).

The South American coun­try had its small­est har­vest in three decades in 2012. The decrease in pro­duc­tion was mainly due to the heavy rains in the main cof­fee grow­ing areas and a pro­gram of ren­o­vat­ing the plant­i­ngs. Colombia’s cof­fee pro­duc­tion was 7.74 mil­lion 60 kg sacks, down from 7.8 mil­lion in 2011. Colombia failed to meet its pro­duc­tion goal of 8 mil­lion sacks, even though pro­duc­tion dur­ing December increased to 904,000 sacks, a 23% increase over the pre­vi­ous year’s har­vest of 735,000 sacs. Export sales vol­umes dropped by 6.76% to 7.21 mil­lion sacks from the pre­vi­ous year’s lev­els of 7.73 million.

The asso­ci­a­tion of cof­fee pro­duc­ers blamed the heavy rains dur­ing the end of 2011 and excess humid­ity in the cof­fee grow­ing regions for the drop in pro­duc­tion. The expected pro­duc­tion level was 11 mil­lion sacks, which was not attained due to cli­matic fac­tors and the slow incor­po­ra­tion of newly planted cof­fee fields into pro­duc­tion. Colombia replanted 110,000 hectares dur­ing 2012.

Honduras had a suc­cess­ful year dur­ing 2011–2012; export vol­umes reached 7.25 mil­lion quin­tales. Total rev­enue from cof­fee exports reached a record US$ 1.4 mil­lion. National cof­fee pro­duc­tion was a total 7.4 mil­lion quin­tales, exceed­ing the pre­vi­ous year’s pro­duc­tion of 5.2 mil­lion. These new pro­duc­tion lev­els make Honduras the largest cof­fee exporter in Central America, accord­ing to data from the International Coffee Organization. During the 2010–2011 cof­fee har­vest, Honduras was ranked in sixth place among cof­fee exporters and dis­placed Colombia. The use of fer­til­iz­ers and an improve­ment in cof­fee qual­ity have accounted for the dra­matic increase in pro­duc­tion, allow­ing Honduras to increase exports to Germany and the United States.

Costa Rica
After suf­fer­ing a drop in cof­fee exports at the begin­ning of the decade, cof­fee exports to South Korea took off in 2008 and kept increas­ing. In 2012, Costa Rica exported US$ 8.5 mil­lion, which was a 43% increase over cof­fee export rev­enues in 2011 and five times what it was export­ing just four years ago when the upturn began. One of the major cof­fee exporters in Costa Rica is Café Capris, belong­ing to the Volcafe Group.

Despite these encour­ag­ing sales reports, national cof­fee grow­ers in Costa Rica have lost US$42.6 mil­lion from the 2012–2013 cof­fee har­vest due to cof­fee rust fun­gus, which has mostly affected low­land cof­fee grow­ers.
Pérez Zeledón has lost over 6,000 hectares and Coto Brus has over 4,000 hectares severely affected by the fungus.

El Salvador
El Salvador will pro­duce 18.9% more cof­fee dur­ing the cur­rent har­vest, which began in October 2012, due to increased use of fer­til­iz­ers and cof­fee plant­ing renewal. This small Central American nation expects to pro­duce 1.45 mil­lion 60 kg sacks dur­ing the 2012/13 har­vest. Production has been favored by the twice yearly har­vest of cof­fee and an improved agri­cul­tural tech­ni­cal sup­port pro­gram. El Salvador exports 90 per­cent of its cof­fee pro­duc­tion, which is one of its main exports.

