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The Extraction Deserves Better Pay If You Want to Keep Drinking Your Cold Brew

While most coffee drinkers will never experience a working coffee farm firsthand, it is also true that many farmers will live their entire lives without ever having witnessed the culture of consumption surrounding the product they devote themselves to cultivating. Hyōgo, Japan-based Ueshima Coffee Company this week published a short film called “From Coffee Crop to Coffee Shop” that follows a Peruvian coffee farmer’s first trip outside his home country. He travels to Spain, learns to pull shots and spends time on bar at a UCC café. It’s an eye-opening experience both ways:

Inspiration aside, the reality remains that without a level of compensation that better corresponds with consumers’ appreciation, younger would-be future farmers will continue to seek opportunities outside the family farm. On the crisis of aging coffee farmers and the struggle to cultivate the next generation, Foodtank.com has published an interview led by Fairtrade America’s Kyle Freund with Carlos Reynoso, the general manager of Fairtrade-certified Guatemalan cooperative Manos Campesinas:

From the perspective of the industry and consumers, they’re going to face an uphill battle unless there’s the willingness to pay farmers a fair price. In my opinion, if farmers were decently paid, we’d have a very different reality in which young people would be very interested. Perhaps you’d even see young people leaving the city and moving to rural areas.

slingshot coffee cascara tea

The blueberry jasmine cascara tea from Slingshot Coffee.

On the consumer side, it is younger people who are primarily responsible for driving coffee demand, at least when it comes to the specialty category and cold brew. One of contemporary cold brew’s pioneers, North Carolina’s Slingshot Coffee, has added two new flavored bottled RTD cascara teas and announced a major expansion of its retail grocery presence with distribution in Publix Supermarkets:

Slingshot will launch next week into more than 300 stores with three items: Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Cold Brew, Concentrate Cold Brew and their award-winning Slingshot Box, a multi-serve RTD bag-in-box. The addition of Publix to Slingshot’s growing list of retail partners shores up their position as the leading premium Cold Brew brand in the Southeast.

Having finally opened its first flagship café with the stated intention to grow its offerings into the realm of cocktails, Portland Roasting Coffee revealed this week its partnership with Eastside Distilling to produce Hue-Hue Coffee Rum. From a press release:

After brewing, the coffee is hand blended with silver rum and a trace amount of raw Demerara sugar, following our recipe. The result is Hue-Hue, a 70 proof spirit that is “all about the coffee.” Hue-Hue is unique in having the full flavor and richness of cold brew coffee, without the syrupy sweetness of sugar-drenched coffee liqueurs.

Photo courtesy of S&D Coffee & Tea

Geneva-based coffee trader Sucafina this week announced a sustainability partnership with major North Carolina-based full-service coffee company S&D Coffee & Tea. The goal: Reduce water consumption and improve water treatment at coffee processing facilities in Rwanda:

Sucafina along with S&D will pilot a sustainable approach to treat water at Kanyege wet mill in Rwanda – Rwacof’s washing station located in Nyamasheke, on the border of Lake Kivu. This project will focus on testing a low-cost environmental solution using a Vetiver grass system. The grass’ deep roots suck up the water, slowing down flow and infiltration into the soil. The remaining effluent, if any, will be stored in a small pond at the bottom of the wetland to evaporate. It is worth noting that this solution is efficient in erosion control and water conservation, soil stabilization, pollution control, wastewater treatment, and storm damage mitigation and prevention.

Sadly, this week we must also report that Steve Ruiz, Senior Green Coffee Buyer at F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc., has passed away. The Green Coffee Association made this announcement:

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our esteemed colleague Steven Ruiz on Sunday, February 25, 2018, 2016 at the age of 58 after a brief illness.

Steve began his coffee career at MJB Coffee working under Manny Rosen as the assistant green coffee buyer. Steve began at F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. on January 3, 1989 under the tutelage and guidance of Pedro Gaviña and was the Senior Green Coffee Buyer at the time of his passing. Steve’s honor, dedication and loyalty to the F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. company made him an honorary Gaviña and his loss is deeply felt within the entire Gaviña family.   Steve had many friends within the coffee community and his mentorship as well as his friendship will be missed by many.

On behalf of the membership, we extend our sympathies to his wife Elsa and their daughter Ariana as well as the entire F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. family.

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