Coffee Farmers and the SCAA Sustainability Council

Labor is a key factor for the success and viability of the coffee industry, yet farms are currently struggling to recruit and retain field hands due in part to urban migration and low incentives for performing rural work.

Aware of this problem, the SCAA Sustainability Council has been developing a strategy in order to gain a greater understanding of the situation and intended to inform the industry in general. One component of this strategy was the commissioning of a study that could answer the following questions:

How is the situation of field hands who work on coffee farms perceived by both producers and workers, taking into account such factors as labor conditions, wages (expectations vs. paid), dangerous work-related activities, housing conditions when they reside on the farm, compliance with labor laws, and understanding their contribution to coffee quality?

How distant is the actual situation of farmworkers from that stipulated by national labor requirements?

What are the main threats and opportunities that workers and producers see for the coffee industry in the current or future situations of farm workers?

What strategies do corporate and family farms employ to recruit and retain their labor? What are the most common mistakes coffee estates make that lead to farmworker attrition­?

What can the coffee chain do to support the retention and motivation of the workforce?

From the workers’ viewpoint, what do they most value when deciding to keep working on a farm?

Full article here: Coffee Farmworkers: The Next Step, from Research to Action | Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

Farmworker Inclusion: The New Frontier

The specialty coffee industry has earned a sterling reputation for social inclusion through more than two decades of relentless innovation to develop strategies for meaningful, transparent and mutually beneficial engagement with smallholder growers. The smallholder farmers who have helped to create, implement, refine and improve those strategies over the past 25 years are certainly worthy of the industry’s attention. They produce most of the world’s coffee and are structurally disadvantaged in a global marketplace that rewards efficiency and scale.

But the tens of millions of people who work as wage-earners on coffee farms around the world each year represent the most vulnerable actors in specialty coffee supply chains, and they have mostly existed outside the scope of those efforts. Today, intentional engagement with farmworkers and issues of farm labor in the coffee sector represents a new frontier in sustainable sourcing, and presents extraordinary opportunities for specialty coffee.

These are opportunities to mitigate brand risk in a media environment that loves scandal, and to mitigate legal risk in a regulatory environment that is cracking down on the worst forms of labor abuse; opportunities to secure supply and to identify hidden sources of value in a market environment characterized by intense competition; and, ultimately, opportunities to renew the specialty coffee brand by including tens of millions of people on whom the specialty enterprise depends in the benefits it creates.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), through its Sustainability Council, has been working over the past year to help its members seize those opportunities.

Full Article Here: Farmworker Inclusion: A New Sustainability Frontier in Specialty Coffee | Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine

Sustainable Coffee Challenge Kicks Off in Dublin

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is working to having coffee be the first truly sustainable product. At the SCAE World of Coffee event in Dublin this week, the official kickoff begins.

From The Sustainable Coffee Challenge:

On Thursday, June 23rd we will officially launch a beta version of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge Commitments Hub at the SCAE World of Coffee in Dublin. The Hub will help us to showcase our collective investments and actions made across the coffee sector.

Commitments generally take the form of investments and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific targets or outcomes. Within the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, partners have agreed that the following principles should guide commitments:

  • New or active commitment: Every commitment that is stated via the Sustainable Coffee Challenge should be either a new commitment or an existing commitment that has yet to be achieved.
  • Incorporates SMART objectives: Commitments should be specific in what they set out to achieve, incorporate measureable targets, be ambitious in nature, relevant for the industry, organization or supply chain that it is targeting, and time-bound.
  • Aims for impact: Commitments should consider the contribution to one or more of the North Star elements – prosperity & wellbeing of producers; forest, water and soil conservation; and/or sustained supply of coffee.
  • Can be reported at set intervals: Organizations should enter commitments that can be reported on in the system on an annual or semi-annual basis with 1st, 2nd or 3rd party data.

For more information, or to join the growing community of supporters, please visit their website at:

SCAA 2016 – Atlanta

The Specialty Coffee Big Event was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year. Thousands of coffee lovers & professionals gathered for classes, exhibits, workshops, and just old fashioned networking.

This was our first year as an exhibitor & it was a blast! We met lots of new friends, and saw all of the latest innovations in the coffee world. We met producers from all over the world, and sampled many fine coffees. Fun! Read more

SCAA 2016 Prologue

We took the redeye from Las Vegas to Dallas, Dallas to Atlanta & arrived rather dazed, but happy to be attending this years’ SCAA Big Event. We’re off to our exhibit, so more details will follow. Here’s a few photos from behind the scenes in the exhibit hall.  Enjoy! Read more

CoffeeCon 2016 Los Angeles Delights

CoffeeCon, the coffee consumer festival was held this past weekend in LA’s Reef near the LA Convention Center. It was well attended, and featured the best of local roasters and baristas, and a variety of vendors ranging from Aeropress to even California grown coffee trees for that conversational piece in your home.

An extensive list of classes and presentations made for a tremendous informational opportunity. Whether learning about home roasting, or which grind is best for your coffee brewing method, there was something for every coffee lover.

For coffee aficianados, there were classes on tasting, and a variety of vendors for sampling coffees from all over the globe featuring the best of local roasters.

For home roasters, Joe Behm maker of the Behmor home roaster hosted a standing room omly class on home roasting. This popular topic is sweeping the country as more and more consumers discover the joy & freshness of home roast.

Joe shared some recent experiences in Guatamala, and answered a wide variety of questions from a very appreciative audience.

It was a fun filled day of making new acquaintances, learning about all the latest developments in coffee technology, and inspirational stories connecting the coffee to the real lives of coffee farmers.

Here’s a photo tour: Read more

Coffee Cupping, Here’s How It’s Done


Yesterday, we cupped some coffee samples that we had been awaiting in order to make our final decisions as to which coffees to import to the US this year. For those who have never “cupped” (taste tested) coffee before, here’s a glimpse into what it’s like:


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US Chocolate Made with Peruvian Cocoa Wins Awards

Peruvian Chocolate

While at the SCAA trade show recently, we sampled some exquisite chocolate from Theo Chocolate. While reading and translating news from Peru, I came across an article that talks about Theo Chocolate & their award winning chocolate made with Peruvian cocoa.

This year they won two more awards – Best New Product & Peoples Choice. What’s even more interesting is what I found out about the company…

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It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore, SCAA 2015 Specialty Coffee Event


This past few days, we attended the “Event,” which is the Specialty Coffee of America Associations big trade show of the year. Thousands of coffee growers, importers, roasters & of course baristas and coffee aficionados joined together for a few days of great coffee, seminars, classes & coffee tastings. As they say, “Great coffee doesn’t just happen.”


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