Although cof­fee has been Nicaragua’s main export, this may change in 2013, because large parts of Nicaragua’s cof­fee plan­ta­tions have been infected with the cof­fee rust fun­gus. According to ACEN (Asociación de Cafés Especiales de Nicaragua), the coun­try could forgo US$ 4.5 in cof­fee sales due to the cof­fee rust fun­gus dur­ing the 2013–2014 pro­duc­tion cycle. The pres­i­dent of the Nicaraguan Association of Coffee Exporters recently stated that pro­duc­tion may be down by as much as 400,000 quin­tales this har­vest, due to the fun­gus. This decrease in pro­duc­tion would cer­tainly affect exports and impact on cof­fee prices world­wide due to the decrease in sup­ply. According to experts in the area, Nicaragua’s total cof­fee exports may only reach US$ 130 mil­lion in 2013.

Mauro Nogarin can be reached at

A Master’s in Coffee

Categories: 2013, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

3_13 6-CIt has been a lit­tle over a month now and I have been enjoy­ing every­thing from the food to walk­ing around the plazas at night. Many of us from for­eign coun­tries are learn­ing to eat new foods, inter­act with the new cul­ture, and drink authen­tic Italian espres­sos every­day.  At moments, I think some of us are start­ing to miss home and our loved ones. However, some­times while I sit in class, I real­ize how grate­ful I am for this oppor­tu­nity. Not many peo­ple in our indus­try have the edu­ca­tion we are acquir­ing, or have the oppor­tu­nity to leave their every­day life to learn about what they love in a new country.

I am pretty sure that when I men­tioned enrolling in a Master’s in Coffee Science and Economics, peo­ple imme­di­ately assumed that this would be a relaxed five month pro­gram con­sist­ing of heavy cof­fee drink­ing and learn­ing how to make lattes.  However, it is quite the oppo­site (except maybe for the heavy cof­fee drink­ing). The classes are quite loaded in Science, Agronomy, and Economics. In the first month we have been immersed in intense classes of Genetics, Botany and Physiology, Industrial Processing, International Sourcing, Complex Systems Management, and Soil Chemistry.

As a class we have got­ten to know each other much bet­ter and we have really con­nected. I can say that I have met some incred­i­bly kind and gen­uine peo­ple here, and made some great friends. So far, one of my favorite parts has been the inter­ac­tion of var­i­ous cul­tures in one place, and con­stantly learn­ing from one another. In class dis­cus­sions, we learn about each other’s coun­tries and cof­fee prac­tices; but out­side the class, as we reg­u­larly inter­act, we can actu­ally expe­ri­ence a lit­tle of each other’s coun­tries, tra­di­tions, and indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics. I have already learned so much sim­ply by hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with my class­mates. On a daily basis, if dis­cussing a topic, I am able to hear the per­spec­tive from a class­mate from the United States, as well as hear the view­points from my class­mates from Brazil or India. It is truly a unique experience.

Even though we have had our share of fun since arriv­ing to Italy, you can def­i­nitely feel the stress ris­ing as we have started to have tests every week and the mate­r­ial is accu­mu­lat­ing. Having a degree in Business Administration, I can tell you that the tough­est day so far, was the first soil chem­istry class. I was com­pletely lost. Thankfully one of our class­mates is a Chemist, and already doing her P.H.D., which involves the research of a cer­tain com­pound in cof­fee, and she will help all of us that do not have a Chemistry back­ground to get pre­pared for the test (Thanks Elena!) My pri­mary incen­tive for this class is that this will be a basis for our other Agronomy classes that hope­fully will teach us how to under­stand soil analy­sis, and what nutri­ents to apply to cof­fee plants in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. You never know, this might be use­ful someday!

Almost every­day, we receive classes at the Ernesto Illy Foundation estab­lish­ment, which is right besides the IllyCaffé head­quar­ters. Just learn­ing at the premises of a respected com­pany such as Illycaffé is a great advan­tage, but I will talk a lit­tle more about this next month. In case you did not get a chance to read the first part of this series you can check out CoffeeTalk’s February issue to learn more about this Master’s in Coffee and how I got here. And keep tuned for next month’s arti­cle as I con­tinue to share a lit­tle more about my expe­ri­ence here in Italy.


Twitter @Ashleyprentice01