Author Archives: Paul Hicks

Coffee Futures – Investor Behavior Overwhelms Market Fundamentals

2018-10-23 1 Comment

Note: This post is an interview with Andrew Sargent, the Director of the CRS Coffeelands Program. Andrew and I have had an intense online discussion over the past month on my series of posts on the “Scandal of the C-Price”. We’ve re-constructed this exchange as a Q&A. It’s a long post, but worth reading to […]

The Price of Distortion – speculation and alternative trade models in coffee

After my recent posts on the Scandal of the C-Price, I reached out to Adam Kline, founder and CEO of Coffee Unified, for his insights. Adam has a career in the coffee trade: as an importer, coffee buyer, and now as a development entrepreneur in the coffee sector with Coffee Unified. We’ve edited our many […]

Proposing an alternative benchmark for coffee prices: The C-5

There is an urgent need to fix the coffee market: to reduce price volatility and ensure that a fairer share of coffee revenue reaches farmers and farmworkers. In a recent post, I made the point that the coffee market is unjust because farmers and farmworkers bare a disproportionate amount of risk and remain poor, while […]

Extreme Price Volatility Undermines the Coffee Sector

In a recent post, I wrote that the C-Price for coffee is flawed and there is an urgent need for viable solutions to improve the coffee market. The post was picked up by Daily Coffee News and got a lot of attention – both positive and negative, which is well appreciated. The goal of the original post […]

Scandal of the C-Price

2018-09-13 Comments

“Finance overwhelms the real economy.”* This is a point from Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on the environment and poverty. This phrase helps to explain what’s happening in the coffee sector. The “real economy” of the coffee sector consists of: millions of farmers and farmworkers who produce the world’s coffee, millers and roasters who […]

Zen and the Art of Natural Coffee

Last year, I waded into the debate on natural coffee with a post called “Natural Coffees – Good for Water Resources” concluding that, “I think that natural coffees should have a future, and that the coffee industry (from roasters to farmers) should invest in methods and systems to make natural coffees more consistent”. After that […]

Beyond the Source – the co-benefits of water-smart farm practices

Last August (time is flying) we posted a summary of the Specialty Coffee Association’s Blueprint for Water Security in the Coffeelands. That paper presented 6 recommendations “to support action by coffee stakeholders committed to increasing water security at origin”. I want to highlight one of the key SCA recommendations, and how it links to an exciting new […]

It’s all about CEC, You See

This is a guest post by Hannah Francis, a Fulbright Scholar working with CRS’ Blue Harvest team in El Salvador this year. Hannah is a soil scientist helping analyze research data from hundreds of coffee farms. This post builds on our recent post called Get Me SOM, and several other posts on soil management on coffee farms. Guest […]

SCAA Blueprint on Water Security at Origin

SCAA has just published the Blueprint for Water Security in the Coffeelands as part of its series on critical issues at origin. The Blueprint’s purpose is “to support action by coffee stakeholders committed to increasing water security at origin”   I believe the Blueprint can serve as a useful reference for highlighting water-related actions at […]