Category: Coffee Research

170. What that study really said

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

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?

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 […]

103. GCQRI – Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative

Several dozen of the most influential and quality-obsessed people in the coffee industry are gathered this week in College Station, Texas, for the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative (GCQRI) Symposium — the first step in launching a massive, five-year collaborative research project involving industry, bilateral donor agencies and research institutes and designed to increase the availability of high-quality coffee. Here are some links to very good real-time coverage of the event from people who are participating.

101. More on where quality comes from

I recently shared the perspectives of a pair of Q-grader cuppers on where quality comes from — perspectives that left out most of what coffee farmers do. Their perspectives are informed, but are not the only ones on an issue around which there is no real consensus. Today, a different take on the issue that attributes more of the quality of your coffee to how farmers grow it.

85. Technology for a hot planet

Farmers in El Salvador, which has few remaining natural forests, waning water resources and precious little high-altitude terrain, are acutely aware of the impacts of climate change. That’s why many are making short-term changes to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on their farms and adopting water-efficient post-harvesting technology. The coffee sector in El Salvador is also investing in breeding more resistant varieties.