Category: Markets

10. How sustainable is “sustainable coffee”?

The “sustainable coffees” segment of the specialty market is more crowded than ever with certifications and concepts that advance different — sometimes competing — ideas about what constitutes sustainability when it comes to coffee. I believe that all these approaches generate benefits and move in the right direction. The question I struggle with is how much benefit they need to generate — and for whom — to be truly sustainable?

3. Coffeelands: 1, Baristas: 0

I must admit that I have had a hard time getting into barista competitions. Living and working in the coffeelands where so many smallholder farmers work so hard in total obscurity to grow the great coffee that fuels — quite literally — the hyper-caffeinated gatherings of the SCAA and the Barista Guild makes it hard for me to accept the swagger of baristas who produce beverages that seem only very remotely to qualify as “coffee.” So you can imagine my delight when Sustainable Harvest had the inspired idea to bring champion baristas to origin during the 2009 edition of Let’s Talk Coffee to live a few days in the life of a coffee farmer.