This morning, thanks to the magic of Youtube, I shared my coffee with a family that produces coffee on a certified organic farm in Peru. There's not a lot in this video that I didn't already know about coffee production, but it's very different to hear about it from a coffee farmer who gets up early with his wife and spends his day picking, sorting and pulping coffee cherries.

Update: The video has been removed at the request of someone I had no intention of offending. Since it was set to allow embedding and I removed none of the branding from it, I made an error in judgment. For those who want to view it, you can do so at Youtube.

The  video showed up in my mailbox this morning, and after I watched it I couldn't help but click on another, and then another and another -- Ethiopia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico -- each of them a short video with a coffee producer on a small organic farm, nearly all of them family-owned and family-run. What struck me the most in these is the pride in the faces and the voices as they talk about how they pick and sort and ferment the coffee. That, and the sheer amount of physical labor that goes into the process. From the young boy hoisting a 50-lb bag of coffee beans onto his bare shoulders -- shielded only by a banana leaf he'd torn in half with his teeth -- to the women sitting on the ground and picking through the beans one by one to sort them into grades. This isn't done by machine, the way that much of the mass-market coffee is picked and sorted and graded -- it's hand labor, intensive and concentrated. And I guess, when you put that much work into producing something, you have a right to be proud.

Other things that struck me in the videos this morning -- a Mexican coffee farmer crouching next to a small stream on his farm, explaining why it's important to do things organically -- because the water must stay clean, because the humans and the bees use the water, and if it's contaminated with the coffee pulp, it ruins the honey from the bees. For that reason, all the coffee pulp goes to the composter. A common thread -- the farmer in Peru also drains off the cherry pulp and trundles it -- by shovel and wheelbarrow -- to the composter, then proudly shows the fertilizer ready to make more good coffee.

I know this is a rambling post. It's all tumbled up with my thoughts about market fairness and artisanal coffee and why, whenever I can, I buy from coffee roasters who have a personal connection with the farmers who grow the coffees they sell. I wonder sometimes if buying coffee beans in neat, pretty packages is sort of like buying meat in cryo-wrapped packages from your grocer's freezer. It's sanitized and disconnected from the actual source and work that produces it. I don't think it makes coffee any less or more enjoyable -- but it makes me feel good to know that I'm enjoying a cup of coffee made from beans in which someone, somewhere, took pride.

One of the reasons I appreciate ROASTe is the number of small roasters represented here who also feel the same way, and who run their businesses that way. I love the fact that I can read about the roasters, and that many of them post about the coffees they're roasting, the farms they visit  and the farmers with whom they work.  Here are just a few of roasters who are on my short list of people who work with and buy coffee directly from the growers whose coffee they buy. 

 

That's just from a quick run-through the listing of roasters represented here at ROASTe-- do you think it's a coincidence that the list includes some of the most popular and highest rated  coffees on ROASTe?

update: Thanks to jbviau, who pointed out that there are also other coffee roasters here on ROASTe and beyond, who do trade directly and source their coffees ethically, but don't necessarily post it in BIG BOLD LETTERS in their profiels -- he notes Vivace as one. And there are also many smaller artisanal roasters who buy their beans exclusively from roasters who take great care with their sourcing, but are too small to hop a plane and hike through the mountains to visit farms themselves. It's one of the things that makes the whole specialty coffee business so special to me -- so many of the people involved in it go above and beyond to do well by doing good.

Blog Category: 

Comments

Submitted by jbviau on
Enjoyed that. About the last bit, I'll bet other roasters *do* work directly with farmers as well but don't get credit for it because they don't publicize it as much. For example, Vivace. They're a top seller here, but they're not on your list. And yet their mission statement seems socially responsible: http://www.espressovivace.com/environment.html

Submitted by wakeknot on
It is always nice to see attention paid to this important aspect of coffee. thanks for putting together the list, too!

Submitted by Chamie on
You're right -- and I actually updated the post to add a little disclaimer pointing that out. I'll admit I didn't dig too deeply into most profiles and the websites of the coffee roasters as I got toward the bottom of the last page :). "Socially responsible" sometimes seems to be a middle name with smaller specialty coffee roasters.

Submitted by EricBNC on
<br>Thanks for sharing this - it is interesting to see the process - the scenery is nice in the Andes too.

Submitted by yeahyeah on
I like that video and I love the other random similar videos out there. There is such a disconnect between the coffee drinker and producer so videos like this are important.

Submitted by Chamie on
As requested, the video has been removed, and an explanation added to the post. For the record, I'm simply a consumer who makes no profit from selling anyone's coffee.

Submitted by eyal on
YouTube content is public domain and anyone is free to embed it. In fact they encourage it. Since the guy's comment seemed inappropriate on too many levels, I removed it. <br> The youTube TOS states the following - <br> "You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service. ~~ [youTube TOS part 6C]" <br> Link: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/static?gl=US&template=terms" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/static?gl=US&template=terms</a> <br> Anyone uploading videos to YouTube should be familiar with this. <br> Bottom-line - embedding videos is perfectly ok. <br> Brew on! Eyal /@ROASTe

Thanks for sharing that Chamie. I support the notion that it'd be great to have good coffee while supporting the farmers who did most of the hard work, even though it comes with a slightly higher price.

Morning Coffee with a Peruvian Coffee Farmer

| by


This morning, thanks to the magic of Youtube, I shared my coffee with a family that produces coffee on a certified organic farm in Peru. There's not a lot in this video that I didn't already know about coffee production, but it's very different to hear about it from a coffee farmer who gets up early with his wife and spends his day picking, sorting and pulping coffee cherries.

Update: The video has been removed at the request of someone I had no intention of offending. Since it was set to allow embedding and I removed none of the branding from it, I made an error in judgment. For those who want to view it, you can do so at Youtube.

