Monthly Archives: May 2011

172. What are direct trading relationships worth?

2011-05-30 No Comments

Based on some data we have collected in Nicaragua, it looks like direct trading relationships this harvest were worth about 50 cents a pound, and Direct Trade relationships even more.

171. What that study means to me

2011-05-25 No Comments

Yesterday I provided a detailed summary of a recent study on the economic impacts of Fair Trade and organic certifications.  Today, what it means to me in my work.

170. What that study really said

2011-05-24 No Comments

The study on the economic impacts of Fair Trade and organic certifications that appeared in a recent issue of Ecological Economics has prompted some good, informed discussion, but also its share of distortion.  After carefully reading (and re-reading) the study, here is my take on it as someone who works with both certified and non-certified […]

169. What we missed in the furor over Fair Trade

2011-05-23 Comments

Last week, articles in mainstream and industry media outlets on the economic impacts of Fair Trade on smallholder farmers caused something of a furor among coffee cognoscenti.  The most serious discussion seemed to revolve around this study published in Ecological Economics.  Unfortunately, in the squabble over certifications most people missed what was easily the most […]

168. What do you (think you) know about sustainability?

2011-05-20 No Comments

At last month’s SCAA Symposium, we were invited to reexamine our assumptions about sustainability in coffee — what we think we know about the issue that may not be true.  At the time, I thought that exercise produced some provocative responses.  And then I read a recent study on the impacts of organic and Fair […]

167. Throwing haymakers at Fair Trade

2011-05-18 Comments

World Fair Trade Day is observed every year on the second Saturday of May.  Historically, it has been a time to educate consumers about the impacts of their consumer habits, motivate them to make socially responsible choices and celebrate the developmental advances of Fair Trade.  This year, it was the occasion for something else — […]

166. Coffee theft increases with high prices

2011-05-13 No Comments

Stories are swirling this year about one of the unforunate side effects of high prices — coffee is being stolen.  And it is not just coffee that is getting lost at origin — lives are being lost, too.  In El Salvador, theives recently stole coffee grown by a CRS partner cooperative and killed four security […]

165. The coffee cupper’s prayer

2011-05-12 No Comments

Until recently, the most memorable reference to coffee cupping I had ever read was the analogy made in The Coffee Cupper’s Manifesto by Paul Katzeff — founder of Thanksgiving Coffee, former SCAA president, political firebrand and baseball fanatic. Then, on a recent visit to Honduras, I discovered the coffee cupper’s prayer.

164. Another home run in Las Sabanas

2011-05-11 No Comments

In keeping with the baseball theme from yesterday’s post, here is another analogy between baseball and coffee quality.  Don Jaime Molina of the quality-focused 5 de junio cooperative has hit another home run in Las Sabanas: he placed a winning lot at the Nicaragua Cup Of Excellence from his Monte Cristo farm for the fourth […]

163. How microlots can help everyone

2011-05-10 No Comments

Microlots may be the exclusive domain of quality-obsessed roasters who are willing to pay top dollar for the finest coffee a grower or group of growers has to offer.  But that doesn’t mean that microlots don’t generate benefits for those roasters who aren’t.  Microlots may help farmer organizations be better trading partners for everyone in […]