a photo of the rwandan landscape

How often do you think about where your ethically sourced coffee comes from?

Not what the ‘ethically traded’ label says or the origin claim stated by the company…but where it really comes from. If you’re rubbing the back of your neck or avoiding eye contact with your screen, rest assured this is a common problem.

Not just among consumers, but among companies and businesses that work in direct trade with coffee farmers. In our whirlwind day-to-day, thinking about just where our goods come from and at what cost can feel like a tall order (pardon the pun). You’re just trying to get through the workweek in one piece! When it comes to positive change, however…now is always the best time for it. From grower to roaster to customer, the journey of coffee is a winding one. One we can neglect on our way to get the most convenient cup.

An ‘ethical trade’ label on a box or recycling claim on a lid isn’t enough. Several troubling developments concerning coffee sustainability and ethical trading have cropped up these past few weeks, showing that green sentiments are often only skin deep. One story analyzing coffee culture in Rwanda — or rather, the lack thereof — speaks to the real disconnect the West has with the rest of the world. Farmers are caught in such a chokehold between consistent production rates and high costs they’re not even able to taste their own creations. To the Western ear, this is completely surreal…

…and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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roasted coffee beans

A cup of coffee made without a single bean.

Sound like something you’d want to try? I took a look at this interesting scientific development earlier on LinkedIn, but I have a few more thoughts on the matter.

Beanless coffee is a (kind of) modern development currently being polished by today’s best scientists. This technique is similar to chicory — a method that involves brewing roots instead of beans — but whittles down the ingredients even further. Everything from the flavor to the way the brew sits on your tongue is meant to replicate traditional coffee near-flawlessly. On one hand, it’s fascinating how science can break down what we consume to its barest components. On the other hand, environmental concerns are cited as a major reason to continue this research.

Beanless coffee could help…as long as the industry’s priorities are kept straight.

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cup of tea

There’s a lot of bad news out there. It makes stories like these all the more important.

A coffee shop was recently founded in Georgia by a musician who wanted a way to reach out to those struggling with mental illness. This is a truly bright spot on an otherwise miserable news circuit.

Coffee and tea isn’t just about roasting the rarest specialty coffee or the most esteemed harvesting technique. It’s about why we make it. The impact we leave on people, from harvested bean to espresso shot.

I chose to focus on coffee and tea because of the ongoing influence these drinks leave on my life. They’ve been a great source of pleasure and contentment, giving my itchy fingers something warm to cradle on a cold night. Back when I consumed caffeine coffee or tea sometimes was the only thing keeping me awake! Even now just the act of brewing has a way of grounding my mind and helping me focus on my work. As someone who is mentally ill, this tool has been indispensable for keeping me moving forward.

This cafe sounds like a truly lovely place to relax. On top of providing delicious food and drink Waller’s Coffee Shop hosts live music, weekend wellness events and open mic sessions. With coffee and tea industries having a mainstream reputation for elitist attitudes — and the physical cafe struggling for relevance in a digital era — I hope this sets a trend for others to follow.

To embrace both technique and the human heart at the core of it all.

Galliano Caffè al gusto di Nocciola—try if if you dare!

An interesting read about one coffee drinker’s experience with a brew that made him flash back to his childhood. Scent really is more powerful than it’s given credit for.

The Black Coffee Journal

Caffè al gusto di Nocciola, hazelnut flavored coffee from Galliano.

This was one funny blend.

As I opened the bag, the first thing that came to my mind was a memory from more than 30 years ago. Let me tell you the story.

When I was a kid, my dad was the parish pastor in a tiny countryside village in the archipelago of Southwestern Finland. It was a beautiful village with around 800 inhabitants, many of whom were farmers, fishermen or elderly citizens. My dad knew each and every one of these people personally (he has a brilliant mind), and everyone knew him.

When he was running errands around the village, dad—always the pastor—often decided to stop by some congregants’ houses to ask them how they were doing. Many times, I happened to be with him as he did these ex tempore house calls. Now, many of the villagers…

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Small Roaster, Big Potential: How A New Roasting Business Emerges

Carving out your path means refusing to walk down certain trails.

This sounds like conventional wisdom, and yet, you’d be surprised by how easily the prospect of a juicy sale gets in the way of it. As a new roaster you have the unenviable position of having to market to thousands of cafes who are then trying to market to millions of people. However…quality, not quantity, is what sets one roaster apart from the next. You wouldn’t expect to see a chocolate factory with the highest quality cocoa beans advertising their products for children’s birthday parties. Likewise, you wouldn’t expect an instant noodle brand to aim at five-star restaurants in upscale New York City.

Why would your roasts be a one-size-fits-all?

When you sell your roast you create a path for cafes and customers to wander down. Your specialty roast tells cafes which customers they appeal to. Customers are then told how this cafe will intersect with their busy lifestyle. Keeping this path clear of proverbial pitfalls means learning about every step of the way: getting in touch with the why and the how of your new microroasting business so you can sell that plain, ever-so-coveted what. We’re going to take a journey through all the little details that go toward creating a delicious and memorable specialty roast people want to buy.

Emphasizing the peripheral information surrounding your new roasting business, promoting lifestyle benefits and stressing the unique traits of your coffee are all small steps that add up to an unforgettable experience.

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Don’t Get Too Cozy, Washington Coffee Culture: California Is Brewing Its Own Reputation

When it comes to coffee, Washington is widely considered by many Americans to be the king of the hill. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s the birthplace of Starbucks, after all (as well as the subject of many an ironic eyeroll when discussing hipster culture). While most coffee comes from outside of the United States, the Pacific Northwest has put in a lot of work to cultivate its go-to image of frothy lattes sheltered beneath cloudy days.

It’s not the only state sharing the top spot, however.

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