The  video showed up in my mailbox this morning, and after I watched it I couldn't help but click on another, and then another and another -- Ethiopia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico -- each of them a short video with a coffee producer on a small organic farm, nearly all of them family-owned and family-run. What struck me the most in these is the pride in the faces and the voices as they talk about how they pick and sort and ferment the coffee. That, and the sheer amount of physical labor that goes into the process. From the young boy hoisting a 50-lb bag of coffee beans onto his bare shoulders -- shielded only by a banana leaf he'd torn in half with his teeth -- to the women sitting on the ground and picking through the beans one by one to sort them into grades. This isn't done by machine, the way that much of the mass-market coffee is picked and sorted and graded -- it's hand labor, intensive and concentrated. And I guess, when you put that much work into producing something, you have a right to be proud.

Other things that struck me in the videos this morning -- a Mexican coffee farmer crouching next to a small stream on his farm, explaining why it's important to do things organically -- because the water must stay clean, because the humans and the bees use the water, and if it's contaminated with the coffee pulp, it ruins the honey from the bees. For that reason, all the coffee pulp goes to the composter. A common thread -- the farmer in Peru also drains off the cherry pulp and trundles it -- by shovel and wheelbarrow -- to the composter, then proudly shows the fertilizer ready to make more good coffee.

I know this is a rambling post. It's all tumbled up with my thoughts about market fairness and artisanal coffee and why, whenever I can, I buy from coffee roasters who have a personal connection with the farmers who grow the coffees they sell. I wonder sometimes if buying coffee beans in neat, pretty packages is sort of like buying meat in cryo-wrapped packages from your grocer's freezer. It's sanitized and disconnected from the actual source and work that produces it. I don't think it makes coffee any less or more enjoyable -- but it makes me feel good to know that I'm enjoying a cup of coffee made from beans in which someone, somewhere, took pride.

One of the reasons I appreciate ROASTe is the number of small roasters represented here who also feel the same way, and who run their businesses that way. I love the fact that I can read about the roasters, and that many of them post about the coffees they're roasting, the farms they visit  and the farmers with whom they work.  Here are just a few of roasters who are on my short list of people who work with and buy coffee directly from the growers whose coffee they buy. 

 

That's just from a quick run-through the listing of roasters represented here at ROASTe-- do you think it's a coincidence that the list includes some of the most popular and highest rated  coffees on ROASTe?

update: Thanks to jbviau, who pointed out that there are also other coffee roasters here on ROASTe and beyond, who do trade directly and source their coffees ethically, but don't necessarily post it in BIG BOLD LETTERS in their profiels -- he notes Vivace as one. And there are also many smaller artisanal roasters who buy their beans exclusively from roasters who take great care with their sourcing, but are too small to hop a plane and hike through the mountains to visit farms themselves. It's one of the things that makes the whole specialty coffee business so special to me -- so many of the people involved in it go above and beyond to do well by doing good.

Category: BLOG

Thanks

December 11, 2011 | by samuellaw178

Thanks for sharing that Chamie. I support the notion that it'd be great to have good coffee while supporting the farmers who did most of the hard work, even though it comes with a slightly higher price.

YouTube

December 9, 2011 | by eyal

YouTube content is public domain and anyone is free to embed it. In fact they encourage it. Since the guy's comment seemed inappropriate on too many levels, I removed it.
The youTube TOS states the following -
"You also hereby grant each user of the Service a non-exclusive license to access your Content through the Service, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such Content as permitted through the functionality of the Service and under these Terms of Service. ~~ [youTube TOS part 6C]"
Link: http://www.youtube.com/static?gl=US&template=terms
Anyone uploading videos to YouTube should be familiar with this.
Bottom-line - embedding videos is perfectly ok.
Brew on! Eyal /@ROASTe

Video removed

December 8, 2011 | by Chamie

As requested, the video has been removed, and an explanation added to the post. For the record, I'm simply a consumer who makes no profit from selling anyone's coffee.

Video

December 8, 2011 | by yeahyeah

I like that video and I love the other random similar videos out there. There is such a disconnect between the coffee drinker and producer so videos like this are important.

Thanks

December 8, 2011 | by EricBNC


Thanks for sharing this - it is interesting to see the process - the scenery is nice in the Andes too.

I really like watching these

December 8, 2011 | by intrepid510

I really like watching these videos, you should also check out some of the video that Stumptown Coffee has their site.

@jbviau

December 8, 2011 | by Chamie

You're right -- and I actually updated the post to add a little disclaimer pointing that out. I'll admit I didn't dig too deeply into most profiles and the websites of the coffee roasters as I got toward the bottom of the last page :). "Socially responsible" sometimes seems to be a middle name with smaller specialty coffee roasters.

Thanks

December 8, 2011 | by jbviau

Enjoyed that. About the last bit, I'll bet other roasters *do* work directly with farmers as well but don't get credit for it because they don't publicize it as much. For example, Vivace. They're a top seller here, but they're not on your list. And yet their mission statement seems socially responsible: http://www.espressovivace.com/environment.html

nice

December 8, 2011 | by wakeknot

It is always nice to see attention paid to this important aspect of coffee. thanks for putting together the list, too!

Categories

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/icon_blog_on.png

    BLOG

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/icon_knowledge1_on.png

    KNOWLEDGE

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/icon_news_on.png

    NEWS

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/icon_guides_on_1.png

    BREWING GUIDES

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/icon_buying_guides_on_1.png

    BUYING GUIDES

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/drink_guide_1.png

    DRINK GUIDES

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/recipehover.png

    RECIPES

  • http://coffeekind.com/sites/default/files/latest%20reviews.png

    LATEST REVIEWS