Category: Climate Change

Adding Spice to the Coffeelands in Nicaragua’s Dry Corridor

The coffeelands of Central America’s “dry corridor” are becoming major testing grounds of perseverance and innovation in the face of climate change. According to a report from the InterAmerican Institute for Agriculture Cooperation (IICA) in May 2015, “The Central American Dry Corridor and the Dry Arch area of Panama, given their long dry season and the […]

Knocking on Coffee’s Door: Cocoa’s Case as a Coffee Farm Alternative

2016-04-22 Comments

In previous Coffeelands posts we have written about the importance of diversifying smallholder coffee farms as a hedge against falling coffee prices, low coffee productivity resulting from disease (such as coffee leaf rust) and other factors. Diversification into other crops such as nuts, plantains and fruit, among others, also helps to ensure that a farmer […]

Coffee’s Water Footprint Needs to Be Revised

The Measure of Coffee’s Water Footprint Needs to Be Revised This 2003 study on coffee’s water footprint reported that it requires 140 liters of water to produce one cup of coffee. This metric is quoted so frequently (including by this blog) that it’s almost assumed to be a fact. However, the study needs a critical review because it is […]

The SCAA Event: Annual Coffeelands Preview

In less than one month the gavel will sound to open The SCAA Event.  That means it’s time for the annual Coffeelands preview of The Event’s best “origin content.” In my 2012 SCAA preview post, I divided my picks into three “streams of enlightenment”—“downstream” presentations that push knowledge of origin toward the marketplace, “upstream” presentations […]

Natural Coffees – good for water resources

2016-03-08 Comments

Six years ago, James Hoffman started a post on natural coffees saying, “You could say this debate is old news, but somehow it still seems to be rumbling on.” Well, I’m fairly new to specialty coffee, and I’m so green to natural coffees that I was surprised (and delighted) to discover there was a debate.  After studying […]

Analyze This: Getting to Know Soils in the Coffeelands

2016-02-24 Comments

A farmer must know his or her soil. I mean, really know it: what lives in it (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc.); what’s decomposing in it and how much (organic matter); how hungry it is (for certain types of nutrients); if it needs a drink or needs to dry out (moisture level); and how it’s feeling […]

CRS Coffeelands Blog Year in Review

Today, the annual review of the Coffeelands content you liked best over the past year. .

Green Water, in Practice

A few years ago, I asked a farmer in the “dry corridor” of eastern El Salvador what he would do to improve water management if he were the donor funding our project. He pointed up at the hills and said, “During the wet season, there are torrents of rain that come down this mountain. The vast […]

Integral Ecology

I introduced Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, in an earlier post. For this second (and last) post on the letter, I’m pasting sections from the chapter called Integral Ecology. What’s this have to do with coffee and water? Everything. Coffee and water are part of an integrated social and natural system, where the interaction […]

Manage Soils to Manage Water

2015-11-05 Comments

This week I’m at a water conference #uncwaterandhealth at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) with about 700 incredibly bright folk, all trying to work out how to manage water better. Great place to learn. Despite all the great ideas here, I am surprised about how few water professionals and researchers connect the challenge of ensuring […]