Caravela Coffee, the vertically integrated exporter/importer formerly known as Virmax, has been a key CRS partner in our Borderlands project in Colombia, delivering dozens of single-farm and community lots to Counter Culture and Stumptown over the past three years and delivering quality premiums to hundreds of smallholder growers who had never earned them before. This […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
My personal New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 come straight from the top: Pope Francis wants me to be irksome and make a ruckus.
Today, the annual review of the Coffeelands content you liked best over the past year. .
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 […]
The Direct Trade-v-Fair Trade debate resurfaced here last week. I weighed in on that debate here yesterday. Today I want to explore a related idea: that the leading proponents of these two trading models may have communicated themselves into corners from which they can’t easily extricate themselves even though they desperately need to. Direct Trade […]
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 […]