Category: Resilience

“Nano” finance? Village savings and loans groups filling the gaps that microfinance can’t reach

2015-08-17 Comments

In a few of my recent posts, I have juxtaposed the amount of investment that is directed to the retail end of the supply chain (for example, $70 million for Blue Bottle, $9 million for a “bulletproof” coffee retail chain, etc.) versus the amount that is directed to the most vulnerable end of the supply […]

Colombia Sensory Trial: Re:co Symposium Video and Resource Page

Yesterday our friends at the Specialty Coffee Association of America uploaded this video of my Colombia Sensory Trial presentation to Re:co Symposium in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June. . . It was the second time in three months I had the opportunity to deliver to industry leaders the results of our sensory research collaboration with the […]

It takes a village… to save the disappearing small farmer

A few weeks ago, NPR ran an article on the disappearing smallholder cocoa farmer.  A few days ago, Michael brought our attention to a Guardian article on the plight of small farmers globally, and gently reminded us that this isn’t a new story, especially not for specialty coffee. The list of challenges for small farmers […]

Farmworkers and Policy: New Global Coffee Frontiers

In May, The Guardian published this article declaring “smallholder farmers are the new global food frontier.” The author is Hugh Locke, president and co-founder of a Haitian non-profit called Smallholder Farmers Alliance.  He reminds readers that smallholders produce 70 percent of the world’s food, argues that we are not positioning them for success and issues […]

Report from East Africa – Coffee origins with enormous potential (and enormous challenges)

2015-07-20 Comments

My fellow blog authors and I are very self-aware of Coffeelands’ biases. It is told from a (mostly) white male development professional’s perspective from Latin American origins. However, this bias is not reflective of the global reach of CRS’ coffee programming. In addition to our five active coffee projects in Latin America, we currently have […]

Coffee Supply Chain’s Hidden Heroes

Hollywood loves a good comeback story.  So when I think of the struggles of a coffee community in Honduras called Opatoro, I can’t help but think of them in terms of a Hollywood script.  The pitch might go something like this: In 2012, Dunia Martínez, newly elected mayor of Opatoro in rural Honduras, began receiving […]

The Machete vs the Hoe

2015-06-18 Comments

Blessed is the Machete A machete makes a wonderful wedding gift. After working many years with farmers around the world, I learned to value the multiple functions a machete offers a family: it’s a knife, a lawn mower, vegetable peeler, screwdriver, tree pruner, and so much more. A few years ago, my friends Sara and […]

Equal. Different.

I explained here last week that we subjected the Castillo and Caturra samples we collected for the Colombia Sensory Trial to two different kinds of sensory evaluation: two cupping panels at Intelligentsia Roasting Works in Chicago that applied the CQI’s Q protocols and two sensory panels at the Sensory Analysis Center at Kansas State University […]

G < (E + M)

The first part of the Colombia Sensory Trial featured coffee buyers and quality control experts from some of the most important coffee organizations in the Americas.  During two cupping panels at Intelligentsia Roasting Works in Chicago, they scored pairs of Castillo and Caturra samples collected from 22 farms in Nariño, Colombia. The second part enlisted […]