Category: Climate Change

Coffee and Drought: A Costly Combination for Farmers

It is no secret that the current El Niño phenomenon has caused drought in the global coffeelands, particularly Central America, the Caribbean, and East Africa. Drought conditions in Central America and the Caribbean are occurring for the second consecutive year, wreaking havoc on cash crops, food staples, and livestock. Satellite-derived rainfall estimates indicate that the […]

Introducing The CRS Coffeelands Program

Back in July, the International Coffee Organization announced that 1 October would be International Coffee Day.  Ever since, it has been asking this question on its social media: “How are you celebrating International Coffee Day?”  Today, I am delighted to answer on behalf of CRS: by launching a global coffee program. . .

Sustainable Development Goal for Water

The Sustainable Development Goal for Water This weekend, the UN will launch the new Sustainable Development Goals. These goals build from the  Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were a driver for the world’s development priorities from 1990-2015. MDG #7 focused on the environment with a sub-target devoted to water, including a target to “halve, by 2015, the […]

Colombia Sensory Trial: Re:co Symposium Video and Resource Page

Yesterday our friends at the Specialty Coffee Association of America uploaded this video of my Colombia Sensory Trial presentation to Re:co Symposium in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June. . . It was the second time in three months I had the opportunity to deliver to industry leaders the results of our sensory research collaboration with the […]

Inconceivable!

In my family, the 1987 film “The Princess Bride” is something of a tradition. I showed it to our kids early (perhaps too early for the younger ones) and we watch it often. For better or worse, references to its many memorable lines now punctuate conversations in our house. But there is one trope in […]

Coffee Supply Chain’s Hidden Heroes

Hollywood loves a good comeback story.  So when I think of the struggles of a coffee community in Honduras called Opatoro, I can’t help but think of them in terms of a Hollywood script.  The pitch might go something like this: In 2012, Dunia Martínez, newly elected mayor of Opatoro in rural Honduras, began receiving […]

The Machete vs the Hoe

2015-06-18 Comments

Blessed is the Machete A machete makes a wonderful wedding gift. After working many years with farmers around the world, I learned to value the multiple functions a machete offers a family: it’s a knife, a lawn mower, vegetable peeler, screwdriver, tree pruner, and so much more. A few years ago, my friends Sara and […]

Coffee ground: The importance of soil health

In my last Coffeelands post, as part of our tribute to the International Year of Soils, I promised to seek out experts in the area of soil management and coffee production and to share their invaluable insights with you.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to look far.  My colleague, Luis Álvarez Welchez, knows soil and coffee.  […]

Coffee hybrids and a frank talk about breeding coffee

2015-05-25 Comments

  Greek mythology is full of mythical beasts that are created from a fusion of two distinct entities. Some great examples are the centaur, a half-human, half horse warrior and the harpy, a bird of prey with a woman’s face and chest.  These are extreme examples of hybrids – the offspring of two very distinct […]

Bird Friendly Coffee: Good for the farmers?

Dr. Robert Rice is commonly referred to as the coffee industry’s “voice of the birds,” and the certification he represents the gold standard for environmentally friendly coffee. That point is difficult to argue:  The Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly coffee certification requires farmers to be organic certified, possess at least ten different species of trees […]