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368. The end

Today I am bringing the CRS Coffeelands Blog to an end.

Other, more influential coffee blogs have already gone dark, and many of the sentiments their authors conveyed in their farewell posts resonate deeply with me: it has been great fun; it has been more work than I expected; the digital echo chamber can be seductive and disorienting; the blog has served its purpose; and mostly, the desire to spend less time writing and more time actually doing stuff.

I will still publish occasional perspectives from the intersection of coffee and international development in specialized publications.  And I will continue sending Tweets through the @coffeelands feed.  But I will dedicate the time I normally devote to the blog to making the Borderlands coffee project I manage in Colombia and Ecuador really hum.

Thank you for your readership and engagement over the last four years, and your continued commitment to make the coffee trade more sustainable.




  • P Baker says:

    Really sorry to see this Michael, it will leave a big gap.
    Best wishes to you.

    • Michael Sheridan says:

      Thanks, Peter.

      I enjoyed our online exchanges and learned much from your wisdom and wit.

      I look forward to continuing the discussion offline.


  • Mark S says:

    I concur. Sorry to see you go. Thanks for your contributions.

  • Michael,
    Your blog is much loved in Coop Coffees and across the specialty trade. You have added so much understanding, dialog and insight. I am saddened that the blog is ending but hope you find new ways to share your rich content and compassionate perspective!

    All the best from Watertown, Mass. Jonathan

    • Michael Sheridan says:

      Thanks, Jonathan, for the kind words from you and the Cooperative Coffees family. I have enjoyed collaborating with you and the extraordinary community of roasters you lead, even though we haven’t always seen eye to eye. I hope for opportunities to renew our collaboration in the field into the future.



  • Kyle Freund says:

    Thanks for all of the insight and learnings that you’ve tucked in here, Michael. Looking forward to whatever else you post down the road.

  • Michael, thank you so much for providing this platform for discussion for so long, and for the consistently high quality content you’ve provided throughout.

    Though your reasons for backing away are both reasonable and understandable (I often wondered how you managed to publish so much and still do such great work offline), I guarantee the loss will be felt by more than just me.

    …which leads me to two selfish, long-shot requests:

    1. Could you leave it up? You’ve created a gold mine here. I’ve directed so many people to this blog to learn about a range of issues within fair trade, why fair trade and direct trade aren’t in opposition, about coffee leaf rust, about the importance of good data and honest reporting, and more…. It’d be a shame if this resource you’ve created was lost to all forever.

    2. Could you keep posting, but in a different way? In the interests of efficiency and maximizing learning, consider posting the articles you’ll be writing for other publications here (with all due citations, of course). It would convert the Coffeelands blog into a valuable repository of Michael Sheridan’s thoughts, still allow for discussion (in which you wouldn’t be obliged to participate), and it would be less fleeting than the @coffeelands feed.

    So there you go, two humble requests from a long-time fan.

    Either way, thank you again and good luck with everything.

    • Michael Sheridan says:


      Thank you for the very kind words and your contributions to the discussion here over the past few years. I look forward to meeting you one of these days–I think you are the most frequent contributor to the dialogue here whom I have not yet met!

      In response to your questions:

      CRS will continue to host the content of the CRS Coffeelands Blog indefinitely. We will further plan to keep the comment function for the benefit of folks who may be coming late to the conversations hosted here.

      In the event that I do contribute pieces to other publications I will be sure to post them to the “News” page on the blog, where I have stashed links to all the coffee articles we have written as well as other articles in which CRS or its partners have been cited.

      Hope this helps,


  • Jared Durham says:

    thanks @coffeelands for your ongoing perspective and insight – thoroughly enjoy your work. all the best,

  • Lars says:

    Thanks for your work!

  • Matt Earley says:


    I refuse to believe you are going off the airwaves. Dang. Thanks so much for all of your thoughts and insights. No one else has covered the roya crisis as thoroughly as you have.

    Any way we can get you to consider continuing? Maybe having folks out here contribute regularly to keep the pressure off?

    Either way, thanks for all you do.


    • Michael Sheridan says:


      Believe it.

      Thanks for your kind words. I have always enjoyed our interactions online and off and always respected the thoughtfulness and respect with which you have engaged at origin over the years. I hope to find a way to collaborate in the field in the years ahead.



  • Renee says:

    Que pena! As someone interested in working at the intersection of coffee and international development I am sad to see such a great resource go! Thanks for all you’ve done and best of luck!

    • Michael Sheridan says:


      Glad to hear another voice from the field and glad to know the blog has been a valuable resource for you.

      Good luck in your work,


  • randy wirth says:

    As one who has been involved with sustainable specialty coffee for over 35 years, I also am sad to see you go. However, I am heartened to see that you have aligned yourself with a worthy partner to move foward with. Thanks for contributing to the crucial dialogue on issues in the coffee lands.

    All the Best,
    Randy Wirth
    Caffe Ibis Coffee Roasting Company

    • Michael Sheridan says:

      Thank you, Randy. Those kind words mean a lot coming from someone who has been such a mainstay in the sustainability movement for so long.



  • Marcus Young says:

    Thank you for all that you have contributed to my personal knowledge of issues with smallholder farms – not to mention the tremendous impact your thinking and writing have had on our industry.

