Monthly Archives: September 2012

305. The water interviews: Finance

2012-09-24 Comments Off

Root Capital was established in 1999 to serve the grassroots enterprises that occupy the “missing middle” of financial markets in less-developed countries: they are too big for microfinance organizations and perceived as too small and risky by commercial banks.  The organization’s success suggests that the scope of the need and opportunity in the missing middle […]

304. The water interviews: Blue Harvest

2012-09-17 No Comments

My first job with CRS back in 2002 was a one-year fellowship.  I was one of 15 fellows who were assigned to different countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  I didn’t know it at the time, but my assignment to the Philippines was a lucky break: there I worked with Paul Hicks, who has […]

303. “We underestimated water”

2012-09-12 No Comments

The eminent James Hoffman recently published a post suggesting we have underestimated the importance of water in the coffee process.  I agree with the sentiment entirely, but for very different reasons.

302. The water footprint of your coffee

2012-09-11 1 Comment

Since early August, I have published at least one post per week on the relationship between coffee and water resources.  In several of those posts I have made mention of coffee’s “water footprint” without much exploration of the concept.  According to this excellent study, coffee’s water footprint is 140 liters (or 37 gallons) per cup. […]

301. Borderlands coffee quality, by the numbers

2012-09-10 No Comments

The intensive baseline survey for our Borderlands project in Colombia and Ecuador will give us a detailed understanding the demographic, social and economic conditions in which participating farmers are living.  What it won’t tell us is anything about the quality of the coffee that they grow.  So we conducted a separate baseline process in Colombia […]

300. More on The Nation’s coverage of Fair Trade

2012-09-06 Comments

As I reflect more on The Nation’s excellent article on the split in the Fair Trade movement, I am reminded of a product review by Ritual Coffee, the iconic San Francisco roaster, that included this passage:  “Did we once tell you that the Hario Hand Mills were the best hand grinders available? Yes. Are we […]

299. Industry leaders urge action on water in the coffeelands

2012-09-04 No Comments

I have been writing this summer on the relationship between coffee and water resources in the coffeelands — a sleeper issue that hasn’t attracted as much attention among the coffee industry’s sustainability leaders as poverty, hunger, biodiversity conservation, and other pressing issues.  But that may be changing. Ben Corey-Moran, president of specialty coffee pioneer Thanksgiving […]

298. What will it take for coffee farmers to make processing operations “bluer”?

2012-09-03 No Comments

There are many water-efficient technologies currently in use by farmers selling their coffee into specialty markets.  And there are some good reasons why there is still a relatively modest embrace of those technologies.  What will it take for more farmers to “blue” their post-harvest processes?