    I look forward to seeing the continued impact of your work on the ground with Borderlands.

    All the best,

    ~ Marcus Young
    ~ Central City Coffee

    • Michael Sheridan says:


      I assure you that you overstate the influence of this blog on the industry, but I am gratified to know that it was a valuable resource for you. Hoping to visit Central City Coffee one day to learn more about your work there–I have admired the mission and work from afar for some time.


  • Marcela Pino says:

    Thank you so much for all the work you did with the blog. I have referred people to it multiple times and although I am sad to see it end, I am sure we all will benefit from your work one way or another. Thank you for your contribution.


    Marcela Pino
    co-director Food 4 Farmers

    • Michael Sheridan says:

      Thank you, Marcela, for the kind words and YOUR contribution to making smallholder livelihoods more sustainable.


  • Justin Purser says:

    Michael, I’m sorry to learn that you cannot continue to post on this blog but I think that you’ve done a mighty job writing and posting here for as long as you have. As an occasional blog poster I appreciate the considerable energy you have spent in building this site.

    I’ve found the Coffeelands blog to be a rich vein for insights and understanding into the socio-economic side of coffee. Although I engage with small-holder coffee farmers regularly, still simply reading your posts rapidly accelerates the amount of insight I can acquire into this area. Through your deep focus on challenges at origin, and your willingness to share your learnings with the wider coffee community, you have shared many very important messages.

    Now the gauntlet is thrown to others among our community; who amongst us have the time and energy to help in some small manner to fill your shoes?

    All the best for your next projects,

    Justin Purser
    Food Manager, Trade Aid, New Zealand

    • Michael Sheridan says:


      I have followed your work from afar via mutual friends at Cooperative Coffees and Equal Exchange and admire your work. Thanks for your enormous contributions and your kind words here.


  • Cafe Hound says:

    I JUST stumbled upon this blog and already addicted. I am so sad that my timing was off. I hope to communicate with you directly in the near future.

    In my hobby/training time I hope to incorporate interesting coffee-related data sets into use cases for various data science applications — data visualization examples, various algorithmic and modeling techniques, and potentially Big Data use cases where data sets are both mined, merged, transformed and utilized in a cloud computing environment.

    If you have any ideas or data you would be willing to lend to the cause, we should talk. Thanks for the contributions to coffee knowledge that you have already made and for your great work on the ongoing projects with CRS. I hope to chat soon! – Cafe Hound

    • Michael Sheridan says:

      Hey, there Cafe Hound. Thanks for the comment and good to know about your interest in applying big data approaches to coffee. We need more evidence-based behaviors as far as I am concerned, and ambassadors for this approach in the industry. Stay tuned to the “News” page here and other coffee publications for the field research briefs we publish in connection with our Borderlands project and in collaboration with our friends at CIAT.


  • Philip Hand says:


    I am very sad, but utterly grateful for the work and words you have put into the blog. I was privileged to attend your many lectures during the SCAA in Boston, and I hope you will host more of these for future SCAA events. You are an amazing talent in the world of coffee. We are blessed to have you fight the good fight! Be well, safe travels

    • Michael Sheridan says:


      Thank you for your very generous comment. I look forward to meeting up with you next time in LA and learning more about your work at Groundwork.


  • mark says:

    Michael, you (your blog) will be sorely missed. In the 17 years Conscious has been in this industry, your Blog has been the truest, most connective real-time link to the real challenges that exist. I’ve shared and passed along more of your posts than all other industry journal articles/tidbits combined. We are grateful for your presence and look forward to your future work.


    Mark Glenn

    Conscious Coffees

    • Michael Sheridan says:


      Wow. That’s some pretty high praise. Good to know the admiration is mutual. Right back at you–thanks for your presence and continued work breaking down the false dichotomy between committment to social development and coffee quality.



  • Cate Batson Baril says:

    Michael –
    Thank you! Hard to imagine how much work this blog has been over the years. And equally hard to imagine who/what will fill this now looming gap! You’ve been such a thought leader – gently questioning, bringing light and sharing knowledge. I particularly admire your willingness to wade into thorny issues – with humor and frankness. Wish you all the best for Borderlands.
    – Cate Baril (an unabashed fan)

  • kim says:

    wow, i too have just stumbled on this blog, and it came about when i was doing some research on finding sustainability and organic products in el salvador. The need to not only sell the products worldwide, but keep it available for their own countries. I found your research information on Santa Adelaida very informative, and was not aware of the co-op their, although we do have family in san salvador, relaying this information, that I am sure that even they did not know is helpful. To teach and tell them the importance in switching back to organics, and the benefits that would not only help families, and the economy, it can help with the health, by avoiding process items that are not organic.

    Thank you for posting, and any additional information of stores, and if the co-ops are buying directly in the town is much helpful. May your continued efforts on your future projects be just as successful.

    Kim ( el salvador bound……. )

  • Michael Skillicorn says:

    Hi Michael,

    I’ve learned a lot from the blog over the years and am sad to see it go. There aren’t too many ‘gathering places’ like this one!

    Thank you for your hard work.

  • Michael says:

    I found your blog a little to late……. Your cause was great, our site believes that each cup of coffee can lead to a greater purpose.

    Thanks for all the info!

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